Picture the scene: The labelling machine at an automotive supplier is printing and applying labels…
How RFID cable ties simplify industrial processes – examples and suggestions for your business
It’s almost time to go home when the phone rings at an industrial light manufacturer: a customer’s shop floor lighting has failed. Fortunately, the manufacturer knows exactly what spare parts are needed because the lights were equipped with a radio frequency ID cable tie that allows them to be precisely identified. Urgent spare parts requests are just one scenario where day-to-day work can be simplified using HellermannTyton high-tech RFID cable ties. Discover how many industrial processes can be optimised by using them.
“Reliable labelling of machines and parts is one of many applications for our RFID cable ties,” says Marco Schaffer, product manager at HellermannTyton. RFID chips embedded in cable ties can store more information than a barcode. This data can be accessed contact-free, using the appropriate reader from the HellermannTyton RFID system solution. “In the case of the lighting manufacturer, the data can be entered and read using conventional IT systems and software. The RFID cable ties are attached to the customer’s lights before they are installed,” explains Schaffer.
Watch our enthusiastic colleague James Hill demonstrate the versatility of RFID cable ties at the Hannover Messe 2017 and see just how easy it is to collect digital data from the tags with an RFID reader. Click here to see the Video: youtu.be/s2B_yp4lRa0
RFID technology makes inventory management and asset tracking smarter. RFID tags integrated in cable ties really unlock the potential of “Industry 4.0” projects.
‘Several bird with one stone’: the cable tie acts as an information carrier, product label and cable fastener all at the same time.
RFID cable ties also simplify and optimise processes for tracing components: “For example, in the case of defects, recalls or the monitoring of maintenance intervals,” says Schaffer, talking about a customer from the automotive industry, “or for robust, effective product labelling in general. Here, the RFID cable tie also serves as a reliable security measure that also involves less effort than conventional labelling solutions. Once the cable tie has been cut off, it cannot be reused.”
The authenticity of the product labelling information on the RFID cable tie is assured. This means, for example, that you can very accurately trace which employee installed which component with which properties in which factory on which day.
Traceability and tool management with RFID cable ties
RFID cable can also be used for tool and inventory management. For example, one HellermannTyton customer wanted to improve tools management on its offshore wind turbines. Schaffer: “The same set of tools is not always available on each of the customer’s wind turbine platforms; that would be too expensive. So employees need to know where each tool is located at all times.”
Find out more about RFID here: Smart RFID tracking solutions for inventory management and other industries.
Reliable and easy tool management
“For this reason, our RFID cable ties are attached to the tools and each employee scans them when they leave the turbine or take the tool with them.” To view and record the locations of the tools at any time, all employees have been issued with a small tablet device by their employer. “There is an app on the tablet which has been programmed by the customer’s in-house IT department,” explains Schaffer.
This allows the engineers to access the transponders in the cable ties: “Before employees go on their morning maintenance round, they open the app and see where a particular tool is located. They also see who used the tool last and when,” says Schaffer.
RFID labelling under extreme conditions
In the case of adverse conditions, such as high temperatures, dirt and liquids, RFID cable ties made of robust, durable materials are the ideal solution.
Schaffer gives an account of a repair service for hydraulic hoses. “Extreme conditions come together here. A mixture of hydraulic oil, screw fittings and dirt smudged the conventional product labelling to the extent that it was often indecipherable. This was very problematic for the service staff. They could no longer identify which type of hose they were dealing with. What is the maximum pressure load of the hose? When was the hose made and installed? Who worked on it last?”
The solution for the service company was to use RFID cable ties made of metal, which are resistant to the effects of oil or heat: Stainless Steel Ties with RFID Transponder – High Frequency (HF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) , Article number: 156-01167
There are numerous other fields of application for low and high-frequency RFID cable ties. “For example, HellermannTyton is currently involved on a mobile crane project. The previous product label was difficult to access and no longer readable after several layers of paint were applied at the customer’s request. The information now remains permanently readable by means of RFID transmission.”
The benefits of RFID cable ties as labelling products at a glance
Overall, RFID cable ties are an innovative way of introducing RFID technology to industrial processes. The main benefits are summarised here:
- Greater production efficiency: many tasks are redundant, as RFID cable ties fulfil several functions at once: fastening, product labelling, product safety, product tracking and much more.
- Clear labelling despite dirt: stored digital information remains readable at all times, no matter how much dirt is encrusted on it.
- Labelling and identification of hard-to-reach parts: RFID cable ties are a reliable alternative when conventional RFID or barcode labels cannot be applied as product labelling or are difficult to read owing to insufficient space or unsuitable materials.
- Innovative carrier for Industry 4.0applications: the possible applications in the smart factory are virtually unlimited. Cable ties are used in almost every industry today – the combination with RFID technology has great potential for the smart factory.
- Counterfeiting protection: if the cable tie is removed, it cannot be reused for the same purpose. This means the cable tie guarantees the authenticity of the data stored on it at a given location.
- Reusability: information can be added to and read from high frequency RFID chips again and again.
- Tool and inventory management: with a bit of custom IT preparation and RFID cable ties, tools and stock can be easily and reliably located and organised.
- Traceability, facility management and logistics: applications for banks (security bags), post, transport, anti-theft protection, security tagging (single-use only), tagging of luggage, attendance verification and many other processes can be optimised using RFID cable ties.
- Quick implementation using the HellermannTyton system solution: for a seamless reading and writing process, HellermannTyton provides appropriate control devices for the RFID cable ties as part of its RFID system solution.
- Joint-friendly, easy application for high numbers of units: anyone who has to attach many cable ties each day will benefit from the ergonomic, low-recoil EVO7 cable tie gun from HellermannTyton.
Handheld and desktop RFID reader – the interface between the RFID transponder and computer systems or databases
The HS9 handheld RFID readers are designed to read LF transponders and read/write to HF transponders fitted to HellermannTyton RFID cable ties and accessories. The readers act as an interface between the RFID transponder and computer systems or databases.
Radio waves transmit the data from the RFID transponder to the reader, so that contactless reading and/or writing of information is possible.
The HS9 reader is available for low frequency (LF, 125 kHz, read-only) and for high-frequency (HF, 13.56 MHz, read & write) transponders.
RFID system solutions can make a significant contribution to improving the process reliability and quality in a variety of industries.
The RFID-DT22 desktop reader for stationary use has been designed to read and write from/to high frequency (HF 13.56 MHz) transponders fitted to HellermannTyton RFID cable ties and accessories. RFID Desktop Reader, Article number: 556-00702
Click here to find our more about RFID, RFID-Competences. “RFID tracking: clever solutions with RFID cable ties and accessories”