Bumper Production with Identification

System integrator Sigma uses Turck‘s BL ident UHF-RFID system and its Graidware middleware to ensure complete transparency in bumper production

Sigma recently collaborated with Turck and Magna to prove that, with the right technology and clever software solutions, fully automated UHF-RFID identification solutions can be mastered without having to install inconvenient shielding measures due to the long sensing ranges involved. The customer is now able to use intelligent software logic to fully exclude the possibility of false reads in its bumper production plant.
  • The quality assurance and polishing workstations

Decision for RFID and UHF Technology

Since August of 2012, MEI Meerane has produced front and rear bumpers for the VW Golf VII and delivers these “just-in-sequence“ to Volkswagen Saxony at the site in Mosel. The management of MEI Meerane decided during the planning and development phase of the new site to use RFID technology for automated manufacturing and logistics management. At the beginning of the project, due to the longer reading range, UHF RFID was determined to be the standard.

Transparent process

When the raw bumper leaves the injection machine it is immediately equipped with an RFID tag which is registered and managed by the software. This allows tracking and tracing the bumpers during the entire production and logistical process. Prior to lacquering, the position of the bumper inside the skid is detected by a reader and captured by the middleware. This is used to track the production quality. After the lacquering process the entire paint shop data is automatically linked to the bumper.

Then the bumpers are placed into storage containers according to product type. Multiple RFID readers monitor the correct storage of the bumpers into containers. The AutoID middleware Graidware not only captures the signals, but also checks the signals for plausibility using sophisticated algorithms. Interference signals from neighboring transportation routes or passing forklifts are recognized as false signals and filtered out.

After the final production call the painted bumpers are equipped with harnesses, distance sensors, fog lamps, etc. depending on the configuration. The RFID tag controls the machine via an OPC server, displays the next production step, the configuration of the bumper, and loads the appropriate machine program for the welding and punching operations.

The full range

Sigma utilized Turck‘s full range of automation products for the project, and this started with the UHF read/write heads in three housing styles. Sigma used the Q150 readers for the shorter ranges of up to 1.5 meters. Longer sensing ranges were required at other positions, which were implemented by the customer with Q240 read/write heads. For some special process steps, the largest type Q280 UHF readers were required which have maximum ranges of 5 meters.

“A major benefit of the Turck solution was the fact that the triggers, such as light sensors, or as in this case, a foot switch, could be connected directly to the gateway of the BL67 I/O system to which the modules for the readers are also connected – regardless of whether they are sensors from Turck or not,” said Frank Pyritz, Sigma managing director.

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