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Tracking Assets: RFID Meets Industrial Wi-Fi – Industrial Ethernet Book Part 1

October 27, 2011 - 0 Comments

I had the pleasure of meeting up with both Leo Ploner, Publishing Director, Industrial Ethernet Book (IEB) and Tom McNulty from the Chicago, US office recently here in Silicon Valley recently. I was pleased to see that Cisco had contributed to an article in the 65 / 35 Issue of the Industrial Ethernet Book around the topic of RFID and industrial WiFi – a topic close to my own heart in terms of previous blogs of mine (Intro to RFID, Continental Tire, Boeing, and John Deere).

The first Industrial Ethernet Book was published in 1999.  Since then it become an excellent  information source for industrial networking and communication technology, and aims to provide unbiased editorial views focused on both process and discrete manufacturing industries. The editorial content is aimed at end users, system integrators and vendors within factory automation and process automation.

The article starts with the recognition that “Increasingly ‘smart’ devices, which include radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and sensors that have advanced diagnostics, are contributing to the billions of devices now connected to IP networks. This proliferation of smart devices is referred to by some as the ‘Internet of Things’, and it is projected to grow to trillions of devices that will be connected using the emerging IPv6 protocol (ref1). For manufacturers, a growing number of connected smart devices promises to revolutionise portability, mobility, context-aware condition and use of critical assets.”

The article goes on to talk about the applications and benefits, including the more sophisticated, but functionally rich, active variety that we’re seeing on the plant floor tracking tools and becoming part of work in process workflow. Cisco supports both the RSSI and TDOA types described, and rich infrastructure architecture to support both. But for me, I like looking at the use cases. That’s what seems to be the main interest I’ve seen when folks read my blogs.

So I’m pleased to see the Boeing story, where 1700 critical parts, tools and factory machines are tagged and therefore tracked, along with the Viracon story with 5800 wip glass carriers are actively followed and located, are highlighted  illustrating the sheer scale of these solutions. The efficiencies achieved can be substantial – especially when these companies are looking at every way possible to reduce costs and inprove productivity.

Those numbers are also given in the Industrial Ethernet Book – check them out. And check out the article and website of the Industrial Ethernet Book. Happy Industrial Internet Reading!
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