A development team at the Fraunhofer IPMS has developed a middleware that makes it possible to combine RFID components like readers, identification transponders or sensor transponders regardless of manufacturer, interface and selected frequency range and for those components to be controlled via a generic interface. This makes it much easier for system integrators, plant manufacturers or RFID hardware vendors to integrate RFID technology into intelligent production environments.
In modern production environments users usually face considerable implementation time and costs when integrating new RFID components in existing or yet to be established process environments. Because readers as well as identification and sensor-transponders differ considerably in some cases according to manufacturer, frequency band used, protocol and interface, they cannot be readily combined with each other. The so-called ROAD server, developed by Fraunhofer IPMS is the first middleware of this type to implement the OPC-UA (Unified Architecture Open Platform Communication) AutoID-companion specification, a standard for manufacturer-independent communication in automation technology, which enables universal interoperability of industrial bus systems and protocols. It works like an universal adapter. It ensures that any readers and tags for various LF, HF, UHF and NFC frequency ranges are integrated via a standard interface in process systems and are able to communicate with each other. This is especially interesting for users who want to record various parameters such as temperature, humidity, light or pressure with sensor transponders.