Secure and Reliable Operations through Digital Logistics

Research and Development in Material Handling Engineering and Systems

RFID Tunnel Gates for Reliable Bulk Reading

The RFID Tunnel Gate system and other applications of the principle of electromagnetic reverberation to reliably read passive UHF RFID transponders in bulk has been tested many times over in the project RAN (RFID-based Automotive Network) supported by the German government. Various industrial companies in the RAN consortium contracted the Fraunhofer IFF as a “RAN Friend” to test the RFID Tunnel Gate.

Testing the RFID Tunnel Gate at BLG in the RAN Project

One of the tests was conducted at Bremer Lagerhaus-Gesellschaft (BLG), which handles the reusable load carriers used by Daimler AG for transatlantic engine shipments. These load carriers circulate in a circuit between engine production in Germany and car assembly in the USA. Overseas containers filled with load carriers are transported by truck or train to Bremerhaven and by ship from there. Folded empty load carriers are also shipped in overseas containers. Upon their return, BLG unloads the empties from overseas containers with forklifts and puts them in temporary storage. When they are needed, they are transported on trucks to engine production.

Daimler AG has outfitted the load carriers with passive UHF RFID transponders in order to make the current inventory at each of its global supply chain’s locations more transparent in the future. The load carriers must of course be registered reliably throughout the supply chain. The Fraunhofer IFF tested two concept systems that do this at BLG:

  • Since the overseas containers constitute a space enclosed in metal, the principle of electromagnetic reverberation is ideal for bulk reading of the empty load carriers inside. The dispatched forklift is outfitted with an RFID antenna and thus scans all of the load carriers successively as it unloads them.
  • The use of the RFID Tunnel Gate to monitor load carriers loaded on trucks was also tested. Load carriers in outgoing shipments were automatically read in bulk and removed from temporary storage inventory at BLG.

The tests of both concept systems were successful. The systems are being evaluated for long-time testing or use in the field.

The flexibly configurable mobile equipment enables the Fraunhofer IFF to quickly conduct tests of the RFID Tunnel Gate modified for client’s requirements and environments. We would be glad to help you integrate RFID applications in your production and logistics processes.