Adjustable multibeam antenna improves reliability of RFID systems

Monday, 16 October, 2017 | Supplied by: Fraunhofer IIS

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The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS has developed a multibeam antenna that can be integrated into existing systems and improve their reliability.

RFID technology does not require any contact to detect objects with electronic information tags, speeding up a variety of processes in production, logistics and retail. In cases that require high levels of object identification accuracy, a high-performance antenna is needed that is capable of capturing the information stored on the RFID transponders at any time.

Fraunhofer IIS has developed a multibeam antenna for challenging scanning scenarios. Due to its nine directional beams, the antenna provides high levels of accuracy when capturing data from transponders within its more flexible read range. At the same time, it optimises the reliability of RFID systems.

“The antenna provides up to nine individual beams, allowing for directional reading of transponders,” explained Dr Mario Schühler, group manager antennas at Fraunhofer IIS. “This way, we achieve a higher read range and accuracy without mechanical adjustment of the antenna. As a result, we can be more specific about what RFID transponders we detect and read.”

Due to its flexibility, the multibeam antenna can replace several individual antennas installed in different locations. This lowers procurement costs and reduces the time and money spent on installation and maintenance.

Replacing standard antennas with the multibeam antenna improves the accuracy of readings from RFID identification systems. Because the multibeam antenna can detect directional movement, it can distinguish, for example, between incoming and outgoing goods or between moving and stationary objects. This capability helps users of RFID systems to select which transponders to actually read.

Photo: © Fraunhofer IIS/Thomas Endres

Photo: ©Fraunhofer IIS/Thomas Endres

In addition, the antenna is optimised for bulk reading, meaning it can scan multiple transponders concurrently. The multibeam antenna also achieves high rates of data capture with metal objects and liquid containers.

The antenna can be used in conjunction with standard readers and can be easily integrated into existing RFID systems. It is suitable for all ultrahigh-frequency applications and for both indoor and outdoor use. With its broadband frequency range of 860–960 MHz, the antenna meets international RFID standards and can be used worldwide. Switching to the multibeam antenna provides global companies with the opportunity to standardise their identification systems along the entire value chain.

The multibeam antenna can be operated anywhere electronic identification systems support processes for detecting, allocating and tracking materials, components and goods. RFID technology accelerates processes and increases the transparency of operations, especially in the retail, health care, automotive, electronics, logistics and transport, production and automation sectors.

Starting in August 2017, multibeam antennas from the first small-scale production batch have been available for pilot users to test their performance in practice. Pilot users also have the opportunity to actively shape the last stage of product tweaks in line with their requirements prior to the antenna’s market launch.

Top image credit: ©

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