Anyone exchanging information today – no matter whether privately, professionally, from person to person, man to machine or machine to machine – has long known the following: if the parties exchanging information are not identified, nothing works.

The typical question asked when meeting someone – “How are you?” – is just as natural. What is normal between individuals is also indispensable in the development of automation technology.

Cable cars

Every day, thousands of people are transported up to the mountains with the help of state-of-the-art cable cars and chair-lift systems. It goes without saying that the doors of the gondola lift are automatically closed when the gondola leaves the valley and mountain stations. But how is this operation monitored?

Thanks to the latest UHF RFID sensor technology from HARTING, this procedure is now even simpler and more reliable. Each gondola is fitted with a passive – and hence maintenance-free – Ha-VIS ETB sensor transponder. A HARTING UHF reader is then used to read the output of the transponder at the valley or mountain station. The reading zone, which is local yet and within the stations along the gondola route, is generated using HARTING’s flexible UHF LOCFIELD® coaxial travelling-wave antenna. This permits the gondolas to be safely identified.

In addition, the sensor transponder transmits the current state of the gondola door: open or closed. The sensor transponder is connected to the gondola door via a cable with corresponding switching contacts.

The system is completely battery-free and uses the Class1 Gen2 specification of the highly rated GS1© standard.

Rail applications

The same reliable technique is also used in railway applications. Here, however, the sensor data are different. Again, the requirement is to have a reliable and maintenance-free system: in this case for wirelessly transmitting temperature values from the wheel set into the lock. This reliably detects overheating, and subsequent maintenance intervals can be planned accordingly.

Wireless communication facilitates the replacement of wheel sets and thereby saves money by eliminating the need for complex cabling under the train.

These two examples show that RFID technology from HARTING can do far more than simply identify components: it can also use that data to perform vital functions within automation and transport systems.