Siemens RFID tags create the ‘paperless’ shop, track and manage tools

Editor: Eric Culp

Industrial identification systems for tool handling and management benefit shops, according to Siemens. Quick, reliable and clear tool identification eliminates errors during tool data capture and transmission to save time and costs while boosting quality and productivity.

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(Source: Siemens)

Even in a plant with few machine tools, the use of industrial identification systems can provide substantial benefits compared to the traditional method of capturing tool data on routing slips or labels, according to Siemens Industry Automation.

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From the clear identification of the fully assembled tool, to the capture and allocation of the tool data and its transmission to the machine control, to the determination of the tool stock in the tool storage – their application is versatile.

Reducing human error

The conventional approach to capturing tool data – such as geometrical data after the measuring – often still involves routing slips, labels or plastic signs with the data either printed on or written down, which are attached to the tools and then manually entered via the keyboard of the machine tool's control unit. This can lead to many drawbacks, which are avoidable. The manual recording and entering of data by people is extremely error-prone and takes up a lot of time. Routing slips and labels can also get lost. Here, the use of industrial identification systems offers as many solution approaches as benefits, Siemens explained.

Ensuring the correct ID

For instance, the reliable identification of tools by means of a unique number or plain text designation can already offer important benefits. The tool can be marked with a unique number using a data matrix code, which is used to automatically retrieve the corresponding tool data from a central database on the master computer. The tool data can then, for example, be transmitted to the machine tool control. The reading of the data matrix code takes place via a mobile handheld reader, e.g., the Siemens Simatic MV340, or a stationary code reading system from the Simatic MV400 device series. The reading devices are said to be particularly suitable for reading low-contrast direct markings – such as a data matrix code lasered directly onto the tool.

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