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Automation Technologies 5/2016

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Automation Technologies 5/2016

RFID solution for meat

RFID solution for meat safety supervision and tracking Author: Richard Lin, Marketing & Product Management, Turck (Tianjin) Sensor Co., Ltd., Tianjin, China Richard Lin Write-read heads and tags for the meat industry have to meet specific requirements. Low-frequency (LF) and ultra-high-frequency (UHF) RFID solutions quickly reach their limits in this task. Now we present for you an RFID system with robust, metal-proof tags and degree of protection IP69K that makes it possible to transparently organize the entire sequence of meat processing through to packaged goods. Food safety is related to people’s livelihood. Since meat product is a daily necessity for consumers, it is people’s desire for the past years to have quality-assured meat, which is also a hot spot issue for public attention. However, in recent years the food safety scandals came up frequently such as pork with lean meat powders, waterinjected meat and pork from sick pigs etc., which have aroused high concern from the government and common people alike. The government wishes to establish the meat supervision and tracking system to achieve the target of supervising the whole process from breeding, slaughtering, processing, circulation to consumption, and enabling source tracking, so as to construct a food safety pre-alarm mechanism. Presently, such a system is a management information system constructed on segments of pig breeding, regulation, slaughtering and sales, and integrated with the food safety concept. The system summarizes the data and information from the entire supply chain, from live pig, slaughterhouse to fresh counters in a supermarket, and reports to a municipal-level supervision platform, so as to enable the supervision authorities and the public to trace and track the whole process on this platform. In this way, the whole circulation process is made transparent, and the pork products are considered safe from source to dinner table, so as to realize the whole-process quality supervision and tracking. The pig breeding and circulation segments include live pig breeding, slaughtering, processing and retailing in supermarket. Live pig slaughtering is a middle part, and plays a key role in the entire tracking management chain and connecting both the upstream and downstream parts. Since a slaughterhouse usually has a complex environment, multiple processes and prolonged procedure, which jointly make data acquisition rather difficult, therefore, slaughterhouse is always the weakest segment in the entire tracking management chain. Customer requirements SENSORS AND MEASUREMENT 01 Using RFID technology, for example, write-read processes can be performed to reliably identify meat hooks on running conveyor chains To realize the tracking of the pork on all stages inside a slaughterhouse, it is necessary to acquire the data from every pig. Live pigs, upon entering the slaughterhouse, will have an electronic earring; the relevant data will be sent to slaughterhouse together. However, the location of the electronic earring on the pigs’ ear makes it not convenient enough to collect data during operations. Considering that the piece of pork is hung on hook when moving along the production line in the slaughterhouse, the hooks will not interchange from the pigs being put onto hook till pork being shipped out plant, Therefore, a data carrier is installed in each hook, and a Read/Write-head is installed beside the production line, which can acquire the information of every piece of pork along the production line timely. Therefore, on the first stage in the slaughterhouse, it is necessary to link the data of earring with that in data carrier on hook. When the pieces of pork enter the slaughtering line, in case off-grade or quality issues are found, the relevant information will be recorded in the data carrier attached to the hook; and additionally, that piece of pork will be diverted to special storage zone for further processing, while all other pork will continue to the next stage. The Read/Write-heads will be fixed on all key processes in the production line, and the informa- AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 5/2016

tion read from the data carrier will be used to monitor the production situation of every process timely. At shipping stage, the pork information will be identified by RFID technology, and input to database for file. Therefore, it’s vital important to select an ideal RFID system in order to meet all the customer’s requirements. Legacy solutions are desiderated to improve There’re some problems on the LF (low frequency) and UHF (ultra high-frequency) RFID solutions used by customer before. Because the frequency of the LF RFID is very similar to that of the motor on site, the LF RFID product has great interferences. Moreover, the Read/Write-distance of LF RFID is very short, where in the customer’s previous case, the distance between RFID Read/Write-head and data carrier is only approximately 30 mm, which cannot fulfill the requirement on the installation location. Therefore, the customer chose to install the data carrier on the inner side of hook, which didn’t provide sufficient space and proper mounting, leading to frequent damages of Read/Write-head due to hook impacting. The UHF RFID product is not suitably applicable to slaughtering line either, since the UHF Read/Write-head has a long communication range, and identifies multiple data carriers. In case where the slaughtering production line reaches its maximum speed of 600 pieces/hour, misreading of the UHF RFID would occur, that is, when the Read/Write-head has to identify several data carriers at the same moment, it cannot determine which hook is passing through the station. The BL ident solution To address these issues, Turck recommends HF (high-frequency) RFID solution to customer, which will not be interfered by the frequencies of the devices on site. The smart and compact metallic data carrier will be imbedded on to the outer side of the hook firmly without falling off easily. The Read/Write-head with a longer Read/ Write-distance will read the data from the data carrier from beside the production line and will not obstruct the line, so as to prevent the Read/Write-head from being impacted. The Read/Write-head with IP69K and the data carrier with IP68 are well damp-and-waterproof, suitable for a moist environment. The memory space of 146 bytes is capable of storing a large amount of data information, making the hook become a mobile database. Moreover, the Turck HF RFID products support a dynamic readwrite operation at 10 m/s, and 0.5 ms for a byte. All these characteristics make the production cycle free from any influences. Customer’s comment The project manager from Beijing Zhihengda Sci & Tech Co., Ltd. says, “The Turck simple-type RFID modules streamline program development, with no need for functional blocks, and the readwrite operation of the Read/Write-head can be controlled directly via I/O bits.” About Turck Hans Turck GmbH & Co. KG is one of the leading manufacturers in the field of industrial automation. It is globally represented by appr. 4,000 employees working in 28 countries. With a versatile range of approximately 15,000 sensor, fieldbus, interface and connectivity products, the company offers solutions for various applications in the fields of factory and process automation. The company is based in Mülheim, Germany. 02 The modular BL ident RFID system combines HF technology and UHF technology, which features wide reception range, together in one identification solution The ability of the product to read/write 8 bytes in a cycle can also fulfill site requirements. The product is easy and flexible to use, and each gateway can connect 8 Read/Write-heads maximum. Other I/O modules of digital signal and analog signal can also be connected. In case new point is required to add on site, only extra RFID module and base module are required. Thus, the cost of gateway and the workload of wring on site can be reduced. Furthermore, the Read/ Write-distance of 44 mm is supposed to fulfill the site installation requirements, and avoid hook impacting as well. The Read/Writehead can read the information from data carrier dynamically, which will not affect the operation speed of the production line. The adoption of Turck HF RFID solution can not only solve all the existing problems, but also enhance the reliability and accuracy of the data acquired, so as to connect the entire tracking chain, raise production efficiency greatly and guarantee the meat product safety. Conclusion Presently, the Chinese government is committed to carry forward the quality-assured meat project by means of internet of things; the government wishes the very original source of the pork on market would be traced, and its sales direction could be checked and identified. The information tracking in the slaughterhouse is particularly important. The application of Turck HF RFID technology to slaughtering would lead to the successful acquisition of the data which were unknown before, and the effective control of any manual mishandling, so as to interlink the information of breeding and circulation segments. The adoption of automatic devices is meaningful to realize the tracking of pork, upgrade the tracking and source tracking level of the meat product, and guarantee the meat product safety greatly. Integrated with automated equipment to achieve pork tracking, it really realizes integration of information technology and industrialization. We believe the development of science and technology will make it not a difficult task to supply quality-assured meat to the general public. Photographs: lead photo fotolia, 01-03 Turck (Tianjin) Sensor Co., Ltd www.truck.com AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 5/2016