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Object Tracking The Intelligent Way

01 May 2004

A British company has developed a tag reader system for complex
tracking and routing applications that is claimed to the first to offer
in-built intelligence. It not only tracks objects in real time but also
writes to the object being tracked, broadening its scope of operations

Small enough to fit into the palm of your hand and costing less than
£500, the new intelligent tag reader (ITR) system from British company,
Intelligent Distributed Control (IDC) offers more than conventional tag
readers, including integral PLC functionality and reduced field and
network wiring. ITR installations require neither a central PLC nor
separate multiplexers. The unit provides two isolated relay outputs,
three relay inputs and two communication ports. It is EMC and CE
compliant and is environmentally protected to IP54.

Compatible with most industry standard tag protocols, including I.Code,
Tagit, My-d and ISO15693, the ITR offers all the benefits of an
intelligent bar code reader, such as object and no-read detection, but
does not require line-of-sight. Significantly, the ITR can write to the
object being tracked. This feature is particularly useful for
intermediate storage applications in the chemical industry, for example,
where storage devices such as powder vats are moved from one process to
another via a holding area. These vats can now be tracked and details of
their contents and respective states read by the ITR system.

Importantly for users, the ITR does not require a broadcasting license,
nor is it limited in its programming flexibility. In addition to being
configurable in the high level C language, the system has the benefit of
an IEC 61131 compliant software package that can be used to configure the
communications ports and set up applications in simple ladder logic or
high level Java. Alternatively, users can choose from a range of
pre-configured application modules provided by IDC, or create their own
library of modules, integrating them back into the ladder environment.

The ITR is the latest peripheral device to be added to IDC's Simplicon
distributed control system, which was launched earlier this year to
tackle the problems - particularly those of cost and complexity -
associated with centrally controlled materials handling systems.

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