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Method for pallet tracking using a single antenna

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000126123D
Publication Date: 2005-Jul-01
Document File: 3 page(s) / 44K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for pallet tracking using a single antenna. Benefits include improved functionality, improved performance, and improved safety.

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Method for pallet tracking using a single antenna

Disclosed is a method for pallet tracking using a single antenna. Benefits include improved functionality, improved performance, and improved safety.

Background

              Radio frequency identifier (RFID) tags are expected be widely deployed to track pallets and cases. The tag enables serialization and authenticity validation. Other expected uses include expiration date storage, supply route tracing, and the tracking of which employee(s) have touched the product. RFID tags are powered by the electromagnetic field of the reader and do not typically contain a power source, except for active tags.

              The difficult part of tracking RFID tags is reading the pallet or case tag when the material is changing location, such as being moved by a forklift. Proposed methods include building a portal around the door, using handheld scanners, and wall mounting the scanners. Product distribution centers can have 200 doors where trucks back in to be loaded or unloaded. Forklift drivers must move pallets off the truck and place them on shelves. Conversely, when loading the trucks the forklift driver has a pull sheet that tells him to move a pallet from a certain shelf location to a certain door number. Mistakes in storing pallets or placing them on the wrong truck are very expensive in time and customer dissatisfaction.

              Conventional RFID readers’ designs are 915-MHz (UHF) and consume 25 to 40 watts. Their circuit boards measure 144 square inches and use external antennas that are 24-inches to 36-inches tall and 12-inches wide.

General description

              The disclosed method is improved pallet tracing using a single antenna. The method includes several improved RF techniques, including:

•             Circulator front end

•             DSP processing of the base band

•             Isolation of the received signal from the transmitted signal

              A sealed robust housing is achieved by using the transmit/receive antenna for inductive charging, enabling the use of the reader in an industrial environment. Power consumption is lowered by using a combination of discrete analog components coupled with the digital signal processor (DSP) capability of the wireless processor. Additionally, the processor coordinates the transmission power of the wireless network with the transmission power of the RFID reader, minimizing interference and reducing the maximum current the battery or power supply must provide.

Advantages

              The disclosed method provides advantages, including:

•             Improved functionality due to reading the RFID of each pallet at pick-up by the forklift and at placement in the truck

•             Improved functionality due to the capability to inform the forklift driver of work to be performed when it is required (realtime)

•             Improved power performance due to inductively picking up a charge

•             Improved power performance due to improved signal qualit...