PCB | May 28, 2008
RFID on Printed Circuit Boards
The market for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is growing fast. Market experts predict sales will increase from US$ 1.2 bn in 2008 to US$ 3.5 bn by 2012. A reason for the increasing demand for RFID technology is the avid interest in managing and tracing products and services, in particular in safety-conscious sectors.
This is where alpha-board’s concept comes to the fore: The Berlin based company for electronics design and manufacturing now supplies PCBs with RFID technology. PCB identification PCBs are usually labelled with barcodes or 2D code labels in order to identify, e.g., product series during further manufacturing steps. Labels are a cost-effective solution – however, they require lots of space on the PCB. A scanner identifies the PCBs which are then assigned with the aid of a database. Manufacturers profit from labelling their assembled PCBs with RFID technology: • Space saving solution • Improved assignment due to increased identification number • Improved readability (e.g. for soiled, hard to reach positions, etc.) • Additional storage space for assembled PCB-related information Below a brief overview of various methods to identify assembled PCBs: 1. Barcode: An adhesive label is attached to the PCB. The barcode usually identifies an assembled PCB series. The barcode just consists of an identification number for which assembled PCB information is stored in a database. 2. 2D code (e.g. dot-matrix): This is a two dimensional code which in contrast to the barcode can also store assembled PCB-specific data. 2D codes have excellent error correction properties and can sometimes still be read even after being damaged, e.g. scratched or soiled. These labels are also attached to the PCB. Disadvantage: A special 2D scanner is required to read the matrix! 3. RFID label: An adhesive label with integrated RFID TAG is attached to the PCB the same as a barcode label. Non-destructive removal of these labels is not possible. RFID labels can be read via a scanner – also from greater distances – thus identifying the assembled PCB. Moreover, the labels store assembled PCB-specific additional information. The space-saving labels are extremely small (the size depends on the actual reading range) – i.e. they can be attached to very small PCBs or flex boards. In comparison to barcodes or 2D codes, RFID labels are more expensive, but they offer considerably more benefits. 4. TAG: A TAG is a complete RFID transponder with chip and antenna, and usually sealed in a housing. A complete TAG can be embedded in a PCB. The chip is mounted on the PCB and the conductors are used as the antenna. Both these processes require additional steps and depend on the structure and specifications of the PCB, e.g. thickness, flexibility or rigidness, etc. Since new calculations are always required for this version, it is comparatively expensive. Further cost factor: If the TAG is defective, the PCB can also be discarded! However, it is beneficial that the RFID transponder is connected permanently to the PCB and cannot be removed. TAGs are placed the same as a PCB component or attached like an adhesive label. Solutions from alpha-board The RFID label is favoured by alpha-board. In a cost-benefit sense this version is less expensive and easier to realise. RFID labels can always be attached to a PCB if the PCB is large enough and the substrate is non-metallic. If a label cannot be attached to a PCB which is too small or due to the high packing density, alpha-board pursues a different strategy: A small TAG is mounted on the PCB just like a board component. Traceability is an important feature for PCBs in safety-conscious sectors, e.g. the aerospace industry. For example, if certain components malfunction and all the coordinates of certain parts have to be traced, the RFID comes into its own: It is possible to read all the PCB data relatively quickly via the reader. This not only results in increased safety, it also saves time. Even the initial costs for the utilization of RFID technology are favourable: The existing barcode technology can be effortlessly updated. And the more TAGs used, e.g., in an aeroplane, the lower the actual costs per unit are. RFID in the aerospace industry RFID chips on PCBs are, as yet, not a standard feature in the aerospace industry. However, all the signs are that traceability right down to the smallest screw will become obligatory. In the RFID field, "alpha-board offers something which everyone is currently looking for: We predict a high future demand for RFID labels on all PCBs in the aerospace industry," says Frank Külich, Technical Manager at alpha-board. RFID on board also provides support for maintenance purposes. For example, as additional redundancy, the following assembled PCB information would be interesting for direct probing at the part: • Manufacturer data • Part number/Order number • Current production number/Production date • Configuration status • If applicable, software release • Malfunctioning history • Repair history This information can be provided by the assembled PCB directly via the chip or retrieved from a central database. For example, RFID could allow information to be read for an entire rack of circuit boards or individually (bulk reading) – a highly attractive option. www.alphaboard.de
Heidenhain opens new expanded Western US HQ This includes the expansion of its executive, sales and technical support offices, as well as demo facilities in San Jose, California.
Delphi Technologies awarded new power electronics business Delphi Technologies is making new strides by securing new power electronics business wins in the second quarter of 2020 with three Chinese OEMs. The new business is scheduled to launch in the 2021-23 timeframe.
Mycronic combines US operations in new facility near Boston Mycronic US says that all of its operations have been integrated into a new 102,000 square-foot facility in Tewksbury, near Boston, Massachusetts.
Lynn Electronics acquires West Coast cable assembly company Pennsylvania-based Lynn Electronics, a manufacturer of fibre optic and copper cable assemblies, has completed its acquisition of Coast 2 Coast, LLC (C2C), an Anaheim, California cable assembly manufacturer.
Sponsored content by ASMASM Impact – Release Summer 2020: SMT technology leader presents new products in compact livestream ASM’s new releases for this summer are innovative, smart, and deliver great gains in productivity. ASM will present these new solutions, the premiere of the ASM Works software suite and many more innovations around the integrated smart factory in a compact livestream with expert chats and spin-off sessions.
Fictiv and Jabil team up for agile 3D printing collaboration The collaboration aims to accelerate and de-risks product development in the move from prototyping and low volume production to large scale global fulfilment.
TT expands with new industrial electronics manufacturing facility The UK-based electronics manufacturing specialist is expanding the footprint of its Global Manufacturing Solutions division by opening operations in Kuantan, Malaysia.
GE Appliances invests $62 million at its Louisville facility The manufacturer is gearing up to build high-end refrigerators and expand capacity at its manufacturing facility in Louisville, Kentucky., creating 260 new jobs.
Eaton buys new facility – merges busway operations from multiple sites Power management company Eaton has purchased a new facility in Hodges, South Carolina, establishing a new home for Eaton’s busway product line currently spanning three facilities across Greenwood County.
AIM adds new facility in Brazil AIM Solder has opened a new wholly-owned facility in Manaus, Brazil. This new stocking facility, which represents the only legitimate source of AIM products in Brazil, enables the company to support a growing Brazilian market.
PFOA now in REACh and POP regulation On 4 July, PFOA - perfluorooctanoic acid, its salts and precursor compounds - was included in the POP (Persistent Organic Pollutants) Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 and at the same time also came into force in the REACh Regulation (Annex XVII, entry 68).
Manz AG receives further Battery order Manz AG is expanding its successful partnership with an international battery manufacturers in the Energy Storage segment with a further major order in the mid double-digit million euro range.
Advantech and Interlatin to set up JV in Mexico Industrial IoT specialist, Advantech, says it is establishing a joint venture subsidiary in Mexico with its channel partner Interlatin.
Mercedes-Benz takes equity stake in Farasis Mercedes-Benz is taking another important step on its journey towards CO₂--neutral mobility. The Stuttgart-based car manufacturer has launched a strategic partnership with Chinese battery cell manufacturer Farasis Energy (Ganzhou) Co., Ltd., including taking an equity stake.
A new EMS provider sees the light of day EMS providers DataED and Bestronics merge to launch a new player – Emerald EMS.
Tektronix joins the fight agains COVID-19 Tektronix has shifted its focus from supporting vehicle manufacturing to assisting with ventilator production.
ABB completes divestment of Power Grids to Hitachi ABB has reached a significant milestone in the company’s transformation towards a decentralized global technology company, with the completion of the divestment of 80.1% of its Power Grids business to Hitachi.
Germany amps up domestic battery production with massive state subsidies The German government is investing more than EUR 1.5 billion in battery cell research and production.
Internal promotions and executive retirements at Kimball EMS provider, Kimball Electronics, has made two new internal promotions aimed at contributing to the company accelerating its strategic growth plans.
Kyocera & TMDU team up for research on vitals measurement headset Kyocera Corporation and Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) have teamed up on a joint research project to develop a wireless headset that can remotely monitor high accuracy patient biometrics, such as blood oxygen saturation (SpO2).
German battery manufacturer receives funding for cell production facility VARTA AG receives public funding of EUR 300 million for battery cell production facility.
Scanfil to streamline its factory network The EMS provider is planning to combine the production of its Hamburg factory with its other factories in Germany and Poland
Kitron awarded new order within measurement technology Kitron has been awarded new business for measurement technology. The award covers a period of five years, and the expected annual value is between EUR 3.5-5 million.
NORBIT ASA awarded aquaculture contract Norwegian technology manufacturer, NORBIT, has been awarded a new contract from an existing customer within the aquaculture market.
Saki strengthens its Asian operations The AOI specialist is expanding its global sales organisation with new Asia sales department, and appointing Katsuhiro Eddie Ichiyama as Senior General Manager for the Asian regionLoad more news
- X-FAB hit by cyber attack
- U.S.: Cancellation of Preferential Treatment for Hong Kong to impact chip industry
- Apple to start mass producing Mac SoC, projected to cost under US$100
- Arm to strengthen focus on core semiconductor IP business growth
- Fictiv and Jabil team up for agile 3D printing collaboration