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Steute Schaltgeräte's RF 96 TK wireless switch
Identytec, a German automatic identification and mobile technologies company, has developed a wireless kanban solution that features wireless, RF-enabled components—such as optical sensors and position switches—provided by steute Schaltgeräte. By eliminating the cables, steute Schaltgeräte explains, the wireless kanban system simplifies and optimizes a production system's operation.
The solution includes steute Schaltgeräte's ID Tag, a mobile call button that lets assembly personnel automatically request goods or parts at the push of a button. This process, according to steute Schaltgeräte, replaces manual kanban systems requiring staff members to remove cardboard cards and place them into a kanban box as soon as containers became empty (a method dating back to the 1970s, and designed to provide the factory's planning staff with constant feedback in order to reduce warehouse stock to a minimum, but not put the company in danger of running out). The ID Tag button automatically signals an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to resupply the assembly point in question with the correct part or product, steute Schaltgeräte adds.
In addition, Identytec developed the ID Shelf, an automatic shelf system that does not require the pushing of a button. A roller conveyor shelf is fitted with an optical sensor that can detect whether the shelf is full or empty. As soon as production or assembly personnel remove a container, the sensor communicates with the position switch, which automatically transmits a signal to a Wi-Fi communication unit—which, in turn, triggers an order in the ERP system. Identytec's solution also includes the ID Connector software that links terminal devices, such as the roller conveyor shelf, to a control station, and thus to the ERP system as well. Other devices, such as label printers or mobile control terminals on forklifts, can also be integrated in the IT structure in the same way, according to steute Schaltgeräte.
Steute Schaltgeräte reports that it has provided all of the wireless switching devices used in Identytec's e-Kanban system, including RF 96 TK wireless switches, RF 96 LT wireless optical sensors and wireless receivers. The devices are battery-powered, and because transmission is accomplished via radio signals requiring only small amounts of energy, the batteries can last for more than four years, the company claims. The devices operate at 868.3 MHz and employ the Enocean wireless transmission protocol.
According to steute Schaltgeräte, users of Identytec's e-Kanban system include car manufacturers that have equipped numerous assembly points with the wireless solution. The method facilitates the simultaneous management of more than 1,000 articles along a production line or in a production hall, the firm reports. What's more, the company says its wireless switchgear is utilized in other industrial wireless applications, including for the automated opening of warehouse gates, which can be triggered from forklift seats.