RFID in manufacturing processes of automobile window panes

  • RFID Schreib-/Lesegerät RFM32SL200

  • Modulare Anschlusseinheit MA204i zur Feldbusanbindung

  • Typisches Beispiel für RFID-Anwendung: In Lackieranlagen und EX-Bereichen spielt RFID seine Vorteile voll aus.

  • Typisches Beispiel für RFID-Anwendung: Lackierstraße in der Automobilindustrie mit optoelektronischer Zugangssicherung.

Absolute identification of vehicle window panes

RFID optimizes the process chain in the flexible manufacturing of the most diverse range of automotive vehicle window panes

Exceptionally high flexibility and optimized processes are expected from suppliers and the automotive industry. The prevalence of Just In Sequence (JIS) deliveries – made directly to assembly lines – and the immense variety of parts necessitate a high degree of automation and optimization of internal processes. In conjunction with this, RFID represents an optimum solution – particularly if Ex zones, such as in paint facilities, are also involved.

A renowned provider of vehicle side windows refines a tremendous variety of window panes for various automobile manufacturers. The spectrum ranges from panoramic roofs, swing-out windows, triangular windows and retractable panes on through to special-purpose panes made of tempered glass (Securit) or plastic.

One of the core elements of the company's production is a paint facility with three robot cells, in EX-zone 2, and a manual painting area for small, limited production runs and various types of rework.

Process workflow

The individual panes and pane components are pulled, usually in pairs, through the process steps on specially designed work piece holders (which are attached to a chain), from the pre-treatment to the sealing and drying process. The layout of the system and the arrangement of the paint cells allow for both sequential and parallel usage. A painting robot works self-sufficiently in each cell. After a scheduled dwell time in the cell, the work pieces are transported through the central drier. In order to do this, it is necessary to uniquely identify each individual work piece holder.

Contingent upon the surface treatment, an RFID system with transponders suitable for high temperatures was utilized. The expansion of the booths and the sub-areas in an explosion-proof design requires coupling modules with a high protection rating for mounting in a suitable position, outside of the Ex zones but within the system. To control the paint cells, a quick PLC with PROFIBUS is used in order to enable a high part flow-rate.

Details for identification

At the beginning of the process chain, the untreated, raw panes are usually placed on the materials handling system directly out of the delivered containers. After they have been put in place, the work piece holders are channeled into the actual flow by way of release. The identification of the equipped work piece holders occurs when they are moved into one of the robot cells. The transponders are mounted respectively on top of the support frame and detection is performed from above. The conveyor speed is approx. 0.5 m/s. As robots, drive mechanisms and control elements are planned as PROFIBUS components, the identification devices were also designed to use PROFIBUS communication.

A two-part system from Leuze electronic is used for automatic identification – the RFID reader and a modular interfacing unit for the PROFIBUS coupling. The RFM32SL200 read/write system is optimally suited to the requirements of the application, because it also available in a version for EX-zone 2/22. The selected transponders are designed for especially adverse conditions (protection rating IP 68) and, due to the drying processes, for high temperatures of up to 200 °C.

The RFM32SL200 module belongs to an industrial product line of RFID and optical AutoID devices for diverse applications. It involves a rugged read/write system using a standardized transmission protocol in accordance with ISO15693 and with a 110 mm range. The device has an RS232 data interface with digital input and output. The function can be adapted to each respective task through configuration.

Connecting to PROFIBUS

The modular MA204i PROFIBUS module, a device from an extensive line of fieldbus coupling modules for field use, is also ideally suited for communication. The MA200 series has coupling modules for nearly all industrial fieldbuses. A large number of devices from Leuze electronic can be connected to the MA204i: the spectrum ranges from stationary and mobile bar code readers, 2D code readers, positioning systems, measuring sensors, smart cameras on to hand-held scanners and RFID devices.

Thanks to multiple operating modes, these coupling modules are especially versatile and flexibly deployable. With the factory settings, the device operates completely transparently and does not require any programming – only the address needs to be set and the GSD file integrated in the PLC. Application of the device is therefore particularly easy. By means of the GSD file, all parameter settings for the data width on the bus, the RS232 interface and the operating modes are directly selectable from the control via the hardware manager and thus very easily performed.

The conventional PROFIBUS layout in a linear structure is supported by the MA204i modular interfacing unit through the bus interface and the voltage supply redundantly implemented by means of the M12 connection system. Access to the connected device for configuration or in case of an error is possible via the service interface on the MA204i modular interfacing unit.

Device control by means of CommandMode and CollectiveMode

An extremely speedy kind of device control is made possible by CommandMode, as numerous functions of Leuze electronic devices can be directly triggered by means of predefined bit. A so-called CollectiveMode is available for particularly extensive data, e.g. the contents of numerous codes. In it, a large buffer storage can be used for connection.


  • Secteur/domaine

    Industrie automobile, technique de convoyage/stockage

  • Cahier des charges

    Commande, RFID

  • Application

    RFID in manufacturing processes of automobile window panes


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