In my research on the RFID middleware market, I came across a number of vendors that were new to me. In a series of articles, I will provide a short overview of these products. The last of these is Siemens, A&D Division.
Siemens were founded in 1847 and therefore are the oldest company providing RFID middleware. Their headquarters are in Nuremberg, Germany and have offices all around the world. There are no partnerships with other hardware vendors; the solution is very much to work with their own hardware products. The major technical partnership is with Microsoft; the Windows platform forms the basis for much of the Siemens software products. Siemens have a number of implementation partners who tend to be regional.
Simantic RF consists of the following components:
- Tags - Moby and Simantic tags
- Fixed and handheld readers
Interfaces for connection to the automation system (PROFIBUS, Ethernet)
- The SIMATIC RF180C is a communication module for connection to PROFINET IO. The readers of the RFID systems MOBY I, E, D, U and SIMATIC RF300 can be operated on the SIMATIC RF180C.
- The SIMATIC RF170C is a communication module for connecting to the ET 200pro distributed I/O system. The readers of all RFID systems can be operated on the SIMATIC RF170C.
Software for system integration
- SIMATIC RF-MANAGER 2007
- SIMATIC RF600 Data Manager
Figure 1: Simantic Architeture (Source: Siemens A&D)
SIMATIC RF-MANAGER provides data and device management software for RFID applications. RF-MANAGER consists of the following components:
- The Engineering System is used to perform all the necessary configuration tasks and to parameterise the components involved. The RFID project created in this manner is subsequently executed in the Runtime system.
- Runtime can execute on the same PC as the Engineering System or on a different PC or a Microbox 420.
RF_MANAGER provides support for the implementation of the EPCglobal reader protocol layer for communication with the readers and as well provides an ALE interface for communication with enterprise applications
Depending on the scope of the RFID application, different software packages are available. Each product type contains both an Engineering System and Runtime. The packages only differ with regard to the number of readers supported by Runtime. Several Runtime licenses can also be added.
The SIMATIC RF600 Data Manager software is a server application which receives data from the Siemens RF660R readers and transfers them through an interface to a client application. The reader topology can be configured, saved and reactivated at a later time.
Reading of tag data from the reader to the PC is automated. The RF600 Data Manager includes visualisation windows for the detected transponders, such as, for example, the "data table" window where the transponder data is shown. All data can be routed to a client application via an interface where it is processed further and saved. The client application is not included in this package.
In the opinion of Bloor Research the following represent the key facts of which prospective users should be aware:
- The transmission frequency of 1.81 MHz, 13.56 MHz or 2.4 GHz makes Simatic RF largely immune to electromagnetic interference.
- In the current version Simanic RF Manager, readers of the RF660R type are supported only.
- The SIMATIC RF600 Data Manager is not an official Siemens product. A warranty does not apply. Service and support is not provided for this software.