RFID-based sensors as a data source for the IoT: Page 2 of 3

May 11, 2016 // By Mikel Choperena
Latest technology advances bring wireless and battery-free sensors based on radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to act as a data source for the Internet of Things (IoT).

As pointed out previously, IoT is also about processing all the data and delivering it correctly. RFID hardware can provide lots of data. However, the true potential of the RFID systems lies in the combination of data collection and data processing, converting data into meaningful and actionable information.

Rotor temperature monitoring system.


As an example, RFID is a great technology to collect data of hot spots inside motor and generator rotors. In these motors, winding temperature or permanent magnet temperature are key but, as a rotating device, wiring sensors to the rotor is not a possibility. Battery powered wireless devices are technically feasible but the cost of changing batteries is too high when having to stop the motors for this purpose, sometimes affecting the production of a whole manufacturing line.

RFID temperature sensors can be placed on the rotor to collect data from hot spots. These sensors will never require a battery change so the solution works fine.

Still, having the data is only part of the equation. This data has no value by itself. Engineers must process this data to optimize motor design. Maintenance staff at a manufacturing line also need to process the data to enhance maintenance and optimize motor life cycle.

Engineers will have to set up temperature thresholds to automate corrective actions. They will have to apply data mining techniques, digging into the historical data stored during years of operation, with hot spot monitoring sensors being used in a variety of motors. They will also recommend new sensors to be implemented, improving their designs and maintenance routine.

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