Problems Encountered In RF Tracking

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Jul 11, 2013

Whatever the size of your plant is, tracking or just keeping track of beef and or pork carcass is available and affordable today. There are systems available that can be tailored to fit the size of your plant, one of them is a Radio Frequency Chip attached to a trolley.

The RF system is a system that enables you to fit a small RF transponder (chip) into the trolley wheels permanently, with a molded mount or an attachable transponder that is mounted to the trolley strap itself. The second piece you need is a RF reader which reads the transponders specific embedded number and/or enables you to write to the chip. You now have a trolley with a specific number assigned to it and possibly the ability to read and write to the chip. You can start out with a small number of readers and grow from there; most applications start with one in the kill area and one at a point near the grading station.

machine visiontrolley vision RF trolley vision systems

Here are some of the problems that you may encounter:

  1. What stray frequencies do you have in your plant? A test will need to be done in the plant to find and record what stray frequencies you currently have. Chain drives, lights, any bearings and even hydraulic lines all emit a frequency. You will need to find a frequency level that will not interfere with your system.
  2. If you plan to write to a chip and one of your stations goes down for a short period of time, that information is lost and not able to be recaptured.
  3. RF transponder failures can be a problem. The failure rate on a passive chip is about 20% after an 18 month period.
  4. Even if you have a frequency that does not exist in your plant, outside interference can still be a problem. CB radio’s, trains and cell phone towers have all been found to be the cause of interference to RF systems.
  5. Transponders attached to the trolleys have a tendency to get knocked off. Think about the handling of your trolleys; they get quite a bit of abuse. Will the attachment stay on your strap?

All this being said, there is still a place for RF tracking in some plants. What is important here is that you know what you are getting into prior to buying a Carcass Tracking system, check them all out.

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