RFID Lab (UniPR)

RFID Lab stems from multi-year research activities performed at the Department of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Parma. The lab focuses on exploring the applications of RFID technology and the EPC system to business processes.

Founded in 2006, RFID Lab was the first Italian laboratory which tested RFID UHF Class1 Gen2 applications. Research activities, first focused on the food and fast-moving consumer goods fields, encompass several market segments, including, among others, paper, textiles, pharmaceuticals, health care and public administrations. All the companies that experiencing significant issues in product flows “visibility” and “traceability” along the supply chain, involving inefficiency and waste, may substantially benefit from RFID technology implementation and research activities performed at the RFID Lab.

University of Parma – Dept. of Engineering and Architecture

At the present, the lab can only be accesed by a local experimenter, either for real (i.e. local lab) or hybrid real/virtual experiments (i.e. hybrid lab)

The pallet warehouse is based on drive-in shelves, which can store full pallets.

The closed loop roller conveyor for cases is equipped with sensors in order to be safe during the handling of cardboard cases. The conveyor can be loaded with different cases and products. RFID equipment (readers and different kinds of antennas) on the conveyor can be used to gather RFID raw data from the field.

The pallet conveyor has sensors for automated forward/reverse direction switch and RFID equipment for data acquisition.

The shrink-wrapping machine can perform RFID test while products are rotating on its table.

Master Students – teaching purposes

Ph.D. Students – research purposes

Company staff – demos and technological transfer

Lab managers – research purposes + lab management and re-layout

Maximum number of concurrent activities in the lab: 2 (1 activity on cases, 1 on pallets). The number of concurrent activities is determined by the layout and the equipment of the lab, and it does not depend on the types of user groups listed above.

  1. The pallet warehouse:
    • The inventory of the warehouse could be managed on a shared Data Base containing all the specific features and specifications of the stored products, especially regarding RFID behaviour. Such DB could be available to the end-user on a Combo Menu used to select the product under test.
    • Real time inventory RFID equipment could be installed and used to keep the inventory updated and to track the handling of freights from/to any warehouse location. Thus, warehouse processes could be studied, simulated and verified remotely.
  2. The closed loop roller conveyor:
    • The conveyor may be controlled from remote for On, Off, and Speed change operations (maximum speed is almost 3,5 m/s).
    • Performances of RFID systems could be investigated under different testing conditions (e.g. speed, antennas, products, …).
    • A researcher interested in developing data processing algorithms (reading discrimination, direction detection, smart data prediction, …) could use such data to easily test his work, remotely controlling the lab and without having a physical lab for his own. A webcam is active and shows the test carried on in the lab.
  3. The pallet conveyor:
    • The conveyor may be controlled from remote, thus allowing the testing of products, RFID equipment, software algorithms in an easily automated and controlled way.
  4. The shrink-wrapping machine:
    • can be used to simulate and validate logistics processing involving automated identification of products while consolidating the loading unit.
  5. A remote-control dashboard will be used to (i) schedule the tests on the equipment; and thus manually prepare the freights (i.e. pallets, cases) on the desired equipment and (ii) define and plan the kind of tests to be performed, according to the available equipment of the lab; (iii) control the equipment, and gather desired data (loading a “test file” containing all the required information and configurations); (iv) have a view of the activities carried on in the lab and captured by a webcam.
"Industry 4.0 is the future of productivity and growth in manufacturing"
Marco Scaffardi
Engineering master student
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