AGV – The Implementation of RFID Tags
Automation is one possible way a manufacturer can increase their cost effectiveness in domestic manufacturing. One form of automation is the use of automatically guided vehicles, or AGVs. An AGV is a vehicle that performs varies material handling tasks without the use of a driver. How do these vehicles navigate without the aid of a track to follow? How do some AGVs know what product they are handling and where to place that particular product? One way AGVs are accomplishing these tasks is by using RFID tags.
RFID tags/chips are one method AGVs use to navigate. The chips are implanted in the floor and the AGV itself. The AGV will then read the tags on the floor to determine its position in the factory. It’s like a wireless grid is set up inside the factory that the AGV can navigate through using the RFID chips and a computer system. Chips can be read from about 20 feet away, so a factory doesn’t have to be littered with the chips. RFID chips are not yet ubiquitous but that will change once the cost drops below 5 cents a tag.
RFID chips are nothing new. They have been around since at least 1945. Farmers have been using them to track livestock for years. One of my roommates actually works for a company that produces RFID tags. He tells me the actual tags are minute, and a little antenna stick out of the top. He told me many companies put them in product packaging. Once scanned, these chips will provide information about the package. AGVs use this to determine what a product is and where it needs to go. Pretty soon, RFID tags will be everywhere in our lives. They are already some AGVs, credit cards, passports, pets and even humans.