Introducing the T-TrayReader™, an RFID Tag Reader for Tray Sorters
Tsubakimoto Chain Co., Ltd. (President: Yasushi Ohara, Head office: Kita-ku, Osaka City) has developed the T-TrayReader RFID reader designed for use with tray sorters. Gifu LC Center of Asahi Link Co., Ltd. has already taken delivery of this model.
In response to a growing labor shortage, Japan’s logistics industry is facing an ongoing need for labor-saving innovations and increased efficiency of operations. Consequently, RFID tags capable of providing multiple pieces of data at once — such as inventory levels and shipping and receiving schedules — are becoming increasingly common. Our LiniSort™ tray sorter, however, is notable for providing high-speed sorting at up to 96 m/min. In order to read the data with high accuracy from RFID tags mounted on trays moving at such speeds, we had to overcome numerous technical hurdles. Tsubakimoto therefore developed the T-TrayReader as an RFID reader suitable for use with such sorters.
The conventional processing method used with the LiniSort was to enter work data at the loading section and place the work item on an empty tray for sorting. Typically, an operator would carry out product data input by using a scanner to read the bar code attached to each individual work item being conveyed. This was how product information was entered into the system.
With the new T-TrayReader, however, workers need only place a work item affixed with an RFID tag on an empty tray. As the tray passes the reading device on the sorter, the data on the RFID tag is read automatically (Photo 1), the data for the work item is input automatically, and sorting takes place as a result (Photo 2).
With the introduction of the T-TrayReader, we have simplified the work process and achieved significant improvements in processing efficiency and sorting accuracy.
Improved efficiency of data input
In order to process each work item being conveyed with the conventional barcode reading method, two steps were necessary — retrieval of the barcode data, and proper orienting of the barcode for the scanner. With RFID tags, however, simply placing the work on the tray is all that is required. Thus, the RFID tag method offers twice the efficiency of the barcode data input method.
(2)Improved sorting accuracy
The T-TrayReader mounted on the LiniSort automatically reads the data for the work item conveyed by the sorter. If more than one work item is inadvertently placed on a tray, the T-TrayReader detects the presence of multiple data sources and recognizes that an error has occurred, thus preventing erroneous date input. The tray carrying multiple work items is then rejected from sorting due to the specified error.
Reliable data reading
In order to read the RFID tag, the T-TrayReader incorporates a total of four antennas embedded into the top as well as the right and left sides. This ensures that the work data on the RFID tags passing by at high speed is read without fail. What’s more, any RFID tags that remain in a stationary state near the device are identified as such by the stable intensity of the radio signal. In this case, the associated data is ignored even if it is read.
We have created a domed space in which radio waves are emitted uniformly.
Because RFID tags are maintained at a minimum interval of 300 mm, the position of the work item can be detected and read with high accuracy.
Can be installed over an existing sorter
The T-TrayReader can be retrofit to any existing sorter that is currently equipped with a barcode reader. As a result, the advantages of automatic RFID reading can be adopted whenever desired.
L: 1400 mm W: 900 mm H: 650 mm (From tray surface to top)
Minimum RFID tag interval:
Tray mounting pitch:
500 - 800 mm
Maximum size of work item to be read:
L: 600 mm W: 500 mm H: 300 mm (at a tray pitch of 720 mm)
Maximum sorter speed: