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Harting RFID antenna goes round the bend

Steve Rogerson
October 1, 2015
German company Harting has developed a unique type of RFID antenna that uses a coaxial travelling-wave concept to offer users a compact package with complete flexibility in the design of RF reading zones.
For use where space is at a premium, the antenna cable is mechanically flexible and can therefore be installed and laid in any given shape according to the requirements of specific applications.
Modern industrial RFID systems allow components and packages to be followed in real time, and offer a multitude of options for increasing process security and ensuring optimal transparency. However, there is generally very little space available around belt conveyors, and classical RFID antennas are limited in that they cannot map curved tracks, a factor that restricts the capability for users to track and trace production history at every point in the process.
The Ha-Vis Locfield RFID antenna consists only of an industrial-grade coaxial line. This means users can lay it around the curves of conveyor belts, for example. Users therefore can design their own tailored UHF RFID reading zone.
Possible applications include RFID installations in smart shelves, 19in racks, complex machines, doors and pass-throughs.
The antenna generates a localised electromagnetic field exactly along the path of the antenna cable. The field can be thought of as a tube with the antenna cable at the centre of the tube. The diameter of the tube can be determined by changing the radio power injected into the cable by the RFID reader. Depending on reader, transponder, specific coax cable type and environment, the read range can be adjusted from a few centimetres to about one metre. The length of the antenna can be varied from 20cm to about 10m.
The antenna generates a travelling wave along the antenna cable at a UHF frequency band of 865 to 928MHz. Because the wave is travelling, a homogeneous RF field is generated along the cable. Only a negligible fraction of the field energy is radiated, so reflections and interferences are avoided, especially in metallic environments. The antenna can be connected to any kind of UHF RFID reader.