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RFID and ZigBee Based Manufacturing Monitoring System---IEEE2011

RFID and ZigBee Based Manufacturing Monitoring System---IEEE2011

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RFID and ZigBee Based ManufacturingMonitoring System
Qiang Ruan, Wensheng Xu, Gaoxiang Wang
School of Mechanical, Electronic and Control EngineeringBeijing Jiaotong UniversityBeijing, China
wshxu@bjtu.edu.cn, vipwgx@gmail.com)
- Traditional methods of monitoring production inenterprises by humans on site are unable to meet the expectationsfor efficiency, accuracy and cost as product lifecycles areshortened continuously. Setting up an RFID and ZigBee basedmanufacturing monitoring system is a good approach to improvemonitoring efficiency so as to improve management efficiency inenterprises. Although there are still some problems to be solvedfor RFID and ZigBee technologies, their unique features stillmake the monitoring system based on them a promising systemin manufacturing enterprises. The architecture of the RFID andZigBee based monitoring system is presented in this paper.
 Sensor; Monitoring; Manufacturing System
 To improve the production efficiency of an enterprise, themost basic and important requirement is to obtain the real-timestatus and data of the various manufacturing systems in theenterprise. RFID monitoring devices can serve as the datacollection system and the ZigBee wireless network can serveas the communication system to transmit the data to differentlevels of the enterprise management. From the perspective of system automatic control, the RFID and ZigBee monitoringsystem serves as the feedback link so as to achieve the close-loop control and management of the enterprise, as shown inFigure 1.
Figure 1. Close-loop Control Model of the Manufacturing System
RFID and ZigBee based wireless sensor monitoring systemcan provide enterprise managers with the real-time productionstatus of the enterprise, which include the detailed informationof each product, processes, the products’ current locations,attendance of the workers, equipment and so on, so that themanagers can make better analysis and optimization. Becauseit is a wireless system, the need for wiring and other issues can be got rid of. Of course, there is no universal technology,RFID and ZigBee based wireless sensor monitoring systemhas its own weaknesses when it is used in a large quantity. For example, the anti-jamming capability in complex or extremeenvironments and so on may cause problems.There are some successful cases by using RFID andZigBee based wireless sensor monitoring systems. Accordingto the retail analyst from the company of Sanford C. Bernstein,Wal-Mart can save 8.35 billion dollars per year owing toRFID [1]. Most of the money is saved because there is no needfor workers to check the bar code any more. There is no doubtthat RFID is helpful in solving the two difficulties in retail business: One is being out of stock due to supply chaindisturbed, and the other is the loss of the products due to thefts.Just because of the theft, Wal-Mart has a loss about 2 billiondollars every year [2]. It is estimated by a research institutionthat the RFID technology will decrease the theft loss by 25 percent [2].In this paper, we analyze the features and advantages of RFID and ZigBee, and propose the architecture of an RFIDand ZigBee based manufacturing monitoring system.II.
 Requirements for Data Transmission
The collection and transmission of information are equallyimportant. The system as a whole can do a good job only if thesensors and the appropriate wireless information transmissionnetwork match each other well.In the traditional sensor monitoring system, the data aretransmitted through the cable network. The cable network does have some advantages, such as a higher transfer rate,stronger anti-jamming capability, etc. However, for amonitoring system in some special or complex situations, the power lines or the communication lines could be a constraintand they may severely restrict the range that the wired sensorscan reach. In some cases such as when there is a large quantityof sensors or the monitoring targets should always be moving
Supported by Beijing Jiaotong University Student InnovationProgram and Beijing Jiaotong University Basic Research Fund of theChinese Education Ministry (2009JBM084)
978-1-4244-8039-5/11/$26.00 ©2011 IEEE
around (for instance various kinds of vehicles), wiring becomes very complex or even infeasible. The ZigBeetechnology, however, can easily solve this problem.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a non-contactautomatic identification technology, whose basic principle isto use the space coupling (inductive or electromagneticcoupling) of the radio frequency signal or the reflectivetransmission characteristics to achieve the automaticidentification of objects (tags) and the information’s input or output.
Figure 2. A Simple RFID System
An RFID system can be divided into at least two types of components – the tag and the reader, as shown in Figure 2.The tag is the data carrier in the RFID system. It consistsof an antenna and a chip specially designed for tags. There aremany ways to classify the different kinds of tags:
Classified by the power supply modes, there areactive tags, passive tags and semi-passive tags. Activetags have batteries in them but the passive ones donot[3] .
Classified by the working frequencies, there are lowfrequency tags (30kHz ~ 300kHz), high frequencytags (3MHz ~ 30MHz), ultra-high frequency tags(300MHz ~ 3GHz) and microwave frequency tags(>3GHz)[4].
Classified by the encapsulations, there are credit cardtags, line tags, paper-like tags, special-purpose tagsand so on[5] .The reader is a device to read or write the data on the tags.Just like the radio, if a reader is to work, it has to be under thesame frequency with the tags. There are also some differentways of classification for the readers:
Classified by the working principles: there are mainlyinductive coupling readers and electromagnetic backscatter coupling readers [6] .
Classified by the different sequences in time: some arefull duplex, some are half duplex and some arecontrolled by special SEQ system[7] .
Classified by the fixations: some are fixed on theground, some are handheld and some are attached onthe moving objects [8] .
ZigBee is a technology of following IEEE 802.15.4Protocol. Low complexity, low cost, low power consumption,low transmitting rate, high reliability, wireless short distancetransmission (compared with global Internet), and beingcapable of ad-hoc networks are all its features. It is suitable for the fields of automatic control and remote control, and it can be embedded in many different devices. In short, ZigBee is awireless ad-hoc networks capable communication technologywhich is cheap and low power consumption.The principle of ZigBee is not very complex. Devicesusing ZigBee technology can automatically connect to other devices around them, and those RFID devices form a lot of data paths, so different nodes can transfer their information tothe end-users through the different paths. A simple ZigBeenetwork is shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3. A Simple ZigBee Network 
 Advantages of RFID and ZigBee
RFID has many advantages. Compared with bar code andtwo-dimension code, its advantage lies in the way to read andstore the data. RFID tags can contain more data, can be read or written in remote distance and the reader can read more thanone tags at the same time, owing to the anti-collisiontechnology. A traditional bar code can only store a few or adozen English letters or Arabic numbers, and two-dimensionalcode can store dozens of letters, but it is unable to storeChinese characters, graphics or information in some other forms. Both bar code and two-dimension code are read-only.Meanwhile, an RFID tag can store more than 4MB so far, andthere is no limit on the data type and data structure. [9]For the reader can read several tags at the same timewithout contact, the efficiency is obviously improved. TheRFID technology can monitor the objects (tags) in real-time.
Using RFID tags can help us simplify the procedure of thetesting processes, improve the efficiency and reduce theexpenses both for workers and the equipment.As a new rising technology, ZigBee also has manyadvantages. One of the most attractive advantages is that it isvery energy-saving. In the energy-saving mode, a pair of 5# batteries can support an RFID node for 6 to 24 months or evenlonger[10]. In comparison, a Bluetooth device in the samesituation can only work for weeks, and the Wi-Fi device onlya few hours. It is also easy for the controllers to operate on theRFID chips and the requirements for the controller are verylow and it is free of patent fee. And also, the cost of theZigBee chips are quite low. The price of each ZigBee chip isabout 2 US dollars currently[11]. ZigBee can respond fast.Generally, it takes only 15 ms to switch from the sleepingmode to the working mode, and 30 ms to connect a node withthe network. In comparison, the bluetooth needs 3 to 10seconds to connect, and Wi-Fi needs about 3s[11].ZigBee also has a high capacity and flexible scalability.The structure of the ZigBee network can be either star-like,mesh or hybrid. A master node can manage up to 254 childnodes, the master nodes can also be managed by the node inthe upper level. There can be as many as 65 thousand nodes ina ZigBee network. ZigBee provides three levels of security,which include no security setting, Access Control List (ACL)and Advanced Encryption Standard(AES-128b) to prevent thedata being illegally intercepted by others, and to determine thesecurity attributes flexibly.Although the transmission rate of ZigBee is low, it ismostly enough for industrial production monitoring. Workingat different frequencies, it can reach the communication rate of 250 kbps(2.4GHz),40kbps (915MHz) and 20kbps(868 MHz)[12]. The distance between adjacent nodes is between 10 to100 meters. If we increase the power of Radio Frequency (RF),the distance can extend to 1 to 3 kilometers[13]. If the router and communication relay are used, the communication rangecan be even farther. For ordinary workshops, it is enough.III.
 A complete manufacturing enterprise can be divided intodifferent layers. Different layers do different kinds of jobs.The enterprise can function well and efficiently only if everylayer can do a good job and different layers can match eachother well.In the RFID and ZigBee based manufacturing monitoringsystem of an enterprise, all the software and hardware can bedivided into four layers: manufacturing layer, monitoring layer,transmission layer and application layer, as shown in Figure 4.The connections between the components in the RFID andZigBee based monitoring system is shown in Figure 5.
Figure 4. Architecture of RFID and ZigBee Based Monitoring SystemFigure 5. Functions of RFID and ZigBee in the Monitoring System
The manufacturing layer 
The manufacturing layer is at the bottom, and it includesthe parts, products, machines, vehicles and workers, etc. Themanufacturing layer is the monitoring targets of themonitoring system in the workshops. All useful informationcan be monitored in this layer, such as the manufacturingstatus, the production, the locations and other information of 

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