RFID, scanning, reader, machine vision technologies advance

Sick introduced and showed RFID, scanning, reader, and machine vision technologies at the 2013 Automate and ProMat shows.


Among Sick products introduced and shown at Automate 2013 and ProMat shows were the Sick IDM160 Hand-held Scanner for heavy-duty warehouse and industrial environments; and the Sick RFU630 Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID read/write unit, a fully integrated proximity interrogator for passive transponders in applications with scanning distances of up to 5 m. The Sick PLR Vision System uses 2D Imaging with 3D Cross Triangulation, said to be ideal for robotized de-racking of stamped body parts. The Sick Lector620 Image-based Code Reader suits quality control applications, and the Sick Inspector PI50 Vision Sensor offers inspection and positioning capabilities in one device, for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and vision integrators that have high demands for flexibility and machine integration. Sick manufactures sensors, safety systems, encoders, machine vision, and automatic identification products for factory and logistics automation. More about each product follows.

Sick IDM160 Hand-held Scanner for heavy-duty warehouse and industrial environments

Sick IDM160 Hand-held Scanner is useful for heavy-duty warehouse and industrial environments. Courtesy: SickThe new Sick IDM160 Hand-held Scanner for warehouse and distribution centers joins the IDM 1xx family of general purpose and industrial, corded and cordless, hand-held scanners. Other offerings include the IDM120, 140, and WLAN 1D. The IDM120, 140, 160, and WLAN hand-held scanners are engineered specifically for Sick. All IDM hand-helds reliably read all popular 1D and PDF 417 bar codes. 

The IDM 160 is an industrial corded 1D hand-held scanner line. It has three “good read” indicators: a beeper, a green LED, and vibration. It can read codes down to 3 mil resolution and up to 800 mm distance (for 20 mil codes). A laser aimer makes it easy for the operator to locate the code. Its rugged housing allows up to 50 drops from 2 m and has an ingress protection of IP 65, making it ideal for heavy-duty warehouse and industrial environments.

The IDM 160-2BT is an industrial, cordless, 1D hand-held scanner line. Bluetooth communication between the scanner and wall-mount cradle allows a maximum range of 30 m, allowing the user to move around freely without cable interference. The cradle can communicate with a maximum of 7 scanners, helpful for production lines where space is limited. It also has batch scanning capabilities, whereby it can store up to 20,000 EAN codes when outside of Bluetooth radio range. A beeper, a green LED, and vibration provide feedback when a code is read. It can withstand 50 drops from a 2 m height, and has an IP 65 rating, making it ideal for heavy-duty warehouse and industrial environments.

Sick RFU630 (UHF) RFID Interrogator: industrial, sophisticated, and flexible

Sick RFU630 (UHF) RFID Interrogator is industrial, sophisticated, and flexible. Courtesy: SickThe new Sick RFU630 Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID read/write unit is a fully integrated proximity interrogator for use with passive transponders in applications with scanning distances of up to 5 m. The RFU630 operates at the industry standard range for long-range UHF applications. FCC approval and CE marking, among other country-specific certifications, make this device applicable around the globe. The RFU630 is an ID Pro compatible product, which provides a common connectivity and programming platform for all three Sick automatic identification technologies: RFID, 1D bar code, and 2D image-based code-readers.

An integrated, industry standard, UHF read/write head includes a sophisticated controller, antenna, and communications protocols in an industrial IP67 housing, which saves space and startup costs.

On-board industrial communications protocols include: Ethernet TCP/IP, EtherNet/IP, and Profinet. RS232, RS422/485, and CANopen also are standard. Furthermore, this product allows connection to expansion modules, enabling integration with Profibus, DeviceNet, and EtherCAT networks. On-board protocols and connectors minimize the number of parts to purchase while maximizing flexibility for plant communications.

  • Reduce MTTR and initial setup time by using parameter cloning via the Micro-SD cloning card or add more digital I/O points and increase your flexibility by using the CMC cloning module.
  • Die-cast, IP67 aluminum housing provides a rugged enclosure and protection. A variety of flexible mounting options are available. In addition, the housing helps to maximize the usable field and directionality.
  • Programmable, multi-color LEDs located in the middle of the antenna face and the audible beeper are useful for quick troubleshooting without the need to carry around a computer in the plant. 

Key applications include:

- Material handling/distribution centers and bin/tote/tray identification and tracking. Mount the RFU in places where a direct line of sight is not possible.

- Warehouse/product storage for storage and product location tracking in real time.

- Automotive: body-ID, parts storage/track-and-trace/paint booth; direct on-metal mounting and high-temperature transponders make the RFU ideal in demanding automotive manufacturing applications.

New Sick PLR Vision System uses 2D Imaging with 3D Cross Triangulation, ideal for robotized de-racking of stamped body parts

New PLR Vision System uses 2D Imaging with 3D Cross Triangulation, ideal for robotized de-racking of stamped body parts. Courtesy: SickThe Sick PLR Vision System was designed for robotized de-racking of stamped body parts. It is a stand-alone system including localization software and tools that make the integration with the robot as easy as using a vision sensor. The vision system combines state-of-the-art 2D imaging with 3D cross triangulation to create a unique solution that ensures reliable operation in varying environments.

The integrated web server user interface and field-proven integration tools support smooth integration into production. The PLR vision system enables new parts to be easily introduced into existing work cells and short part changeover times. Hardware and software are already pre-set for the application. It helps with cost-efficient robot handling of body parts stored in racks. PLR vision system:

  • Provides the flexibility needed for cost-minimized robotized de-racking operations
  • Is a stand-alone system to save costs, without additional hardware needed (PC and electronic cabinet)
  • Enables simple setup of new applications with factory calibration and robot integration tools
  • Is easy for robot integrators to use, with straightforward design, including alignment and robot correction functions
  • Meets tough application requirements with smart combination of 2D/3D image analysis
  • Works from any standard browser with an integrated web server.

Sick Lector620 Image-based Code Reader helps quality control applications

Sick Lector620 Image-based Code Reader helps quality control applications. Courtesy: SickThe Sick Lector620 image-based reader for 1D and 2D codes is ideal for quality control, labeling applications, track and traceability, and more, the company said. It offers intelligent setup and intuitive operation, including teach-in with auto-focus. This allows customers to mount the scanner at any distance from the code and automatically optimize settings for the best possible read. There is no need to use a PC to set up the scanner, greatly reducing setup time. Multiple on-board interfaces, such as Ethernet TCP/IP, CAN, USB, and RS232, ensure flexible use. 

It also comes in a compact, metal housing with an enclosure rating of either IP65 or IP67 for harsh conditions, including dusty and humid environments. Integrated illumination (red, blue, green) provides a solution for high or low contrast codes and a visual indication that the code has been read. The Lector620 series offers real-time decoding of all images, improving decoding performance and enabling fast detection and elimination of reading problems.

Sick Inspector PI50 Vision Sensor with inspection and positioning in one device helps OEMs and vision integrators

Sick Inspector PI50 Vision Sensor has inspection and positioning in one device, to help OEMs and vision integrators. Courtesy: SickThe Sick Inspector PI50 vision sensor for inspection and positioning is ideal for OEMs and vision integrators who have high demands for flexibility and machine integration. With the Inspector PI50, users can easily build their own operator interfaces, as well as operate the vision sensor from any computer or operator panel that contains a standard web browser. Applications include calibrated robot guidance, solar wafer alignment and damage detection, fiducial alignment in electronics, positioning control in commercial goods production, and integrated quality control in packaging machines.

With the integrated web server, any user can simply operate the Inspector PI50 from a computer or operator’s panel that contains a standard web browser. Advanced users can completely build an operator’s interface with the sensor’s powerful and flexible web API.

This API provides commands to design customized functions, such as viewing of images for runtime supervision, configuration handling for product changeover, parameter modification for customized configuration handling, and device and configuration handling for cloning and field exchange tasks.

It contains an expanded toolbox for object location and positioning based on a taught-in pattern, free-form and line/polygon object shapes. In addition to the positioning tools, it provides tools for quality inspection such as blob, pattern, edge, and pixel counting inspection.

The Inspector PI50 supports extended results and control handling over EtherNet/IP and TCP/IP. This enables easy communication with dedicated PLCs, or simply a PC host using value-based results for machine control and customized trend design, image triggering, external teach, and reference object selection for centralized device control and parameter modification for customized configuration handling.

The new calibration feature supports image translations to ensure that results are exactly aligned with the external machine environment. It also provides reliable images even in tight and tilted setups where the image could otherwise be distorted. This makes inspections more consistent as well as producing an easy-to-use mm output.

The PI50 is available in a white or IR ring light option. Both are designed with the easy Sick Flex housing, providing a fast method to exchange lenses, filters, and dome accessory for different optical needs.

Sick manufactures sensors, safety systems, and automatic identification products for industrial applications and has nearly 450 patents. Product line diversity covers the logistics, automotive, packaging, electronics, food and beverage, and material handling markets, the company said. Sick, founded in 1946, has operations or representation in 65 countries worldwide.


- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

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