Reed Machinery Inc. in Worcester, MA. developed a Smart Machine Tool System that uses small, glass encapsulated radio frequency identification “tags” like the one in the picture to store and/or report on machine tool life. The data needed to be collected for analysis through the internet.
The special RFID tags are embedded in the steel tooling used in our thread rolling machines. In addition to containing the “ID” of the tooling the tags can be used more proactively.
When the tooling is put in a machine with the system activated, the machine sends a wireless signal to the tiny device in the tooling. The signal has enough radio frequency energy to “boot up” the device and start communication with the machine’s computer.
In use, the machine can tell the operator what tooling is installed and how much wear it has experienced. Like a tiny flash drive, data is stored on the tag. Outside of the machine, the tooling can be interrogated with a small hand-held computer.
The invention is covered by patent number US6947800.
Enginasion developed the reader/writer electronics, internet integration for remote monitoring as well as the RFID read/write antennas for the system.
A sci fi note: These tags can be sterilized and implanted under the skin!