Reliability with predictable reading from all angles and resistance to chemicals are the high points of our new bolt tag. Developed for engine block tracking on assembly line, the reusable X-Bolt tag is a robust tool for any heavy industry manufacturing control.
How it all begun
A customer was having serious reliability issues with their engine block manufacturing control and contacted us for a more reliable solution. It was clear from the beginning that this was to be a high-end tag that would last at least two years of continuous use. With that in mind, we set to work.
An engine block goes through up to 12 different chemicals such as cutting fluids in the manufacturing process. The X-Bolt would have to endure all these chemicals. The bolt itself is made out of coated steel alloy which is relatively immune to just about anything, but the reinforced structure used for potting the electronics had to be thoroughly tested. We soaked the prototypes for weeks in the most commonly used chemicals in machining and cleaning to see how they react.
Confidex X-Bolt™ endures the most commonly used chemicals such as cutting fluids in the manufacturing process.
The challenge with bolt tags is that their orientation may vary from one another when the bolt is tightened. That is why we developed the X-Bolt’s distinctive X-shaped double dipole antenna with 360° circular polarization. This meant the tag could be read at any turn with predictable results.
In a manufacturing line you seldom need extremely long reading distances. What’s more important is constant and predictable performance of the tag. The X-Bolt has a maximum two meter (six and a half feet) reading distance, which is quite respectable for a tag this small. But the main focus was in constant and optimized results from tag to tag, regardless of their orientation.
The customer was pleased with the product development results and started to use the product on their engine blocks. With its M8 thread, high-end materials and small size, X-Bolt can be fitted to almost any metal item. The thread and size of the bolt itself can also be tailored to customer needs.
In many cases, installing an RFID tag requires drilling holes or other extra work. A reusable bolt tag can save a lot of effort – just bolt it on and off. What’s more, a reliable tag renders bar codes or other optical reading methods unnecessary. All this translates to more economical and efficient workflow – the Bolt-on-Automation.
Furthermore, we believe that compact, high performing X-Bolt tag will find multiple use-cases in the world of factory automation and lean manufacturing as a data connection between the net and machine.