About transport trolley tracking using RFID in intralogistics, sensor-based condition monitoring of punching machines and quality and cause research

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Logistics - RFID - Mechanical Engineering - Condition Monitoring - Root Cause Analysis - BALLUFF

Balluff GmbH has been present on the market with industrial automation technology for almost 100 years. With an eye to the future, the portfolio was constantly expanded with innovations such as sensor technology, RFID, image processing, network technology, etc. In the meantime, the company is also increasingly focusing on project business, which is intended to offer customers from different industries holistic solutions.

The current episode covers two individual approaches that Balluff has developed to help well-known customers optimize their internal production processes. In both cases, a key objective was to automate workflows and enable flawless networking of IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operation Technology). For this purpose, RFID and sensor technologies were used and integrated into the existing infrastructure.

Sensor-based monitoring of punching machines

In the production of stamped and bent metal parts, an automotive supplier found significant quality differences in the raw material. To find out what causes the deviations, various parameters were collected and then examined. Existing sensors collected data, which was enriched with additional information about run times and shift schedules. At the beginning, these did not provide any meaningful indications of possible causes, which is why the plant was to be equipped with further sensors. The company received competent support in the implementation from Balluff GmbH.

Since then, special condition monitoring sensors have been continuously measuring ambient temperature and the vibrations on the infeed belt in order to evaluate reasons for the differences in quality. The collected data is forwarded to the IT level using the transmission protocol IO-Link. These are visualized together with further information from existing systems (MES, ERP, QA) and stored in a long-term archive. Temperature deviations and faults can thus be detected in time and employees can intervene at an early stage if necessary.

Tracking of transport trolleys in production

RUCH NOVAPLAST, a manufacturer of molded foam parts, recognized a major weak point in its own manufacturing process and therefore turned to Balluff GmbH. In the past, manual and inaccurate data recording often resulted in empty runs and backlogs. To make the process more efficient, both the transport trolleys and production stations were equipped with RFID transponders or read devices. Thus, relevant location data of the required materials could be collected. With the help of middleware, the collected information is time-stamped, forwarded to an in-house industrial PC and centrally managed there.

This means that production-relevant data is used to automate and optimize the individual work steps. Operators of the production machines follow the individual work steps on a display. The location, condition and order assignment of the transport trolleys are displayed to them, thus avoiding empty operation and backlogs. This also reduces the amount of training required for new employees and makes it much easier to adapt and expand processes. In addition, important KPIs are generated which are used by the management for further analyses.

At the end of the episode, practical tips are discussed that enable a holistic approach to digitizing production operations. This includes a concretely defined digitization budget that allows long-term added value to be created across different levels of the company.

Balluff quality is particularly characterized by multiple award-winning and certified standards, as well as a high level of commitment and competence – thus the company even exceeds applicable standards. The leading provider of high-quality sensor, identification and image processing solutions is convinced that the assets and solution approaches it offers are the right path to a networked and digitized future.

Interview partner


Melanie Mezger
Head of Digitalization and IIoT

Adrian Trabold
Head of Sales Customer Projects

Balluff is a leading supplier of high-quality sensor, identification and image processing solutions including network technology and software for all automation requirements. We deliver top performance for innovative solutions that improve your competitiveness. Through a consistent digital orientation of our company, the competence of a manufacturer and high personal commitment. We call it the Balluff quality. A high standard, which has been awarded many times and confirmed by certificates. And even exceeds current standards. From the automotive industry to the energy sector and the packaging industry, we are at home in many sectors. As a future-oriented company, we not only focus on the classic automation areas, but are also dedicated to the development of holistic applications for an increasingly digital and networked world.

Contact us now | Find pilot projects | Promote use cases

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit
Digital Business Development | IIoT

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Ing. Madeleine Mickeleit

Host & General Manager
IoT Use Case Podcast