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Tool Identification

Turck's BL ident RFID system enables the electrode cap tip dressers of AEG SVS Schweisstechnik to reliably detect the correct cutting head for the electrode cap

 As specialists for welding system accessories, AEG SVS Schweisstechnik from Mülheim primarily produces electrode caps, electrode cap tip dressers and the associated cutting heads. In order to ensure that the correct cutting heads are used for the corresponding welding cap geometry, the company searched for a reliable identification solution, which Andres Bäker developed with two students as part of the final project work of their engineering course – with excellent support from Turck.

  • The yellow read/write head reads the tag in the cutting head during rotation

  • The integrated compact tag could be well protected in the cutting head

  • RFID-based cutting head monitoring system for electrode cap tip dressers

Challenging cutter identification

AEG SVS Schweisstechnik produces electrode cap tip dressers as well as electrode caps and around 200 different cutting heads. If a dresser is fitted with the wrong cutting head, this can lead to critical faults in the production process.

As the cutting heads are very difficult to identify visually, AEG Schweisstechnik in 2010 looked for a method of automating the identification process. The aim was also to create a test application in order to determine the optimum settings for the cutting parameters for speed, number of cutting strokes and pressure. The company approached the Mönchengladbach College for Technology and Media with these questions. Andres Bäker, who at that time was completing the last stages of his engineering studies, was keen to take on the challenge together with two fellow students as a final course project.

Support from Turck

Supported by Turck, the budding engineers used the BL ident RFID system to develop a solution that detects the cutting head during fitting. A read/write head with an 18 millimeter diameter is fitted diagonally above the cutting head. It does not prevent the cutting process and is nevertheless close enough to the tag to ensure identification in spite of the fast rotation. The engineers have integrated the tag directly in the cutting head.

The read/write head is connected to a BL ident I/O slice module on Turck's BL20 I/O system. The Codesys-programmable BL20 gateway implements the control of the entire application. In addition to identification tasks, the engineers also developed a solution for detecting the speed and rotation direction of the cutting head. For this, they fitted two inductive sensors in the swarf extraction system, which detect two recesses in the cutting head. An appropriate control logic is used to determine the rotation direction and the speed of the cutting head from the switch pulse of the rotating disc. If the incorrect cutting head is fitted, a yellow LED signal is output and the plant is prevented from starting up.

The test plant can display all cutting parameters via the Codesys user interface: speed, pressure and number of cutting strokes can be defined individually via the controller in order to test the optimum configuration for cutting on different caps. “The result of the engineering study project is more than satisfactory for us since we can include the RFID solution directly in our product portfolio nearly without any additional requirements,” Jürgen Rosendahl, product manager at AEG SVS Schweisstechnik, explains. “The engineering study was always of a high technical standard. I also found the collaboration with Turck to be very productive since they took the prospective engineers under their wing and left none of the students' questions unanswered.”

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