"Energy self-sufficient RFID sensor systems for Industry 4.0"

The Cool Silicon e. V. has successfully applied for an KMU-NetC ( "promotion of SME-centered, strategic R & D networks in networks and clusters") - funding of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project "Cool-RFID" startsd on January 1st., 2018.


In order to tap into new market potential, SMEs are particularly challenged to renew their processes, products and services as well as their business models. Such innovative strengths reach SMEs primarily in the network, for example in networks and clusters. The "KMU-NetC" funding measure promotes ambitious research, development and innovation networks through networks and clusters with significant participation by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The collaborations address the needs of SMEs and the innovation strategies or technology roadmaps of networks and clusters. "KMU-NetC" is part of the concept "Think Small First - The Ten-Point Program of the BMBF for more Innovation in SMEs".

With this concept, embedded in the "new high-tech strategy of the Federal Government - Innovations for Germany", the BMBF promotes new ideas, new applications and new business models and promotes the widespread dissemination and use of research results and model solutions among SMEs.

Goals and approach

In the course of "Industry 4.0" there is a growing demand for sensors that make a wide variety of measured variables (temperature, acceleration, humidity, etc.) available in an energy-saving and non-contact manner during production and when transferring products.

The aim of the Cool-RFID project is to develop a holistic system solution that allows passive, ie without additional battery, RFID components to detect not only product identifiers but also states. For this purpose, specially developed RFID transponders are coupled with sensors (RFID sensor tags), so that the condition of the sensors can be read out wirelessly with RFID readers. Sensors may be, for example, temperature sensors, so that temperatures can be tracked during a production process, or limit sensors that change their state in a single limit exceeded, so that can be automatically controlled at a goods receipt, whether in the life cycle of the goods has exceeded the limit (eg Interruption of the cold chain during food transport or exposure to moisture in electronics articles).

The tasks in this project include the development of the corresponding sensors (TU Dresden), the development of the special RFID chips (Fraunhofer IPMS), the production of RFID transponders (GERA-IDENT), the development and adaptation of RFID readers for Recording and processing of the sensor data (metraTec) and the creation of a software-based system solution with which the received data can be integrated into an automatic process and storage solution (Dresden Informatik). 

Cluster or network integration

The comprehensive approach of the project connects members from the RFID network of the Silicon Saxony cluster with the leading-edge cluster Cool Silicon. The Cool Silicon Cluster was launched in 2009 as part of the BMBF's Leading-Edge Cluster Competition and has set itself the goal of substantially increasing energy efficiency in information and communication technology. The focus of the collaborative project on passive RFID technology originally includes the claim of Cool Silicon eV to promote highly efficient technologies and to support their development.

Perspective on Innovation

The RFID components to be developed represent a novel solution for monitoring the production process and the logistics chain. The combined RFID sensor TAGs are designed from the outset in such a way that they can be manufactured by cost-effective industrial processes, so that in the future a low-cost mass production for one large market.

This involves fundamental scientific work on the development of sensor components and in the field of passive RFID tags, which must also supply the sensor electronics with the radiant energy of the read-out device. These findings and developed approaches can also be used in other energy-efficient applications.

An essential part of the project will be the development of a standardization proposal, so that in the future the use of other sensors and RFID readers is possible without far-reaching adjustments. The system solutions to be developed for the integration of measurement data into automated process and warehousing management will lead beyond the project framework to Event Driven Architecture (EDA) concepts, with which information processing and alarm generation during production and warehousing can be managed in real time.

Key Facts