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Hopefully this isn't too broad of a question, I will narrow it down the best I can.

We need to add RFID tags to feeders on our pick and place machine, to determine that they are loaded into the correct position on the machine itself. Other than having a reader for every single slot, that only reads a single feeders RFID tag, what are my options?

I could have a single reader with longer range, but since the tags we will use will be passive, location tracking will not be overly accurate. I looked into phased array antennas, but they seem still experimental..

If we used a single RFID reader for each feeder slot, that would require over 100 readers..

I'm open to other technologies other than RFID, but I presume that it is the obvious choice.

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    \$\begingroup\$ have you thought of using barcode readers? \$\endgroup\$ – jsotola Nov 28 '19 at 2:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ maybe the pick and place head can carry a sensor along the line of feeders to identify them. if it already has a camera QR codes might be an easier solution. \$\endgroup\$ – Jasen Nov 28 '19 at 7:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jsotola Yes, that has been our original idea. But it either requires a operator to manually scan, or a upwards facing camera. The former still has operator error and the latter isn't overly elegant, and can have missreads \$\endgroup\$ – Kyle Hunter Nov 28 '19 at 11:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jasen Another idea we had, but unfortunately we can't adjust the software in the pick and place at all, so I don't know what procedure we could have it do to check all parts. And it has 8 heads, so it doesn't always go to the exact same spot to pick \$\endgroup\$ – Kyle Hunter Nov 28 '19 at 11:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ you could use a scanner module in a similar way as an rfid module .... no human operator required \$\endgroup\$ – jsotola Nov 28 '19 at 15:27
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http://www.circuitnet.com/experts/39998.html juki uses an array of antennas (presumably one per slot) perhaps wired in a matrix like this.

the antennas could perhaops be drum inductors (they's haver to be something with a small field so as to be sufficiently selective to only see one tag)

schematic

simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

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