RFID Tag Technology Explained

RFID Tag Technology Explained

RFID tags can help keep track of tools and equipment used by technicians. The technology can prevent the misplacement of a service kit or tool during a work order and save a facility time and money.

The IC inside an RFID tag uses electromagnetic energy from the reader/antenna to transmit information. Passive tags are the most common and cost around a dime each, while active tags use a battery for real-time tracking or other applications.

Radio Frequency Identification

RFID technology involves small electronic devices containing microchips with data stored on them. These are called tags and can be either passive, meaning they do not emit their own electricity and need to be activated by a radio-frequency signal from the reader (or interrogator), or active, with their own power source (batteries or other stored energy). The chips can transmit sensor data wirelessly to a receiver or reader.

In healthcare, this helps to automate tasks, improve productivity and quality of work, reduce costs and increase patient safety. It also increases the ability to track items, which in turn allows for better inventory management and security.

For example, correctional facilities use an RFID system to track inmates and officers. Transmitters worn by inmates and staff send unique radio signals every 2 seconds, which are used to pinpoint the wearer’s location within the facility. This data is then sent to a central computer for analysis and monitoring.

RFID can also be used to provide secure access control. Tiny RFID tags can be added to people’s ID cards to prevent them from being stolen or used for unauthorized access to restricted areas, such as those of banks, credit card firms and insurance companies. In addition, RFID systems can be used to track animal movements and help combat counterfeit products by adding an electronic marker to the product.

RFID Readers

The brain of the RFID system, an RFID reader emits radio frequency waves that reach the tags to activate them. These activated tags then transmit back the information they contain, and this data is sent to the reader via an antenna. This information is then transformed into useful data that can be integrated into your existing database, ERP, or other business systems.

The unique identifier stored within each RFID tag allows two physically identical items to be distinguished. This feature is especially helpful for inventory management processes, such as cycle counts. Using an RFID system with long-range readers, these inventory processes can be completed more quickly and more accurately compared to traditional processes. Likewise, reordering at safety stock levels can be automated by setting rules that trigger when an inventory is below a set threshold.

RFID readers can also scan items outside of line of sight and at distances of up to 30+ meters. This can be beneficial for retail stores that want to track employee or shoplifting activities. RFID readers can provide real-time, RFID mifare desfire ev1 Tag accurate data on product availability in the store, as well as the location of high-traffic end caps and pinch points.

When choosing an RFID reader, consider factors such as the length of read range you need and any environmental conditions to consider – such as extreme heat, cold, moisture, or impact. The type of RFID antenna you choose is also important. The polarity of the antenna must match the polarity of the RFID tag to achieve optimal read range.

RFID Inlays

The microchip in an RFID tag is a complex device that has four memory banks – EPC, TID, User and Reserved. Two of these – the EPC and User – can be programmed with unique information for each item or tag that is tracked. The TID and Reserved banks are for special operations that cannot be programmed.

The IC, the chip that is responsible for data storage, handling and processing, and the antenna – that receives radio waves from an interrogator – are all encased in a substrate made of paper or plastic, or a clear/white face. Wet inlays have the IC and antenna bonded to a pressure-sensitive liner and are often called smart labels, and dry inlays have the IC and antenna encapsulated in a case and delivered in roll form. The substrate and face can be backed with adhesives to create finished tags such as hang tags, label or badge tags.

As tagged cartons and pallets move through the supply chain, they interact with readers mounted in various locations. A variety of environmental factors – such as carton contents, position to the reader antenna and metal interference – can affect read ranges. To ensure reliable performance, RFID printers and applicators must be able to encode, verify and print the IC inlay while maintaining production speeds of at least one carton per minute.

RFID Labels

RFID tags are applied to products and packages to identify them with an electronic signal. They’re often used in conjunction with barcodes to automate data capture, reduce human error and improve productivity.

An RFID tag consists of an integrated circuit and an antenna. The integrated circuit is designed to transmit a read signal to an RFID reader (also known as an interrogator), which converts the radio waves into usable information. The antenna is designed to receive the reflected or transmitted signals from the RFID reader.

There are different types of RFID tags based on the type of frequency and application. For example, passive RFID tags are small, low-cost and can last for a lifetime, while active RFID tags are larger and more rugged with longer range capabilities. Some tags have sensors that enable them to monitor environmental conditions, such as temperature.

Many retailers use RFID technology to track inventory throughout the supply chain, from warehouse shelves down to the sales floor. This helps minimize out-of-stock situations, gives customers visibility to products and allows staff to focus on other duties instead of manually counting items.

For example, clothing wholesaler Advanced Apparel uses RFID to automatically sync inventory between its warehouse and stores. This also simplifies the process of fulfilling orders for online and in-store pickups, as well as returns or exchanges.