RFID tags are small electronic devices with information stored in a microchip. They harvest energy from radio waves emitted by an RFID reader, and can be passive or battery-assisted.
They can be scanned hundreds of times per second, directly impacting productivity and efficiency in the workplace.
They can also be attached to physical money and possessions, or implanted in animals and people. This raises privacy concerns about the potential for information theft.
RF technology uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags that contain electronically stored information. Tags come in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs to suit specific applications. They are classified into four categories based on how they obtain power, their frequency of operation, and the functionalities implemented in them.
Passive RFID tags do not have a battery and are powered by absorbing electromagnetic energy from the interrogating RFID reader’s electromagnetic field through its antenna. The energy is passed to the integrated circuit (IC) on the tag, which modulates it with the information stored in its memory bank and sends it back out through the antenna.
Active RFID tags have a built-in transmitter and their own power source, usually a battery. They broadcast signals on a continuous basis to readers RFID Tag and provide real-time locating services. This capability makes them ideal for use in high-value goods that require monitoring at all times, or when a more extensive scanning range is needed such as within large container yards.
In order for a RFID system to function properly, all components must be compatible with each other. The IC of the RFID tag must be programmed with the right frequency to work with the specific reader used and the RF signals must be tuned and matched to ensure proper communication between the two. This includes verifying that the RFID reader has the correct carrier frequencies and encryption settings, if applicable.
Unlike active tags that use batteries, passive RFID tag antennas harvest incident radio frequency energy from the reader antenna and convert it into internal power to operate. When the reader antenna transmits a signal to a passive RFID tag, the signal energy runs through the antenna into the chip and is modulated with the desired information. The chip then transmits the modulated signal back toward the antenna/reader combination via the antenna.
The tag’s low cost and simple design make it popular for many applications, including retail inventory control, manufacturing operations, and supply chain management. In addition, RFID can eliminate manual scanning and recording of items, increasing productivity and reducing error rates. It can also help provide individual product traceability by enabling each item to be identified and tracked throughout the production process.
The technology is also used for secure access in vehicle logistics, industrial operations and even for building security. Combi cards combine both long-range RFID and proximity or smart card technology into a single unit, making them ideal for vehicle and door access control. A combination of RFID and NFC is also available for contactless payment applications, allowing users to pay with their smartphones. The data captured from RFID scans can then be processed by a connected computer, leveraging AI to automate tasks. It can also be used to enhance business analytics and improve customer experiences.
The transmitter is the component that transmits the RF signal to the tag. It can be integrated into the antenna or a separate component that sends and receives signals to and from the tag. The transmitter is also responsible for determining the polarity of the signal to be transmitted. The polarity determines the direction the RF signal travels and the range of the tag.
The more polarized the polarity of the antenna and transmitter, the shorter the range of the tag. This is due to the physics of how the RF signal travels. The polarity must be matched for optimal performance.
Active RFID tags have an onboard battery and a transmitter that enables them to communicate with readers over long distances. They can be used for inventory control, tracking inventory on a conveyor belt, and other applications that require high rates of read-and-write operations.
This technology is much more efficient than traditional methods of inventory management. With the help of an RFID system, employees can quickly and accurately identify the location of assets in a warehouse. It can also enable them to take action in cases where the assets are not where they should be. For example, if an employee finds that equipment is not being properly serviced, they can scan it to get critical maintenance information.
The RFID reader or interrogator receives the transmission from the antenna of the tag and converts it to digital data. It may then send the information to a database for analysis. RFID readers can be fixed in specific locations or mobile so they can be carried around, like handhelds or in-store scanners.
The simplest tags, known as passive inlays, have no battery and instead harvest incident radio frequency energy that strikes the tag and its antenna, which it converts to power for itself. This type of tag is usually the least expensive and is a thin, sticky label that can be used on different materials.
Active RFID tags, which do have a battery, are more costly but also provide better performance in some applications, such as for example in harsh environments. They mifare desfire ev1 also have the ability to store more data than simple passive inlays.
All of the information stored in an RFID tag can be managed remotely, improving omnichannel inventory control. The technology can give retailers the visibility they need to ensure that all orders are fulfilled in a timely manner and that no product is lost in transit. It can also help to improve the customer experience by providing detailed, accurate product descriptions that are more helpful than the generic barcodes that are typically found on products.