R.F.I.D. (RF Identification)
Radio Frequency Identification is a form of contact-less Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) technology.
R.F.I.D. is often mistaken as a single, simple technology, however it is actually a general classification for some very different technologies that have one main attribute in common………..transmission of data using radio waves.
Apart from a few exceptions, R.F.I.D. Solutions always require engineering effort to ensure optimal performance and reliability.
By implication this means that while R.F.I.D. components may be considered ‘off-the-shelf’, solutions that work are considerably more complex.
This typically adds an extra 20% to 50% cost in addition to the component costs.
R.F.I.D. was originally developed for specialized asset tracking and access control applications (known as “closed” systems) and now in conjunction with the development of international standards, is being implemented in Supply Chain Logistics applications (known as “open” systems) to replace &/or co-exist with barcodes.
Like barcodes, R.F.I.D. is best suited to applications where tag “reading” conditions are very predictable & repeatable, however unlike barcodes, R.F.I.D. is ideal for fully automated data capture.
R.F.I.D. is also better than barcodes for non “line of sight” tag reading, however as metals & liquids have both positive & negative effects on radio waves, specialist advice & design is a crucial factor in ensuring a reliable system is implemented.
In recent years there has been significant increase in choice and capability of UHF tags, readers and associated items so this has become the clear
choice for most asset solutions.
There are 2 distinctly different methods of capturing data from RFID tags: Fixed RFID and Mobile RFID.
Fixed RFID typically refers to where tagged items are “scanned” or read when moved past a fixed reading point or through a fixed reading portal that is directly connected to a computer or via a network.
The tag data is processed by RFID “middleware” software which can be integrated with a spreadsheet or database.
Mobile RFID typically refers to where tagged items are stationary and the hand-held reader is moved around to scan the tags in range.
The tag data is processed by RFID software on the hand-held which can be integrated with a spreadsheet or database.
The most common transactions where RFID is used and the methods adopted are:
– check-in / check-out [Fixed RFID]
– audit or stock take [Mobile RFID]
– locate or find [Mobile RFID]
– track and monitor [Fixed RFID]
Passive UHF RFID tags suitable for assets that are issued from a store (e.g. power tools) are typically very durable, small in size and have “real world” read ranges of somewhere between 0.5m – 3.0m
The actual read range depends on many factors including:
– Tag (antenna) size
– Tag orientation
– Tags proximity to metal and other “shielding’ materials (often other tagged items)
– Reader type, power, orientation
Like everything technology based there are always exceptions and so it is always best to discuss your application with us so that we can advise you on the best solution.