What Is RFID?
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects.
A tag can be read from a distance and does not need to be within direct line-of-sight of the reader to be detected.
Introduction to RFID
RFID belongs to a group of technologies referred to as Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC).
AIDC methods automatically identify objects, collect data about them, and enter those data directly into computer systems with little or no human intervention as they use radio waves to communicate.
How Does RFID Work?
A RFID System has 3 parts that allow it to function. A Scanning Antenna, a Transceiver with a decoder to interpret the data inside and a Transponder (RFID Tag) that contains programmed information which can be read.
The tags contain electronically stored information. The reader then converts the radio waves from a nearby RFID reader to a more usable form of data.
What are the Benefits for RFID?
There are many benefits that can be achieved implementing RFID solutions. It has broad range of application that can many industries can utilise. Here are some points about the benefits of RFID solutions:
Reduce warehouse and distribution labor costs
Improve Inventory Counts
Application for RFID
There are many applications for RFID, it can be used to track inventory where today?s demand for faster supply chain management can greatly affect a revenue. This eliminates conventional manual based systems where it is too labour intensive, time consuming and prone to human-error.
For big events such as trade shows, conferences or other large gathering, RFID tags can be used as visitor pass to allow a variety of features. An example of possible applications available is using RFID tags to make purchases during the event, this decrease queue time as visitors just need to tap to complete the payment.
Types of RFID Tags
- Smaller, less expensive, and more flexible than active tags.
- This means they can be attached or even embedded on a wider variety of objects.
- Used for item-level tracking of consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.
- Does not require a power source to function.
- Have their own transmitter and power source (usually a battery) onboard the tag.
- These are mostly UHF solutions, and read ranges can extend up to 100 m in some instances.
- Active tags are usually larger and more expensive than their passive counterparts and are used to track large assets such as cargo or vehicles.
- Incorporate a power source into a passive tag configuration.
- The power source helps ensure that all of the captured energy from the reader can be used to reflect the signal which improves read distance and data transfer rates.
- Unlike active RFID transponders, semi-passive tags do not have their own transmitters.
RFID tags can be grouped into three categories based on the range of frequencies they use to communicate.
Low Frequency (LF) RFID
- Operates in the 30 KHz to 300 KHz range, and have a read range of up to 10 cm.
- While they have a shorter range and slower data read rate, they perform better in the presence of metal or liquids.
- LF tags are used in access control, livestock tracking, and other applications where a short read range is acceptable.
High Frequency (HF) RFID
- Operates in the 3 MHz to 30 MHz range and provide reading distances of 10 cm to 1 m.
- Common applications include electronic ticketing and payment and data transfer.
- Based on HF RFID, NFC technology has been used for payment cards and hotel key card applications.
Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) RFID
- Operates in the 300 MHz and 3 GHz range, offer read ranges up to 12 m and have faster data transfer rates.
- However, this makes them much more sensitive to interference but new design innovations have helped mitigate some of these problems.
- UHF tags are much cheaper to manufacture.
- Thus, used in retail inventory tracking, pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting, and other applications where large volumes of tags are required.
If you require further insight on RFID technology, these infographics contain illustrations about the benefits and applications for RFID Technology.
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