RFID 101

If putting data into computer databases with little to no human intervention sounds appealing to your company, radio-frequency identification may be for you. Radio-frequency identification, otherwise known as RFID, is a technological tool that reads tags, identifies information about the object the label is attached to, and enters this information into a computer database. This technology is similar to barcoding; however, RFID systems are able to store much more information than traditional barcodes. So how does RFID work? Let’s take a crash course into RFID 101 and find out.

RFID is a system consisting of a RFID tag or smart label, a RFID reader, also called an interrogator, and an antenna. The tag contains a circuit and an antenna, which transfers information to the reader. Once the information is transferred, the reader converts the information to a more usable form of data. This information is then transferred to a computer database with a software.

Now that we know how RFID systems work, let’s talk about why your company would want to implement an RFID system. In the fast-moving consumer goods industry, your company needs to be just that, fast. Many manufacturers need to count products several times during the span of one day. By using an RFID system, these products can be counted in seconds, decreasing the amount of manual work, and in turn, reducing costs. In addition, RFID scanners do not have to be in the line of sight of the tag, and the scanners can also read more than one tag at a time.

As we mentioned, RFID systems are able to contain much more information than a barcode. The system can contain information such as real-time movement of products, amount of time needed for production, and which machines have and haven’t gone under maintenance. Some additional benefits of an RFID system include: accuracy, efficiency, quickening of the manufacturing process, greater visibility, and improved planning.

Although RFID has many pros, it also comes with some cons. Some of these include:

  • The range of the reader can be short
  • Cost of development can be high
  • Incompatible standards across tag type, industries, and different countries

A critical element of the RFID system is the middleware (software) that aggregates, manipulates, and analyzes tag data. Radley can provide the middleware solution, and also help select the best hardware and equipment needed for your system. If you are interested in a RFID Solution, contact a Radley product specialist today.

Written by Radley Corporation