Partly because of
large retailers who want to manage the supply chain more efficiently, the
requirements for Auto-ID solutions have been altered lately. As a result there
is more awareness on the technical limitations of barcoding, which RFID (Radio
Frequency Identification) doesn't have.
With RFID technology, goods can be tracked through the whole supply chain, because they are equipped with little transponders or tags that communicate with RFID readers. Those RFID readers can identify the product using a transponder/tag and also read the product information. The most important advantage of RFID tracking compared to barcoding is that there is no need for a line of sight between barcode and scanner. With RFID-tags it is possible to scan multiple pallets and boxes simultaneously, even on product level. With barcoding it is necessary to scan each item individually, which requires more time and a specific positioning of labels. RFID tracking has a big impact on the whole supply chain: all the information you need on your stock is available in real time at justifiable costs.
PHI DATA has RFID solutions based on 5 frequency ranges: 125KHz, 134KHz, 13,56MHz, 868MHz and 2,4GHz. Every radio frequency has it's own characteristics and application. In general, the lower the frequency the shorter the reading range and the higher the frequency, the larger the reading range. With 125KHz, reading in open air is possible over a few centimeter. 2,4GHz is needed to read over hundreds over meters.
A wide range of RFID applications is possible: access control, tracking & tracing of containers, identification of persons and animals, file management, sorting of luggage and localizing material on large terrains. RFID can help the end user with applications that are not, or only to a certain extent, possible with barcodes.
The choice of the type of RFID tag depends on the application. An active RFID tag has a battery that gives extra energy and thus makes it possible to reach greater distances. Therefore they are often being used as beacon in a RTLS (Real Time Location System) solution. Passive RFID tags have no battery and get the energy they need from the reader, when the tag is in within range. Semi-passive RFID tags have a battery that is only used if the tag comes within proximity of an RFID reader. These tags are mostly used for tracking of goods with a relatively high value.
Every RFID solution needs a thorough assessment to start with, resulting in a sound advice, implementation and servicing of the live application. Because of our experience with Auto-ID and RFID, we have the knowledge to support RFID routes from start to finish.