What Is RFID?
RFID - Radio Frequency Identification is a technology that utilizes radio waves to obtain location information about a physical entity. The entity could be a work-in-process, a piece of equipment, a retail product, or even a person.
Basic components of an RFID System:
- RFID Tag - This is a component that is attached to the physical entity which is the object of focus. The Tag contains circuitry inside it which is capable of storing bits of information. Tags are available in a variety of shapes and sizes like labels, rings, key chains and cards, and are broadly classified into:
- Active - Tags which are capable of generating radio waves on their own with the help of a battery or power source. The read range of these tags are higher.
- Passive - Tags which cannot generate radio waves on their own due to the lack of a power source. The read ranges for these tags are lower.
- Semi-Passive - These tags use an internal power source to run the circuitry, but do not generate radio waves by themselves. Their read ranges are generally longer than those of passive tags, but less than active ones. When the battery runs out, these will become passive.
Why RFID?RFID systems present several advantages over barcode tracking systems:
- RFID does not need any line of sight reading. Besides time-saving during reading process, they do not always need to be located on the outside of a component to be read accurately
- Multiple RFID tags can be read at a single instant, as against barcodes which can only be read one at a time
- RFID tags can be read from much larger distances than printed barcodes
- During a read, an RFID tag, based on its design, can acquire more information than it already contains while a barcode needs to be re-printed
RFID technology also offers unique benefits such as:
- End-to-end visibility of a process with minimal human intervention
- Modern technology allows certain RFID tags to withstand severe operating conditions such as high temperature and humidity
- RFID tags can be de-activated at any stage to secure confidential information