For a faster and more detailed inventory, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology is THE solution. It could eventually replace the old barcode. But be careful: choosing the right RFID device is not so simple, and you have to manage the reading distance well while maintaining the maximum power of the antenna. The result : a real gain in time to devote to value-added tasks.
What is RFID ?
UHF RFID* is a long-range radio frequency identification system that requires no physical or visual contact. It allows an object or person to be uniquely identified, such as a fingerprint.
Consisting of an antenna, the RFID tag sends back a wave that can be remotely detected by a reader as soon as it is in its electromagnetic field. Thus, it can be read regardless of its position or situation. It is the size of the antenna coupled with the power of the terminal that determines the reading distance.
* Radio Frequency Identification : identification by radio frequency and Ultra High Frequency.
Evaluate the correct reading distance of RFID tags and identify obstacles
The power of the antenna (between 500 mW and 1000 mW), allows to read an RFID tag at a distance that can be modulated. Part of the RFID problem is based on managing this good distance, in order not to risk inventorying beyond a given area and while maintaining maximum power (which in Europe must not exceed one watt for regulatory reasons).
To do this, it is essential to make a very precise analysis of the areas where RFID tags are positioned on objects: tests are established to calculate the most appropriate distances and analyze how this technology will be integrated.
Reading is an essential step. In a company, there are many potential electronic obstacles. The electromagnetic field emitted by devices such as computers, smartphones or various sensors can interfere with the signals emitted by the RFID tag. It is important to know all these signals before installing such solutions, and to keep a constant watch on technological advances.
Until four years ago, RFID tags could measure up to two centimeters thick. Today, they are barely three millimetres thick, which is still thick at the time of miniaturization, but progress is evident. For example, there are systems in the form of weaving yarns for clothing. In the world of metrology, there are specific RFID tags made of five millimeter ceramic. On metal objects, radio waves can easily "bounce", so it is important to position the RFID tags correctly.
In the end, although the shape, size and materials used adapt to many environments (industrial, tertiary, medical, hotel, luxury, art, etc.), it is still essential to conduct a situational analysis in the field to know the real needs and anticipate any implementation difficulties.
Choosing the right tag and the right reading distance is always a field issue.