Components of RFID Tag: Understand the RFID Tags Building Blocks
RFID remains a top technology for us to do a lot of things in various work environments. We have seen it being an important tool in applications such as improving supply chains and maintaining contactless payments. We find it a great tool for many industries.
As part of owning an RFID system, there are several things you have to put in place to make it complete. This includes the RFID readers, tags, software, and other additional components. Here, we want to focus more on the RFID tags to have a better understanding of how they work and what makes them good for various uses.
Types and Functions of RFID Tags
RFID tags are basically what carry the unique identification information. This is what you present to the reader for scanning and approval. Such a key component needs to be good at its job to ensure the best performance.
You are likely to come across a few types of RFID tags in the market. They include;
These are the most common options you will get on the market if you are seeking affordable but still efficient tags. What makes them different from the others is that they have no power source. They rely on the electromagnetic waves from the reader for activation.
These RFID tags are suitable for short-range applications. Examples include tracking inventory and improving access control.
– Active RFID Tags
The active RFID tags work the same way as the passive RFID tags only that they come with an internal power source. This means they are always ON and ready to transmit data to the RFID reader.
You will find them ideal for long-range read applications and continuous communication. As such, you should be able to easily use them in case you have a demand for it.
Expect these RFID tags to have several functions. We will mention them briefly below;
- Identification and tracking
- Authentication and access control
- Supply chain management
- Contactless payments
- Healthcare etc.
Core Components of RFID Tag Structure
Even the simplest type of RFID tag will have some key components that make it work properly. Below are some of the core components of the RFID tag and how they make the tag work effectively.
1. RFID Chip
As part of the RFID tag structure, we have the chip. This is what you can call the brains of the operation. The chip’s function is to store and process the data requests from the RFID reader. Each time the request is done, the chip goes through the information stored on it and relays that information back to the reader.
The chips are categorized based on the frequency bands, but there can be other categorization options. In terms of frequency, we have low-frequency, high-frequency, and ultra-high-frequency chips.
You may find the manufacturer also categorizing the chips based on the architecture, but eventually, the frequency bands are a key consideration when buying RFID tags.
The work of the antenna is to capture and transmit energy from the reader to the chip. Without the antenna, the chip cannot communicate with the reader. Once the information has been identified, the chip relays this information via the antenna back to the RFID reader.
Serving as the communication link is quite important to ensure you get the best communication between the chip and the reader.
You will come across various antenna designs when seeking to buy RFID tags. Common examples are coil or spiral antennas, dipole antennas etc. This is vital to ensure the best results all the time.
3. Substrate or Base Material
The NFC tag structure is the same as the RFID tag whereby you still need the substrate RFID tag material to provide structural supports. The other components on their own are very delicate. So, you need a material to mount them and provide the extra support and protection they need to function correctly.
The common materials used as the substrate include paper, plastic, and polyester. The paper material is liked because it is cost-effective and lightweight. You may find it a good deal for disposable applications.
If you need more durability, then go for plastic. It is able to resist environmental factors better. As for polyester, it is good to provide you with more flexibility for performance over irregular surfaces.
4. Encapsulation or housing
Still on what are RFID tags made of, we have the encapsulation material. This is basically the housing that adds more protection to the delicate components. Its work is to shield the RFID chip and antenna from dust, moisture, and physical damage. You can also expect an extended lifespan of the tag even if you use it in harsh environments.
The commonly used materials as housing include plastic resins such as PET and ABS. You can also get other options, such as epoxy resin that provides a protective coating for those harsher conditions.
Pros and Cons of RFID Tags
There are some pros and cons associated with RFID tags. These can guide you to see if choosing the RFID tags will work for you. Let us learn more about them.
- The RFID tags generally enhance efficiency and automation. You can easily use the tags to improve how you run your store. This eliminates human error and reduces manual labor, especially in the supply chain.
- You can also have better tracking capabilities. Each item is scanned at the store so that you know where it is. The same can be used to track assets and individuals too.
- Of course, you also get better data accuracy. The tags minimize the chances of introducing errors into your database ensuring you get the best results always.
- The data transfer speed also helps with the RFID reader communication. That is why you need to ensure the RFID tag is the right one for the application to get the best data transfer speeds.
- Since the tags can be used for access control, you can find that they enhance security. Only those with authorized tags can get past a certain checkpoint.
- The good thing about these tags is that they can work for various industries. This includes retail, healthcare, and so much more. This just shows how good they are at their adaptability.
- There can be significant cost of implementing the full RFID systems but this evens out with time.
- Some tags might be easier to manipulate, so make sure you get yours from a reliable supplier with good security features.
The RFID card antenna, chip, substrate, and housing materials are the key components of the RFID tags. Their functionalities are what makes them great for anyone looking to use RFID cards more often. It is then important to always consider understanding what the tag is made of to know if the tag is good for you. Of course, practicing maintenance activities should leave you with the best tags on overall.