RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags are small electronic devices that can identify and track objects they are attached to through radio waves. The RFID tags contain a microchip and an antenna. These two work together to receive and transmit key information to the RFID reader by using radio frequency waves.
RFID technology has continued to be one of the most innovative ways to use identification systems worldwide. That is why more types of RFID tags are being developed to spread the technology into new fields. We discuss how RFID tags work, the common types available, and how best to use them.
How RFID Tags Work
An RFID tag contains an antenna, a microchip, and a small radio frequency module. The components may change depending on the brand, but these are the main ones. These three combined will make the tag receive and transmit information to the RFID readers.
The RFID tags work based on the electromagnetic induction concept. This is where the RFID tag will receive the signal from the RFID reader. The signal energizes the tag antenna, relaying the information on the memory chip. The reader will receive and verify the information from the tag. An action can be taken based on the received data. An example is opening a barrier if the RFID tag is the key to the room.
Types of RFID Tags
We want to see how the different RIFD tags work and how best they can be utilized. Below are the main RFID tag types you will come across in the market.
1. Passive RFID tags
A passive RFID tag lacks a power source. It relies on the signal transmitted by the reader to power the tag. Such tags are usually cheaper and smaller than active tags. If you have to track small items in the supply chain or retail, they can be a good pick.
The passive RFID tags will also have a shorter reading range than the active tags. The common range for such tags is 10 meters.
2. Active RFID tags
As the name suggests, they are the opposite of passive RFID tags. They would have their own power source. With power onboard, transmitting data signals to an RFID reader is easier.
The power availability improves how far the tags can transmit the information. The typical read range for active RFID tags is 100 meters. Such a range makes the tags ideal for tracking large items, including containers and vehicles.
Adding a power source means more components. Expect such RFID tags to be bigger and more expensive.
3. Semi-passive RFID tags
These can often be confused as active RFID tags because they would have a battery. However, there are some subtle differences. We find that the tag will have a small battery for powering the communication circuitry of the tag and not the transmission. That is the difference.
Because of how it works, we can put it in between the passive and active tags. This type gives you the best of both worlds while remaining less expensive than the active tags.
What Are RFID Tags Used For
The good thing about RFID tags is that they are versatile in terms of how you can use them. Below are some of the notable applications of RFID tags.
1. Inventory management
This is probably the most common use of RFID tags. In this case, the tags will be vital to track the assets and products of a particular company. The company attaches the tags to the products before they can go through different supply chain stages. The managers can see the inventory already sold in real-time, what is in store, or what is being transported.
We can see such an application helping businesses run their operations effectively.
2. Tracking assets
Tracking assets is possible with the use of RFID tags. You can track assets such as tools, vehicles, and equipment. You simply attach the tags to the assets and get real-time information about where they are.
Organizations can easily use such technology to ensure their assets are well utilized. Still, this can reduce theft since the workers know the asset is always tracked.
If you have owned a retail business before, you know it is possible to make losses simply because of poor management. You will improve that by using RFID tags to track your inventory levels. Many business owners have claimed to also prevent theft since the employees know the products are tagged.
Customer experience is also enhanced when you can get real-time information about the products you are selling. You can simply stock more of what the customers want.
The healthcare industry can also benefit from the use of RFID tags. They are mostly used in tracking equipment in a hospital setup. Tracking medical equipment is vital as the doctors can know where it is if they have to use it immediately.
The tags can also be essential for tracking patients and their medication. The patients in the hospital wear RFID bracelets. Some might need assistance moving around, so it is always good to know where they are.
5. Livestock management
It is not new to see that RFID tags are used in managing animals. This is probably the oldest way of tracking animals. Normally, the tags are attached to the ears of the livestock, and they should relay all the key information about the animal. This includes its location, vital signs, and overall health.
With the tags in place, they help the farmer optimize more on feeding, breeding, and proper animal healthcare.
6. Access control
RFID tags are also good access control in many buildings. You could use the tags to control people accessing a restricted zone. The aim is to help organizations handle their security better.
RFID tags are also vital for event access. Let us say it is a concert; you can control the crowd better by using RFID tags. This ensures only those who have paid for the event can access the space.
RFID tags are a common technology you have used without knowing how it works. Right now, you should have an idea of how it is used and the types of RFID tags. We always recommend working with a reputable brand in the sector if you want to access the best RFID tags. These tags can always be reused with proper care and maintenance.