Making the Switch: Barcodes to RFID

Intermec IF4There’s always some discussion as to whether or not RFID technology will replace barcodes. While I don’t think this will happen any time soon, it is interesting to see how some businesses make the switch. At the University of Florida (UF) Animal Care Services department, they recently upgraded from handheld barcode scanners to RFID technology, and here’s how:

The UF Animal Care Services department houses approximate 35,000 mice and 3,000 rats in over 11,000 cages. In order to complete rodent census reports and compose invoices, barcode scanners were used to read the barcode printed on an index card that was affixed to each cage, making it a timely endeavor to scan each and every cage. Not only was this way inefficient, but also prone to inaccuracies.

The department knew that they needed to optimize their processes and increase their efficiency and accuracy, but wasn’t sure how.

After doing some research, they discovered RFID technology from Intermec. The solution involved UHF Generation 2 RFID tags affixed to each cage and Intermec UHF readers in order to provide rapid and accurate tracking of each cage in real time.

Rather than going around and scanning each individual barcode, employees can simply roll a mobile RFID cart through the rooms. With the Intermec IF4 reader, power supply, and a WiFi connected laptop running a software application, real-time data was able to be collected for each and every cage in all of the rooms.

Since the UF department upgraded from a barcoding system to an RFID solution, they have enjoyed a great ROI, with a tremendous amount of savings in labor and improved employee morale.

While barcoding is an efficient way of automated data collection, RFID technology proved to me more efficient in this scenario. If you’re interested in upgrading your current barcode system to an RFID solution, you can find out more information here.