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RFID technology is once again on the forefront of operational discussions. Before you react to all the headlines, though, it’s wise to consult with experts who’ve “been there” before.
Barcoding has helped more than 200 companies implement successful projects. With a combined 40 years with the technology, our team knows when IoT and RFID can be effective and, more importantly, when it won’t be a productive endeavor. If it turns out RFID isn’t the best solution for you, we’ll tell you and make recommendations for one that’s better. We will not sell you technology you don’t need.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Technology) and IoT sensor technology is helping companies eliminate the manual processes associated with locating and scanning barcodes, cutting costs and errors from manufacturing, distribution, transportation, and retailing operations.
With RFID and IoT-based systems, our approach becomes even more critical. Since these solutions tend to be heavier on the engineering than a barcoding system, our team prioritizes learning customers’ goals and processes first; this is critical for finding the right combination of RFID hardware (tags, readers, printers, antenna, etc.) with software, printers, for current and future business operations.
We offer installation and user training to reduce the time it takes to implement and effectively use the system. The quicker it’s in use, the quicker the ROI realization. By using our Delivery Framework and GoLive Services, we are able to efficiently map out a process for installation and deployment.
Barcoding has offices throughout North America to support single-site, regional, and national rollouts. We use our Delivery Framework and StayLive Services to make sure our customers are fully operational with their RFID or IoT solution.
RFID readers, sometimes referred to as “interrogators,” are electronic devices that transmit and receive radio waves. The RFID reader uses an antenna to send and receive signals to and from RFID tags. The antenna can be built into the reader or externally connected. In fact, some barcode scanning computers can add an attachment, an RFID sled, to transform into a reader.
Readers can also be fixed mounted; these readers can be found at a receiving dock’s bay door or at an EZPass toll booth, for instance.
A standard dock door or choke point fixed reader configuration is often called a “portal.” Portals create a field for the tag to pass through, allowing the reader to send and receive information. Readers can be incorporated into other equipment such as forklifts and assembly lines.
Watch: How Far Will a Handheld Reader Read?
Conveyor RFID Reader: Recommended for case-level and item-level tracking, conveyor reading is best achieved with multiple antennas. Recyclable plastic containers (RPCs) with embedded RFID tags have also proven effective in conveyed reading applications.
Dock Door or Portal RFID Reader: Ideal for pallet-level reading, portal readers work in conjunction with presence detectors and an RF-reflective surface, such as metal mesh. The metal mesh, which surrounds the doorway, prevents transmissions from adjoining doors being read in error.
Stretch Wrap Station RFID Reader: The stretch wrap station provides a fixed reader ample time to identify and categorize items on pallets and to associate them with RFID-enabled pallets.
Overhead RFID Reader: Using a fixed reader and a single set of antennas that radiate downward to an RF-reflective surface, bulky single items and pallets, with RFID tags oriented skyward, can easily be read while traveling on a forklift.
Handheld Mobile RFID Reader: There’s always a need for exception-based scanning. Applications requiring a search for a specific item are made easier by the mobility of a handheld mobile RFID reader because the user can bring it to a specific location to execute a search.
RFID Printing & Encoding: While often overlooked as a reader, RFID printers do contain a reader module that allows the printers to verify the data commissioned to the smart label insert at the time of printing.
RFID Printers can be used to print and encode RFID smart labels and hang tags, using media with an RFID inlay (chip and antenna combination) embedded within the label materials. An RFID encoder inside the printer writes data to the tag by radio frequency transmission. The transmission is focused for the specific location of the tag within the label; barcodes, text, and graphics are printed as usual.
Printer/encoders should perform two tag quality checks: The first should be done prior to encoding to make sure the inlay is functional and can receive data; the second should verify that data was written and stored on the chip correctly.
An RFID antenna emits radio waves, sending them to readers to translate into usable data; once a passive tag has entered the RF field, these radio waves power up its microchip to send and receive RFID data. The higher the antenna gain, the larger the read range, although higher doesn’t necessarily mean better.
The type of RFID antenna determines the type of RFID field generated. While most readers use an external antenna, some have a reader and antenna integrated in a single product. Fixed reader antennas have a longer range than those for portable readers.
The experts at Barcoding will help you identify the correct antenna to match your application, with consideration into antenna size, mounting options, and IP ratings for outdoor installation, all of which are required for each read zone.
From batteries to holsters to any other type of accessory needed to complete your RFID solution, Barcoding will help you choose the one that complements your tools.
Learn about the latest Supply Chain Trends, Technologies, and Best Practices on Barcoding’s Geek Speak blog!