RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. They are also called Smart labels. Just like the name hints, this is a technological way of labeling and identifying items and such. RFID labels is a type of labeling that utilizes radio frequency technology to tag, identify, and even track some conditions and diseases.
How They Work
As expected, RFID works by tracking, receiving, and transmitting data via a microchip or/ and an antenna. This process is also referred to as Integrated Circuits (IC). The microchip or the RFID reader then collects information and transmits this data to an RFID computer program.
Types Of Rfid Tags And Labels
There are two basic types of RFID tags;
These are built with an onboard battery for the power supply. They can also be called Active RFID tags. They use the two main frequencies; the 433MHz or the 915 MHz, to transmit data. They have three basic parts; the interrogator, the tag, and the antenna.
These are medium when it comes to durability. They have a good life span but you cannot expect them to last decades. The batteries can last at least three to five years. They are unfortunately not replaceable and when they die, you will need a whole other unit.
Battery tags are constantly sending out signals and are therefore great for constant operations and tasks that require live tracking. They may seem expensive but are still a great value for money; they provide a long read range which may come in handy in multiple different applications and situations
Unlike the battery-operated, a passive RFID tag does not need batteries for operation. It works using electromagnetic energies. They use any of the four frequencies below to transmit data;
- 125-134 KHz also referred to as low frequency (LF)
- 56 MHz, also referred to as high frequency (HF)
- Near-Field Communication (NFC).
- 865-960 MHz also referred to as the Ultra High Frequency (UHF)
Passive tags are economical. This makes them great for file management and tasks that do not require live tracking and transmission. It has a shorter read range, is smaller compared to battery tags, lightweight, and lasts longer than active tags, potentially a lifetime.
The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Rfid Labels
There are many things that make RFID special. And there are some downsides as well. Let’s start with the benefits of RFID tags;
Use Computer And Networked Systems
This is probably one of the reasons you are looking to use RFID. Instead of using the basic UPC codes and/ or barcode scanners to scan items individually, RFID makes it easy by using computer systems to track, locate, and transmit information using radiofrequency.
Automate Data Collection
Human is to error, and to reduce these errors and mistakes, technology is here for that. Instead of doing it manually, RFID makes it easy by automating data collection and transmitting this information via computer and networked systems.
They are fast and easy to use. The fact that you can even use them without line-of-sight, automation of data, instant detection of labels within range, and by reading multiple labels, increases efficiency.
Disadvantages of RFID
One of the major disadvantages of RFID is that it could be a little on the pricey side compared to other options such as barcode readers. Implementation could also be challenging and sometimes time-consuming if you are not well-versed with them.
Scanning issues may also occur sometimes. Tag collision may happen, especially if a reader is picking up signals and data from multiple labels at the same time.
Their reliability reading through non-metallic materials is great. However, they may have problems scanning through metals and water, which may cause malfunctions.