RFID tags are the most reliable identification elements for automatic control of subjects and objects individually. Its operation can be summarized in four steps:
- Each item has its own label, this label identifies it with a unique number that it does not share with any other item, it is the ID of each item.
- The control of the movements of these ID numbers is carried out automatically thanks to a radio frequency emitting antenna that “interrogates” the chip of the RFID tag.
- The RFID tag “answers” the information stored on its chip by radiofrequency.
- An RFID reader collects the information from the chip and stores it on a server to be managed.
All this information exchange between tags and RFID devices is very fast, so updating databases is instantaneous in real-time.
At Trace ID we are developers and manufacturers of RFID tags, mainly UHF RFID tags but, to a lesser extent, also HF RFID tags. In addition, we produce dual RFID tags, which are one of our new development areas. We can supply both standard and custom RFID tags according to customer needs.
The standard formats are as follows:
- First, dry inlays are the most basic form, simply the antenna with the chip inserted.
- Second, wets. They are non-customizable standard size stickers without a front-face, so they cannot be printed.
- And third, white-wets. They are standard size non-customizable adhesive labels with a front-face, so they are printable.
All these standard formats have an established size and limited options for materials. On the other hand, they can be coded, but only white-wets can be printed because they have front-face. The sizes of dry inlays, wets and white-wets are described in the RFID inlays datasheets. You have more information about how to understand an RFID tag datasheet here.
The customized formats are:
A varied range of RFID labels, or smart labels, as you wish to call it. RFID labels could be tickets, stickers, hanging labels, and other formats. In these kinds of RFID tags, the clients can choose the size, the materials, the colours, the printing data, the coding… But the customization must always follow the technical conditions of manufacturing and engineering.
What are RFID tags?
When we speak about RFID technology, we refer to the acronym of Radiofrequency Identification. So, the fundamental purpose of the implementation of RFID systems is the traceability of items. But in the case of RFID systems, this traceability is unique for each item.
Unlike the systems based on barcoding, the RFID achieves the individual identification of each item in a batch.
As a rule, explained in a very basic way, the RFID systems are composed of an RFID reader, an RFID tag, a management application and a database.
Besides, RFID systems communicate and operate based on different standards and protocols. In brief, they work at different frequencies and, depending on this frequency, we can divide the RFID systems into three —LF, HF and UHF with different protocols for each.
Types of RFID tags according to its frequency
At the first place, the low frequency (LF RFID) covers from 125 kHz to 134 kHz and offers a reading range of 10 cm.
At the second place, the high frequency (HF RFID) generally operates at 13.56MHz and has reading ranges of 10cm to 1m.
Finally, the Ultra High Frequency (UHF RFID) covers 433MHz and between 860MHz and 960MHz. The reading range of the UHF systems can be up to 12 meters. UHF has a faster data transfer rate than the LF or the HF. You have more information about this topic in our article about UHF RFID protocols and standards.
What RFID tag suits our needs
In particular, UHF RFID tags are the right choice when we want a quick reading of numerous items simultaneously at a distance of no more than 12 m. In addition, UHF RFID tags are cheaper than LF and HF tags.
Lastly, we have to specify that if the UHF RFID tags are equipped with their own battery, they can achieve bigger distances, up to 30 meters. The RFID tags without a battery are called passive tags, and those with battery are called active tags.
Trace-ID’s manufacturing capability
For manufacturing, we have Mühlbauer bonding machines in our factory, where the chips are assembled in the antennas forming the inlays. We also have converting machines, from Mühlbauer as well, where the inlays are transformed into the appropriate RFID wets, white-wets, or RFID labels according to the needs of the client. As a last optional step, Trace ID has printing and coding lines. Besides, we can test our products through Voyantic solutions in-house.
Where RFID tags are needed
You need an RFID system always you want to trace subjects. The areas are very varied. The main areas are the following:
- Supply chain
- Retailing (from apparel, shoes and accessories to jewelry)
- Access control
- Sports Events
- Entertainment events
- Public transport (from urban transport ticketing to aviation luggage control)
- Healthcare (from the hospital’s assets to personalized medication of patients)
- Industrial automation
- Food industry (from the animal’s marking for traceability to food retailing)
- And more…
How to choose the proper RFID tag
The election of the right RFID tag depends on the specific conditions of the RFID implementation. The environment’s characteristics, the distances, or the speed of the item’s movement, are only a few things to take account of.
The Trace ID RFID tags are customized according to the customer’s need with various materials and adhesives. From paper or polypropylene to foam. For instance, the RFID tags of Trace ID are developed considering the difficulties that radiofrequency can have to work in. Those can be environments with a high presence of metals or a high dielectric load.