RFIDSolutionGlobal is a global solution provider of IoT technologies, system integration, software, hardware, RFID Products and online services for all kinds of RFID applications. The main business covers all kinds of RFID Reader, Handheld Terminals, NFC Devices, RFID Modules, RFID Antennas, RFID Card, NFC Card, Smart Card, Mifare Card, Access control Card, Time attendance Card, Bus Card, Membership Card, Business Card, Blocking Card, Blocking Sleeve, Blocking Wallet, Loylaty Card, Proximity Card, CPU Card, Contactless Card, Contact Card, Contact IC Card, Payment Card, Hotel Key Card, Room key Card, Magnetic stripe Card, Barcode Card, Key tag Card, Mini business Card, Wooden Card, Dual Frequency Card, RFID Parking Card, Metro Card, LF Card,HF Card, UHF Card, Warehouse tracking Sticker Label, PVC sticker, RFID sticker Label, NFC Sticker label, Washing cloth Label, Roll Paper Sticker, Adhesive Label Sticker, Paper Sticker, Paper Label, Anti-tear label, RFID Library Label, Washing Label, Anti-metal label, Waterproof and High temperature resisting Label, Nail Tag, Animal Tag, Livestock tag, Tire Tag, Screw Tag, Washing Button Tag, RFID Windshield Tag, RFID/NFC sticker Tag, Anti-metal Tag,  RFID Library Tag, RFID Jewelry Tag, Waste bin tag, Garbage bin tag, RFID wristband, Smart wristband, Passive RFID Wristband, Silicone wristband, Woven Wristband, Woven Bracelet, Fabric Wristband, Fabric Bracelet, LED Wristband, LED bracelet, Paper wristband, Smart Bracelet, RFID Bracelet, Disposable Paper Bracelet, Disposable Paper, PVC wristband, PVC bracelet, Music festival bracelets, ID Wristband, ID Bracelets, Hospital single use Wristband, TYVEK one-time use Bracelets, NFC writband, Smart Keyfob,Epoxy Keyfob, Leather Keyfob, Nylon keyfob, Silicone Keyfob, Keychain Tag, RFID keyfob Tag, Tear drop Keychain Tag, Epoxy Keyfob keychain Tag, ABS Keychain, PVC disk tag, Adhesive Disc Tag, Laundry Washing Tag, NFC readers, Magnetic Stripe readers, UHF Reader, HF Reader, LF Reader, LF Fixed Desk Reader, Handheld Terminal, Fixed RFID Reader, RFID Antenna,RFID Mould, RFID Software System, RFID System integration solution, Assets management system, warehouse management system, Parking management system and etc.

FAQ

What is RFID?

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. It is an automatic identification technology to identify objects by using invisible radio waves. Instead of optically scanning bar codes on a label, RFID uses radio waves to capture data from tags. One of key characteristics of RFID is that it does not require the tag to be seen to read its stored data. This means that a tag can be placed either inside or outside. To accomplish this, two components are essential, reader and tag. A transponder has a microchip that contains information uniquely identified itself, such as a serial number. A reader sends out a radio signal that wakes a tag from its dormant state. The transponder then responds with a coded radio signal to uniquely identify itself. The reader converts the radio waves returned from the tag into a form that can be passed on to computer that can further utilize the information.

What is automatic identification?

Automatic identification, or auto ID for short, is the broad term given to a host of technologies that are used to help machines identify objects. Auto identification is often coupled with automatic data capture. That is, companies want to identify items, capture information about them and somehow get the data into a computer without having employees type it in. The aim of most auto-ID systems is to increase efficiency, reduce data entry errors, and free up staff to perform more value-added functions, such as providing customer service. There are a host of technologies that fall under the auto-ID umbrella. These include bar codes, smart cards, voice recognition, some biometric technologies (retinal scans, for instance), optical character recognition, and radio frequency identification (RFID).

How does an RFID system work?

An RFID system consists of a tag, which is made up of a microchip with an antenna, and an interrogator or reader with an antenna. The reader sends out electromagnetic waves. The tag antenna is tuned to receive these waves. A passive RFID tag draws power from field created by the reader and uses it to power the microchip’s circuits. The chip then modulates the waves that the tag sends back to the reader and the reader converts the new waves into digital data.

What are the major components of RFID system?

The RFID system contains the following component:

  1. RFID Transponder
    A RFID Transponder, contains three kinds of transponder, Proximity smart card (contactless smart card), RFID Tag and Smart Label, is made up of a microchip with a coiled antenna and is used to identify objects, which can be uniquely programmed with information about the objects. RFID transponders can be encased in hardened plastic coatings making them extremely durable and able to be tracked through harsh production processes. They can be read through grease, dirt, and paint. RFID transponders can store large amounts of data. High-end RFID transponders can contain up to one megabyte of memory (one million characters), although most tags only contain a small fraction of this memory, perhaps as little as 64 bits.
    Data within a tag may provide any level of identification for an item during manufacture, in-transit, in-storage, or in-use. With additional data, the tag may support applications that need item-specific information. For example, shipment consignee or destination ports can be readily accessed upon reading the tag.
    Some RFID transponders are able to support read/write operations, enabling real-time information updates as a tagged item moves through the supply chain.
  2. Readers (handheld or stationary) 
    A reader, also called interrogator, is comprised of a transmitter, receiver, control module and a transceiver. The transceiver acts as a communication function to link to a controlling computer or PLC. A reader should have an attached antenna, which is used to transmit and receive the RF signal. Each reader is accompanied with software that allows the user to read and program tags. Serial (RS232 or RS422/485) or Ethernet are the typical communications methods, though others are available.
  3. A data handling and processing system.

How does an RFID system work?

An RFID system consists of a tag, which is made up of a microchip with an antenna, and an interrogator or reader with an antenna. The reader sends out electromagnetic waves. The tag antenna is tuned to receive these waves. A passive RFID tag draws power from field created by the reader and uses it to power the microchip’s circuits. The chip then modulates the waves that the tag sends back to the reader and the reader converts the new waves into digital data.

How does RFID work?

Information is sent to and read from RFID transponders by a reader using radio waves. In passive systems, which are the most common, The reader sends out electromagnetic waves that form a magnetic field when they “couple” with the antenna on the RFID transponder. A passive RFID transponder draws power from this magnetic field and uses it to power the microchip』s circuits. The chip then modulates the waves that the tag sends back to the reader and the reader converts the new waves into digital data. Then the digital data can be sent to a controlling computer for processing and management.

In active systems, a battery in the tag is used to boost the effective operating range of the tag and to offer additional features over passive tags, such as temperature sensing. Data collected from tags is then passed through familiar communication interfaces (cable or wireless) to host computer systems in the same manner that data scanned from bar code labels is captured and passed to computer systems for interpretation, storage, and action.

Why is RFID better than using bar codes?

RFID is not necessarily “better” than bar codes. The two are different technologies and have different applications, which sometimes overlap. The big difference between the two is bar codes are line-of-sight technology. That is, a scanner has to “see” the bar code to read it, which means people usually have to orient the bar code towards a scanner for it to be read. Radio frequency identification, by contrast, doesn’t require line of sight. RFID tags can be read as long as they are within range of a reader. Bar codes have other shortcomings as well. If a label is ripped, soiled or falls off, there is no way to scan the item. And standard bar codes identify only the manufacturer and product, not the unique item. The bar code on one milk carton is the same as every other, making it impossible to identify which one might pass its expiration date first.

What are the advantages of RFID?

RFID creates an automatic way to collect information about a product, place, time or transaction quickly, easily and without human error. It provides a non-contact data link, without need for line of sight, for example articles inside a cardboard box, or concerns about harsh or dirty environments that restrict other auto ID technologies such as bar codes. In addition, RFID is more than just an ID code, it can be used as a data carrier, with information being written and updated to the tag on the fly. Genesis has the programming ability to install RFID readers and tags into your material handling system and integrate them with your PC or PLC network. Implementation of RFID will allow the improvement of data quality, items management, asset visibility, and maintenance of materiel. Further, the use of RFID in the supply chain has the potential to provide real benefits in inventory management, asset visibility, and interoperability in an end-to-end integrated environment. RFID encapsulates the data accuracy advantages inherent in all types of automatic identification technology. Additionally, RFID is a totally non-intrusive methodology for data capture (requires no human intervention), is non-line of sight technology, and is a technology that may possess both read and write options within the same equipment item.

What is the difference between a passive, semi-passive and active RFID?

Active RFID Tag uses an internal power source, such as a battery, within the tag to continuously power the tag and its RF communication circuitry. Active RFID tag allows extremely low-level RF signals to be received by the tag (since the reader/interrogator does not power the tag), and the tag can generate high-level signals back to the reader/interrogator. Active RFID transponders are continuously powered, whether in the reader/interrogator field or not, and are normally used when a longer tag read distance is desired.

Passive RFID Tag relies on RF energy transferred from the reader/interrogator to the tag to power the tag. Passive RFID transponders reflect energy from the reader/interrogator or receive and temporarily store a small amount of energy from the reader/interrogator signal in order to generate the tag response. Passive RFID tag requires strong RF signals from the reader/interrogator, and the RF signal strength returned from the tag is constrained to very low levels by the limited energy. Passive RFID transponders are best used when the tag and interrogator will be close to one another.

Semi-passive RFID Tag uses an internal power source to monitor environmental conditions, but requires RF energy transferred from the reader/interrogator similar to passive tags to power a tag response. Semi-passive RFID transponders use a process to generate a tag response similar to that of passive tags. Semi-passive tags differ from passive tag in that semi passive tags possess an internal power source (battery) for the tag’s circuitry which allows the tag to complete other functions such as monitoring of environmental conditions (temperature, shock) and which may extend the tag signal range.

What is the difference between low-, high-, and ultra-high frequencies?

Just as your radio tunes in to different frequency to hear different channels, RFID tags and readers have to be tuned to the same frequency to communicate. RFID systems use many different frequencies, but generally the most common are low- (around 125 KHz), high- (13.56 MHz) and ultra-high frequency, or UHF (850-900 MHz). Microwave (2.45 GHz) is also used in some applications. Radio waves behave differently at different frequency, so you have to choose the right frequency for the right application.

If RFID has been around so long and is so great, why aren’t all companies using it?

Many companies have invested in RFID systems to get the advantages they offer. These investments are usually made in closed-loop systems—that is, when a company is tracking goods that never leave its own control. That’s because all existing RFID systems use proprietary technology, which means that if company A puts an RFID tag on a product, it can’t be read by Company B unless they both use the same RFID system from the same vendor. But most companies don’t have closed-loop systems, and many of the benefits of tracking items come from tracking them as they move from one company to another and even one country to another.

Is RFID new?

RFID is a proven technology that’s been around since at least the 1970s. Up to now, it’s been too expensive and too limited to be practical for many commercial applications. But if tags can be made cheaply enough, they can solve many of the problems associated with bar codes. Radio waves travel through most non-metallic materials, so they can be embedded in packaging or encased in protective plastic for weather-proofing and greater durability. And tags have microchips that can store a unique serial number for every product manufactured around the world.

Are there any health risks associated with RFID applications and radio waves?

Large amounts of radio waves is believed to be harmful to human body and causes diseases such as cancer. However, the strength of radio waves used by RFID applications is similar to that of television and radio, hence it is safe to say they carry no significant hazard.

How do I know which frequency is right for my application?

Different frequencies have different characteristics that make them more useful for different applications. For instance, low-frequency tags are cheaper than ultra high frequency (UHF) tags, use less power and are better able to penetrate non-metallic substances. They are ideal for scanning objects with high-water content, such as fruit, at close range. UHF frequencies typically offer better range and can transfer data faster. But they use more power and are less likely to pass through materials. And because they tend to be more “directed,” they require a clear path between the tag and reader. UHF tags might be better for scanning boxes of goods as they pass through a bay door into a warehouse. It is probably best to work with a consultant, integrator or vendor that can help you choose the right frequency for your application.

Do all countries use the same low-, high and ultra-high frequencies?

Most countries have assigned the 125 kHz or 134 kHz area of the radio spectrum for low-frequncy systems, and 13.56 MHz is used around the world for high-frequency systems. But UHF RFID systems have only been around since the mid-1990s and countries have not agreed on a single area of the UHF spectrum for RFID. Europe uses 868 MHz for UHF and the U.S. uses 915 MHz. Until recently, Japan did not allow any use of the UHF spectrum for RFID, but it is looking to open up the 960MHz area for RFID. Many other devices use the UHF spectrum, so it will take years for all governments to agree on a single UHF band for RFID. Government’s also regulate the power of the readers to limit interference with other devices. Some groups, such as the Global Commerce Initiative, are trying to encourage governments to agree on frequencies and output. Tag and reader makers are also trying to develop systems that can work at more than one frequency, to get around the problem.

I’ve heard that RFID doesn’t work around metal and water. Does that mean I can’t use it to track cans or liquid products?

No. Radio waves bounce off metal and are absorbed by water at ultra-high frequencies. That makes tracking metal products or those with high water content problematic, but good system design and engineering can overcome this shortcoming. Low- and high-frequency tags work better on products with water and metal. In fact, there are applications in which low-frequency RFID tags are actually embedded in metal auto parts to track them.

What’s the difference between passive and active tags?

Active RFID tags have a battery, which is used to run the microchip’s circuitry and to broadcast a signal to a reader (the way a cell phone transmits signals to a base station). Passive tags have no battery. Instead, they draw power from the reader, which sends out electromagnetic waves that induce a current in the tag’s antenna. Semi-passive tags use a battery to run the chip’s circuitry, but communicate by drawing power from the reader. Active and semi-passive tags are useful for tracking high-value goods that need to be scanned over long ranges, such as railway cars on a track, but they cost a dollar or more, making them too expensive to put on low-cost items. Companies are focusing on passive UHF tags, which cost under a 50 cents today in volumes of 1 million tags or more. Their read range isn’t as far — typcially less than 20 feet vs. 100 feet or more for active tags — but they are far less expensive than active tags and can be disposed of with the product packaging.

How much information can the tag store?

Microchips in RFID tags can be read-write or read-only. With read-write chips, you can add information to the tag or write over existing information when the tag is within range of a reader, or interrogator. Read-write tags usually have a serial number that can’t be written over. Additional blocks of data can be used to store additional information about the items the tag is attached to. Some read-only microchips have information stored on them during the manufacturing process. The information on such chips can never been changed. Other tags can have a serial number written to it once and then that information can’t be overwritten later.

What’s the difference between read-only and read-write tags?

Microchips in RFID tags can be read-write or read-only. With read-write chips, you can add information to the tag or write over existing information when the tag is within range of a reader, or interrogator. Read-write tags usually have a serial number that can’t be written over. Additional blocks of data can be used to store additional information about the items the tag is attached to. Some read-only microchips have information stored on them during the manufacturing process. The information on such chips can never been changed. Other tags can have a serial number written to it once and then that information can’t be overwritten later.

What is tag collision?

Another problem readers have is reading a lot of chips in the same field. Tag collision occurs when more than one chip reflects back a signal at the same time, confusing the reader. Different vendors have developed different systems for having the tags respond to the reader one at a time. Since they can be read in milliseconds, it appears that all the tags are being read simultaneously.

What is EPC Gen2?

The Electronic Product Code is a global standard created by EPCglobal for use in many industries such as the RFID field. In 2006, the EPC Gen 2 was adopted by the International Standards Organization (ISO) as the ISO 18000-6C standard. ISO mainly focused on standards that deal with air-interface protocol and applications for RFID. EPC deals with more than just how tags and readers communicate; it also creates network standards to govern how EPC data is shared among different companies and organizations.

What is EPC standard?

The Electronic Product Code (EPC) is a standard specification to ensure unique serial numbers for each individual object hence it can be tracked independently. The standard allows different companies to share and exchange information in different data storage types efficiently through the same interface, thereby reducing time spent on integration.

What are some of the most common applications for RFID?

Tracking objects in the supply chain is one of the most common applications of RFID. Objects that are typically tracked include: consumer goods, reusable assets, high value tools, and manufacturing parts. RFID is also commonly used for access control, inventory management, payment systems, parking systems, and for tracking people, including workers, visitors, and patients.

Are there any standards for RFID?

Yes. International standards have been adopted for some very specific applications, such as tracking animals. Many other standards initiatives are under way. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is working on standards for tracking goods in the supply chain using high-frequency tags (ISO 18000-3) and ultra-high frequency tags (ISO 18000-6). EPCglobal, a joint venture set up to commercialize Electronic Product Code technologies, has its own standards process, which was used to create bar code standards. EPCglobal intends to submit EPC protocols to ISO so that they can become international standards.

What are the fields of interest for RFID applications?

Agriculture
Animal movement tracking is probably one of the first RFID applications being used. Nowadays, even more sophisticated farm management systems have been created that provide extra features such as ensuring correct type and amount feed to each animal, and animal health monitoring that keeps track of condition such as pregnancy.

Clothing
Instead of having implants under the skin or a separated handheld device, RFID tags can be inserted into clothing to help communicate user preference and shareable information to service providers’ readers at various locations such as bus-stop, café, library, etc. for better quality of services.

Food
Edible tags can be sealed on food to provide even more detailed micro management in nutrition values and tracking through human body digestion and absorption with feedback to monitoring app, this can be beneficial to both healthcare providers and patients, or personal use as general health interest.

Military
Similar to how RFID technology was first created and applied during second world war to recognize friendly or enemy aircraft unit, more advanced system nowadays can even provide more information such as their functionalities and types of weapon. Furthermore, RFID system can also enhance logistic and supply chain management in the field.

Travel/Navigation
There are RFID applications implemented in transportation, such as in vehicles for easier payment on parking meter and highway crossing, and RFID tag payment card for mass transportation. On the other hand, people that are visually impaired can also benefit from RFID system that gives sound warnings when encountering obstacles or dangerous areas.

Retail
RFID applications are used extensively in the retail industry. They provide quick and accurate solution for inventory management such as yearly stock-take or daily cycle-count. They also enable users to do item search and goods-in recording more time-saving. In addition, at the point of sale, checking out all the items at once using RFID reading is also more efficient than scanning each item one by one.

How does RFID work around water or metal?

At ultra-high frequencies, it is difficult to track metal products or products with high water content since the radio waves reflect off of metal and are absorbed by water. In order to overcome this problem, RFID systems in these environments can use low frequency tags or high-frequency RFID tags, which work better in those environments.

RFID Reader/Scanner FAQ

What is a RFID transponder?

RFID transponders consist of an integrated circuit attached to an antenna-typically a small coil of wires-plus some protective packaging as determined by the application requirements. RFID transponders can come in many forms and sizes. Some can be as small as a grain of rice. There are basically two types of RFID transponders, active and passive.

Active tags have a battery, which is used to run the microchip’s circuitry and to broadcast a signal to a reader have power on the chip that are generally used for tracking high-value goods that need to be scanned over long ranges, such as railway cars, but they cost a dollar or more making them too expensive for lower cost items in the supply chain.

Passive tags have no battery, they draw power from the reader, which sends out electromagnetic waves that induce a current to the tag’s antennas. Tags can come be read only, write once, or fully writable. The writeable memory can be as little as 64 bits for passive tags and up to as much as 32 kB for active tags. This memory can be read or written very quickly, in some cases as fast as 200 tags/sec! Having some memory gives your process the ability to read or write any data to it that you wish. This includes test data, location data, or even the new EPC codes.

What is EPC tag?

Electronic Product Code (EPC) is an evolution of the Universal Product Code (UPC) technology providing identification without line of sight requirements. The EPC tags carry a unique product code as defined in the Auto-ID specification. EPC labels are more than a radio “barcode,” because they contain individual item serial numbers and other information such as manufacturing location, date codes and other vital supply chain data. This information is stored on a small silicon chip. These elements will be combined with a network of tags, readers, and computers to enable — in the case of business adoption — manufacturers and retailers the opportunity to accurately track inventory in real time.

Can I tag metal objects? Can I tag items that have high-water content?

Yes. Radio waves bounce off metal and are absorbed by water at higher frequencies. While that can make tracking metal objects or those with high water content problematic, well-planned system design and engineering can solve these issues.

What's the difference between read-only and read/write tags?

Chips in RF tags can be read-write or read-only. With read-write chips, you can add information to the tag or write over existing information when the tag is within range of a reader, or interrogator. Read-write tags are useful in some specialized applications, but since they are more expensive than read-only chips, they are impractical for tracking inexpensive items. Some read-only microchips have information stored on them durinsg the manufacturing process. The information on such chips can never been changed. A more flexible option is to use something called electrically erasable programmable read-only memory, or EEPROM. With EEPROM, the data can be overwritten using a special electronic process.

Can RFID transponders be combined with sensors?

Yes, RFID transponders have already been combined with a number of different sensors, including those that can detect and record temperature and humidity. Tags used to track items moving through the supply chain can generate alerts if the environmental conditions have changed, especially if it is critical to the use and storage of the item, like in refrigeration units.

How much information can an RFID transponder store?

RFID Tags are available with storage capabilities from 512 bytes to 4MB. It largely depends on vendor and whether the tag is passive or active. Data stored in a tag will be determined by the application of the system and appropriate standards. For example, a tag could provide identification for an item being manufactured, goods in transit, or even the short-range location and identity of a vehicle, animal, or individual. This fundamental data often is referred to as a “license plate code,” similar to the information that is stored on a bar code label.

When linked to a database, additional information may be accessed through the reader such as item stock number, current location, status, selling price, and batch code. Alternatively, an RFID transponder may carry specific information or instructions immediately available upon reading, without the need to reference a database to determine the meaning of a code. For example, the desired color of paint on a car that is entering the paint assembly area on the production line, or a manifest to accompany a shipment of goods.

How do I decide which tag will work for my customer's products?

There are many questions regarding the tags. Do the tags work with water? Are they distorted by metal, what temperature do they operate at? The way radio waves are affected by water. . Those with high water content, metal products and those where there are exposed to extreme high and low temperatures, are a challenge. Good system design and engineering can overcome any of these shortcomings and that is why there are different RFID transponders for different applications. Our goal is to create a system in which any tag can be used to identify a product, as long as it has an Electronic Product Code, and communicates using basic communication standards.

Transponder, smart label, Tag. What's the difference?

Initially, in the technical field, RFID transponder was the term used to designate an electronic module which is able to Transmit information and respond with information. Recently, different fields in which Radio Frequency Identification is prevalent have developed a new jargon to designate the same thing, such as Smart Label or RFID Tag. “Smart labels” are a particularly innovative form of RFID transponder and operate in much the same way. However, a smart label consists of an adhesive label that is embedded with an ultra-thin RFID transponder “inlay” (the tag IC plus printed antenna). Smart labels combine the read range and unattended processing capability of RFID with the convenience and flexibility of on-demand label printing. Smart labels also can be pre-printed and pre-coded for use. In on-demand applications, the tag inlay can be encoded with fixed or variable data and tested before the label is printed, while the label can contain all the bar codes, text, and graphics used in established applications. Smart labels are called “smart” because of the flexible capabilities provided by the silicon chip embedded in the tag inlay. A read/write smart label also can be programmed and reprogrammed in use, following initial coding during the label production process.

What is Smart Band?

Smart Band consists of an RFID microchip (with a unique factory imbedded serial num ber) and antenna inlet sealed inside a non-transferable and secure wristband.