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Ten Things to Consider When Buying RFID Labels

Related Topics:
RFID Labels - Contactless Smart Card - RFID Readers


Interview
Mark Freeman
President
Inspec Tech, Inc.

Inspec Tech, Inc. was founded in 1991 by president Mark Freeman. The company manufactures tags and labels for the automotive, pharmaceutical, DoD, electronics, and textile industries. The company is an RFID certified converter for Raflatac, TI, and Avery Dennison and is also an RFID certified specialist integrator for Tharo, Samsys, Zebra Technologies, Datamax, Sato, Symbol, and Avery Dennison.
 


In a recent interview conducted by RFID Solutions Online, Mark Freeman, president of Inspec Tech, Inc. shared his views on the top ten things users should consider when buying RFID labels. Understanding these considerations will ensure your RFID application’s success and provide you with the best return on your investment

 

Who is the customer?

In today’s RFID world there are many end-users that must comply with mandates. These include Wal-Mart suppliers, Department of Defense suppliers, and suppliers for Target, JC Penney, Sears, and other major retailers. Also in the pharmaceutical world, many companies are complying with FDA mandates. However, there are many companies with no compliance mandates that are interested in the technology as a tracking method.

 

Which inlay should I use?

Companies are applying RFID labels in many ways. Some apply to corrugated, plastic, and metal. Likewise, the environment these labels are applied in will take many forms such as temperature and water. These factors alone will determine which RFID inlay and facestock to choose. 

 

What is the difference in RFID closed-loop and open-loop systems?

A closed-loop solution many times takes on proprietary requirements in the form of tags and readers. An example would be tracking a certain type of pharmaceutical use in a hospital environment. An open-loop solution is fairly generic in the choice of RFID hardware, software, and RFID labels. An example of this type would be tracking a product being shipped to a Wal-Mart Distribution center. Any combination of Gen 2 readers/ writers and tags will work. 


What size RFID label do we use?

This will depend on the application and the standards required by others (i.e. DoD, Wal-Mart, FDA, etc). The size of the inlay used can range from circular, square, rectangular, or linear footprints. These are available in the UHF and HF products.

 

What determines the tag we need to use?

Again, this will depend on the requirements of the application, end-user, and or the system used. Example: 13.56 MHz will work great for tracking cattle but not for tracking cargo in containers. This is because the 13.56 MHz design is used for close up reading. The 915 MHz Read distances for this type tag are from one inch to three feet for tracking cargo container but not cattle. The 915 MHz design is more useful in an environment where greater reading distance is required. The distances with this type tag will range from two feet to twenty -eight feet. 

 

What are the costs of these tags?

The cost depends on several factors. These are the volume purchased, size, frequency, and facestock required by the application to cover the tag. Pricing can range from $0.18 to $5.00 per tag.

 

What makes up the antenna?

Basically antennas can be made of copper, aluminum, or metallic inks. The read ranges and read rates vary depending on which style antenna is chosen. Also, the antenna selected determines the costs associated. For example, copper is much more expensive than metallic ink, but is a much better conductor of RF.

 

What are the read distances?

Read distances depend on the size of the antenna and the frequency. UHF tags have the furthest read distance with a range of 24 inches to 28 feet. HF tags are used for close range reading, which range from direct contact to 3 feet away. Distance will also depend on the impedance level of the item to which it is attached. (i.e. a case of soup v.s. a case of cereal) Therefore liquids, solids, metals and people all affect RFID read rates/ ranges.

 

How is the tag read?

There are three common types of RFID readers. Mobile hand held readers, which resemble barcode readers/ scanners. The fixed/mounted readers on a conveyer system used for reading/ writing in line. The portal reader at docks in manufacturing facilities.

 

How is it applied?

The label can be applied by hand or with print/apply units. The hand-applied method has been coined in the industry "slap and ship". The other method is automated print and apply. The read rates of the tags applied by hand range from 70% to 90% positive reads. Tags applied by the Inspec Smart Tag print/apply system have a 100% accurate read rate because the bad tags are rejected before ever reaching the product.
 

For additional information visit http://www.inspectech.us 1.800.635.6458

 

More Topics

Passive RFID Readers RFID Cards RFID Labelers Portable RFID Readers
SmartLabel Printers RFID Encoders RFID Scanners Smart Card Systems
 

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