RFID FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- When was RFID technology invented?
One of the first patents was granted to Mario Cardullo in 1970. However, some say that Charles Walton was granted the first patent. Either way, no single person can really be credited with the invention. Many people were thinking about the ability to communicate with wireless microchips in the 1970s.
- What is the maximum range of the reader?
There is no precise answer to this question. There are some systems that may read tags from more than 10 meters away, and other with even greater reading ranges of up to 100 meters, for example. If the goal is to track objects or vehicles at a longer distance, GPS may be a more appropriate solution.
- Can GPS operate on the same frequency as RFID?
Global Positioning Systems use a different frequency to RFID tags, and the communication protocols are also different. There is no integration of RFID tags with GPS devices, but there can be integration and interoperability between their systems.
- Is RFID a good monitoring tool?
Yes, definitely. But it depends on the implementation and application of the tool. There are many different types of radio frequency identification and each type is suitable for a particular set of applications and uses. For example, if you want to track parts and boxes on a production line, we can use a RFID tag as an ideal tracking and management tool. The most important thing is to know for which applications the technology will be used.
- How long does it take to read a RFID tag compared to a barcode?
There are various types of RFID systems, each of which can store a different amount of data, which determines the amount of time needed to read a label. However, the reading time is in the region of milliseconds.
The great advantage of RFID over barcodes is that RFID technology is faster than scanning or reading a barcode, especially when reading multiple items from a shelf or in a stack. The barcode technology read items one by one, while RFID technology reads the whole set as one.
- What is a passive tag?
A passive tag is a tag that does not have a power source. It is called "passive" because it does not actively transmit any signal. Instead, it collects energy from radio waves emitted by the antenna of a reader, and then reflects a signal back to that antenna. Passive tags typically have a shorter reading range than active tags. Passive tags are much cheaper.
- What is the most important comparison between RFID and bar codes?
The biggest difference is that RFID does not require line of sight, as barcodes do. With RFID, you can read all the tags on all the items in a box at once, without the need to point the collector at the label.
- Can smartphones read RFID tags?
If a smartphone has a built-in "Near Field Communication" (NFC) reader, it can be used to read NFC tags, which are short-range RFID tags that operate at 13.56MHz. However, there are modules and devices that can be easily connected to cell phones (via Bluetooth, for example), allowing them to read UHF tags in the 915MHz range. Cell phones with UHF RFID readers are already starting to appear on the market.
- Is it possible to automate a company's supply chain processes?
What RFID system can do is automate the process of gathering information and delivering it in real-time to those responsible for management and control. RFID technology provides a higher level of control at a much lower cost, with more agility and more accurate data.
- How can I use RFID in the construction industry?
It may be used for stock control. Several oil and gas companies implement a combined solution, by using RFID and GPS technologies to track all the components that arrive in their warehouses. Another sector that can use the technology is security and access control, where it can be used to manage building security and access to construction sites, as well as for PPE control.
- Is RFID used in industrial laundries?
One of the first applications of RFID was in laundries. Laundry facilities are already using the technology in serving hospitals, industries, and hotels.
- How many washes do the laundry tags generally support?
This depends greatly on the encapsulation and on the washing process, which can be domestic or industrial, with chemicals or not, etc. There are tags that support the industrial process, lasting for more than 100 cycles; it is important to point out that they are more expensive, but the cost is completely justified according to the value of the item to be identified.
- Can RFID track the delivery of newspapers and magazines?
Yes, it can be used in the distribution and delivery of newspapers and magazines. It is even suitable for reverse logistics of magazines and catalogs, price lists, for promoting campaigns, and improving the company's CRM.
- How do RFID toll systems work?
There are many different types of RFID systems used around the world, but in general, the tag, which can be active, semi-active/semi-passive (BAP tag), or passive, stores a unique serial number associated with a personal user account. When the tag comes within range of a reader, it is identified and process by the system.
- Are there tags for tires?
Yes, and they can be introduced during or after manufacture, in new or used tires. Generally, passive tags are used.
- Can RFID technology be used to control student access in schools or transportation?
Yes, students can be monitored using RFID, which can be used to control access at the school entrance or even in classrooms by putting tags on uniforms, bracelets, or in backpacks.
- Is RFID suitable for frozen conditions at -40°C?
In general, the tags can be read at temperatures below freezing, and readers are able to operate in such conditions. What should be considered is the applicability of the adhesive and encapsulation used.
- What RFID frequency range is used for stock management in retail?
Retailers that have adopted RFID technology are using passive UHF radio frequency identification systems to manage the entire supply chain.
- Can RFID be used with liquid materials?
Liquids, along with metals and glass, generally require special attention when it comes passive UHF tags, because their antennas need to be designed specifically to work on these surfaces. There are a variety of tags that meet most of the demands of the market.