Technology can be a truly amazing thing. It can enhance our lives, render complex things simple, and make us more productive and work at home. As such, new technologies emerge everyday to simplify certain tasks. This is especially important in shipping, receiving, warehouse management, and supply chain. Challenges run rampant in the shipping, receiving, and inventory worlds. That’s why technology can be a great help to any organization. RFID is one such cutting edge technology that is transforming the way these industries work. That’s why we put together this guide on RFID and how it can be used and your organization. Keep reading to learn more.
What They Are
RFID is a simple abbreviation for “radio frequency identification.” RFID tags are small objects with an RFID component. RFID tags can be passive or active. Active tags have an internal power source. Passive ones don’t (more on this in a moment). Most RFID tags used in asset tracking are passive devices, which just means they don’t have an internal power source. They’re activated by electromagnetic waves that are sent from a device when the signal meets the tag’s proper frequency. Important information gets transmitted through radio waves back to a reader device. The user can then decode the information and get something usable from the device. Depending on the purpose of the RFID tag, this could be location info, serial numbers, temperatures, or other valuable data.
RFID Technology – Active vs Passive
As we mentioned above, RFID tags come in two varieties: active and passive. Passive RFID tags don’t have a power source and are powered by the reader’s electromagnetic field when it passes through the tag. On the other hand, active tags contain an internal power source, but are only able to be read when they’re within range of the tag reader. Active tags also send information back to the reader at the same time they receive information from the reader. Passive tags are only able to receive information from the reader. Both types are versatile and useful for asset tracking, whether they’re fixed, handheld, or self-contained. Every RFID tag has an antenna that communicates with an electromagnetic wave that’s sent between 915 MHz or 2.45 GHz frequencies, and has a long range in which they’ll operate efficiently.
How They’re Used
RFID tags are unique because they are one of the most versatile pieces of simple technology available on today’s market. Working right alongside other items like vibration loggers, humidity detectors, temperature indicators, and all manner of monitoring tools, they can be used in any industry for essentially any reason. RFID tags are used to track assets, as well as temperature and inventory. Tags are attachable and armable in the field and can be used on pretty much anything. This includes, but isn’t limited to, the following:
- Vehicles and freight
- Containers, on ships, planes, or trucks
- Products (especially large retail items)
- In libraries, when you check out books
- At hospitals, for patient tracking
- For records and bookkeeping
- Asset management
- Maintenance (fleet vehicles, refrigerators, and so on)
When used effectively, passive RFID asset tags make tracking your company’s assets simple, cost-effective, and safe.
Benefits of Using RFID Tags
The benefits of using RFID asset tracking technology are incredible. First off, there’s plenty of cost savings involved with being able to track and make informed decisions about your cargo based on information you received from the tax. That’s on top of streamlining and improving your inventory tracking/management. When everything is easier and runs smoother, your workplace will be more productive and efficient. This, in turn, reduces the number of items that disappear, get stolen, are misplaced, or mishandled, or damaged throughout the shipping process. As a direct result of that, customers are happier and receive their items quicker, in good condition. There’s also the bonus of having better security through monitoring of your shipments. When all of this gets combined, it makes for a significantly more successful shipment and makes the case for using RFID and everything along your supply chain.
RFID is a very exciting new technology. And with new technology, comes unique applications that are both exciting and novel. RFID is no exception. RFID tags can be used in every step of the production process, from acquiring raw materials, to inventory, to production and distribution. They’re especially useful in shipping. On top of that, they can be used in libraries, hospitals, and just about anything that we use every single day. Everyone can benefit from RFID technology, not just big organizations. That’s what makes it an essential technology that will go on to become at some point in the near future.