Ruddersoft Official Blog - An IT Service Company in India

Choosing Best RFID Tags For Your Application: Criteria And Step By Step Guide.

  • Ravi Pal
  • Jul 04, 2023
  • RFID System
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" When it comes to selecting the right RFID tag for your business application, think about RFID frequency, the read range and memory, type of asset, metal or non-metal, kind of environment, indoor or outdoor etc."

Choosing the right RFID can be difficult!

With so many technologies, standards, and formats, the range of options open to a user is very wide indeed. Making the right choice can be challenging when choosing an RFID label. With hundreds of RFID tags available in different frequency ranges, sizes, and materials choosing the right RFID tag requires expertise on how RFID works and what the goals you’re looking to achieve with RFID deployment.

As the RFID market is filled with hundreds of types of tags, there is no simple way to sort them all and pick the perfect one. However, we have a step-by-step guide that will help you with your selection.

RFID Add Value and Accuracy to Many Business Applications

1. Retail inventory management

2. Audit compliance in a retail distribution center

3. High-speed processes in postal and parcel distribution

4. Manufacturing process control and confirmation

5. Material tracking

6. Airline luggage identification and routing systems

7. Single-pass multiple-item identification

How to Choose the Right RFID Tag?

Before you choose the right RFID tags to match your business needs, you must have some understanding of what RFID tags are and how many types of RFID tags are at your disposal.

RFID tags are primarily categorized as Active and Passive RFID tags. Apart from that, there are UHF RFID tags, HF RFID tags, and LF RFID tags that offer distinct read ranges and are best suited to a certain type of RFID use case.

The two different technologies of RFID are Active RFID and Passive RFID

a. Active RFID

Active RFID systems can be used in applications where multiple tagged products have to be monitored over larger areas, or scanned at a fast pace as they move through a particular facility. The Active RFID tags have their power source in the form of a battery and continuously emit signals over a long range, easy for RFID Readers to detect them. However, an active RFID system is a bit costly in comparison to a passive RFID system. An Active RFID tag would easily cost INR 500 in India and acquiring these tags in bulk is a costly affair.

b. Passive RFID

In passive RFID systems, the reader and reader antenna send a radio signal to the passive RFID tag. The RFID tag then uses the transmitted signal to power on, and revert the RF signals back to the reader.

A passive RFID system utilizes passive RFID tags, which usually cost INR 4-5 and offer better ROI. However, the range here is limited to 12-15m.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Choose an RFID Tag

When selecting an RFID tag, there are several factors to consider to ensure it meets the specific requirements of the application. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what factors you must consider before finalizing your RFID selection and deployment:

1. Read Range:

Consider the required read range for the RFID tag within the intended application. Different RFID tags have varying read ranges, so it's important to select one that can effectively communicate with the reader at the required distance. For example, Active RFID systems offer a read range of 100m and more while a passive RFID system will only give you a read range of up to 15m. RAIN RFID tags are the most used RFID tags, most suitable for healthcare, retail, education, supply chain and logistics and manufacturing operations.

2. Frequency:

Choose the appropriate RFID frequency for the application. Different frequencies (such as low-frequency, high-frequency, and ultra-high frequency) offer different read ranges and performance characteristics, so it's important to select the right frequency for the specific application. For example, the UHF RFID Tags (865-867 MHz) offer a read range of up to 15m, the HF RFID tags (13.56 MHz) offer a read range of up to 100cm, and the LF RFID Tags (125 KHz) offer a read range of within 10 cm.

3. Environment:

Evaluate the environmental conditions where the RFID tag will be used. Factors such as temperature, moisture, and exposure to chemicals or other harsh substances can impact the performance and durability of the tag. Some RFID tags are encased into hard ABS plastic, known as RFID hard tags, and are best suited for RTI tagging, pallet tagging, and other outdoor applications where durability is crucial.

4. Size and Form Factor:

Determine the size and form factor of the RFID tag that will best suit the application. Some applications may require small, discreet tags, while others may need larger, more robust tags.

Some tags are also designed to be hung, like the RFID Apparel hang tags, while some are designed to be stitched into the asset, like RFID Taffeta labels that are also washable.

5. Material and Mounting Surface:

Consider the material of the items to which the RFID tags will be applied, as well as the surface on which they will be mounted. Different materials and mounting surfaces can affect the performance and read accuracy of the tags.

6. Data Storage Capacity:

Assess the data storage capacity required for the RFID tag. Depending on the application, some tags may need to store more data than others, so it's important to select a tag with appropriate memory capacity. The data storage basically depends upon the type of RFID chip being used in the RFID tag. Branded RFID chips from Impinj Inc., like Impinj Monza R6, RFID chips from NXP like the UCODE, RFID chips from Alien Technology like the Alien Higgs series, and RFID chips from EM, all offer large EPC and User memory options.

7. Read/Write Capability:

Determine whether the RFID tag needs to be read-only or if it requires read/write capabilities. This will depend on whether the tag needs to store and update data in the field.

8. Cost:

Consider the cost of the RFID tags in relation to the budget for the project. Choosing active RFID tags is costly since they cost INR 500 or more while selecting UHF Passive RFID labels and cost could be a cost-effective option. These tags start from INR 3-4 per unit and go up to INR 30 apiece. While it's important to select a tag that meets the application's requirements, it's also essential to consider the overall cost-effectiveness of the solution.

To conclude, while selecting an RFID tag, consider the cost, frequency, read range, storage capacity, RF sensitivity, read/write capabilities, etc. Taking these factors into account will help in selecting the most suitable RFID tag for a given application.

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