Despite the huge range available, there are still cases where standard products don’t fit the bill, says Richard Harrison
There are hundreds of thousands of different RFID tags available on the global market and the number is growing all the time.
As a rule of thumb, 80% of requirements can be met by 20% of existing products. So you may well ask – with such a wide range of standard products available, why would anyone ever have to resort to using a custom-made tag?
The fact is that, while RFID is a relatively simple technology, radio signals are very sensitive to the environment they operate in. There are a host of factors that may affect their optimum function, such as high temperatures, chemicals or harsh environments, high levels of metallic content which interferes with the signals . . . the list is endless.
Granted, most of these will still be covered by the multitude of products available but there are still many instances where no suitable product is available. Here are two such examples:
Reactec, a workplace health and safety specialist, required an RFID tag that could be encased within a small measuring device which recorded Hand Arm Vibration (HAVs). The entire device had to be small enough to attach to hand tools using a strong magnet. As if the lack of space and magnetic interference were not challenging enough, it also had to operate in hostile environments with potentially high levels of dust, dirt and vibration.
Extensive research showed the only solution was to design the tag from scratch. Using our extensive knowledge of the industry, CoreRFID worked with a skilled manufacturer in the Asia Pacific region to produce a solution. Following the success of this initial tag, thanks to developments in technology CoreRFID was able to identify a new approach and designed a custom label which achieved the same results at lower cost. CoreRFID has continued to work in partnership with Reactec for over 17 years.
Ocado Technology, for which CoreRFID had already provided consultancy services, required an RFID solution for its automated warehouses system. Working with an RFID manufacturer, CoreRFID designed a custom tag which could meet the high level of reliability, operate within the required temperature range and be easy to deploy.
After many proof of concept trials and destructive tests the specification was determined and the tooling and manufacturing process was established. The RFID technology has been deployed globally at the Ocado automated warehouse sites.
The key to success in RFID projects is selecting the right product, and there are numerous examples where organisations have bought technology only to discover that it doesn’t quite work.
If you are not 100% certain about which product to choose, speak to a specialist such as CoreRFID first. We will either find a standard product that will work and carry out the testing to verify it, or design and manufacture something to suit you. Either way, success is assured!