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RFID readers

RFID readers to suit every application

An RFID reader transmits and receives radio waves in order to ‘interrogate’ the tag and read the data on it. There are two main classes of readers. Standalone readers can be used independently of any other devices, while plug-in readers are connected to a computer, mobile or electronic point of sale (EPOS) device, for example through a USB port or via bluetooth or wifi.

Readers can be mobile or fixed and even embedded in other types of hardware. They are almost always dedicated to a particular frequency range – LF, HF or UHF – so the choice of reader will be linked to the tags you plan to use. The speed of operation and the distance from which they can read a tag varies, depending in part on the technology.

CoreRFID can advise on choosing the right readers for your needs and can also produce customised products. You can see examples of our RFID Readers at our RFID Shop page.

Fixed readers

Fixed readers installed in strategic locations can automatically monitor the identity of tags passing by and, if they are connected to a computer, can update the database. They are ideal for use in manufacturing to monitor items passing along the production line or control which steps or processes an individual item has to go through.

In some cases RFID portals – consisting of an arrangement of two or more fixed readers – can be set up and used to update a co-existing system (for example an ERP system).

Fixed readers often have separate and sometimes multiple antennas to allow them to be configured precisely to the requirements of the installation. They can be connected to the system in various ways. A standard USB connection is ideal where the reader is close to a desktop computer or other counter top device, but they can also be connected using Bluetooth, wifi, Ethernet or similar local area networks.

Find out more about RFID portals and gateways in the distribution sector.

Embedded readers

Embedded RFID readers are ideal for companies wishing to integrate RFID into existing or new products. In this case readers or their component modules and antennae are built into the device to RFID enable it. Examples include readers embedded in doors, platform access gate mechanisms, industrial scales, printers and other machinery that needs to identify an authorised operator. These readers will often be quite simple devices, using the power supply of the host equipment and connected using simple data exchange protocols.

Mobile readers

Mobile readers offer greater flexibility, allowing workers to move around a building or scan items that might be out of reach of a fixed reader. They can be either standalone hand-held devices or readers designed to plug into a smartphone or mobile device.

Hand-held devices are usually selected on the basis of the work to be carried out or the nature of the environment. There is a wide range of readers available including more rugged devices that can withstand vibrations or shocks and can be used in wet or dusty environments.

Readers plugged into a smartphone or mobile device can also have integrated cameras, GPS and mobile phone functionality, making them powerful data collection devices and ideal for safety inspections or maintenance management. As the RFID reader adds as little as 30g to the weight of the device, it makes it easy to use without affecting other tasks.

Specialist and customised readers

Specialist readers are available to harsh or challenging environments, for example ATEX-compliant devices for areas where there is a risk of explosion. Where no standard product is available, CoreRFID can also develop readers to suit your needs.

As many different factors can affect a system’s performance, it is a good idea to trial the combination of tag and readers in the environment where they will operate. CoreRFID’s experts can advise on the choice of equipment and assist in carrying out trials.