This post was last updated on November 21st, 2022 at 05:47 pm
RFID tags for every business need
RFID tags offer a quick and easy way to identify individual assets – whether that is an item of equipment, a batch of materials or an office laptop. Each tag incorporates an electronic chip that provides a unique identity. Once attached to the asset, it can be linked to a central database system to provide a complete asset management system.
There is a huge range of RFID tag types and formats available to suit almost every location, including underwater or extreme environments, and different sizes and shapes from wrist bands and miniature versions to larger, more robust tags. The CoreRFID team can advise on choosing the right tags and we produce customised tags for special requirements.
Data capacity of tags
Tags have a relatively low data storage capacity so applications need to be carefully designed. Usually the data held on the tag is linked to an external database where additional data about the item is stored.
However different types of tags have different data capacities. Typically low frequency (LF) tags have 224 bits to circa 1k bits of user memory, rising to 2k bits for high frequency (HF) tags and 64k bits for ultra-high frequency (UHF) tags.
Tags can be read only – supplied with pre-coded identity data only – or writable, which allows for limited updating of information on the tag. Applications requiring writing to the tags need to be carefully designed since write performance is relatively slow.
Passive vs active tags
Passive tags are the most common type of RFID tags and are activated by the power source from the reader. Therefore they do not require batteries, have a very long life and can be made small enough to be incorporated in miniature devices. Typically, they can be read up to about 10m away.
Active tags have their own power source and are designed for longer distances or more specialist applications.
Different types and formats
Different tags have the ability to cope with different physical environments – such as shock and vibration, exposure to magnetic fields, moisture, hazardous chemicals and even where there is a risk of explosions (ATEX compliant). When choosing a tag for a particular area, it is also important to consider the performance required and the application.
Tags are also available in different formats including for use by individuals (such as participants in a game or visitors to a museum) and can be branded with your company logo – for example credit cards, key-ring fobs, wristbands, laundry tags, self-adhesive labels or roll-mounted tickets that can be printed as they are issued.
How to choose the right tags
The type of tags you choose will depend on a whole range of factors, for example:
The environment – is it inside or outside and what range of temperatures will it be subject to? Does it need to be waterproof or withstand extreme weather? Will it be exposed to dirt, grease or chemicals?
Size – this will often depend on the item it is attached to and the available space. The size of a tag will also determine antenna size, which can affect the range and speed at which it can be read and the read reliability rates.
Reader speed – will it be passing the reader very quickly and do you need to scan multiple tags at once?
Find out more about choosing the right RFID tags and technology.
RFID tags vs barcodes
Both RFID tags and barcodes can identify individual items and both can be used as part of an asset management system. So what is the difference? RFID tags offer a number of benefits over barcodes. They can be read from further away, they are more durable and able to withstand harsher environments. They can read faster and multiple tags can be read at once. However barcodes tend to be cheaper and are adequate for some applications.
Read our guide on how to choose between barcodes and RFID.
Standard tags are available to suit most applications – however sometimes a custom tag is required. There are three main ways in which tags can be tailored to specific needs. The casing can be adapted, for example where the tag needs to be part of an assembly or to display your corporate brand; the chip and antenna can be customised to achieve optimum performance; or the coding can be specially written to enable the tag to store more data. CoreRFID has years of experience in developing custom tags for many applications.
Find out more about our customised tag development service.