RFID is an abbreviation of “Radio-Frequency Identification”. This is a technology that allows for digital data to be encoded in and read multiple times in RFID labels.
RFID labels (tags) are most commonly used for the identification and tracking of objects, products or goods. They are attached or built into the products and thus give them an individual digital identification.
RFID tags consist of two main components - an antenna that sends and receives signals and a chip (integrated circuit) that stores the recorded digital information (may contain a serial number, product information, batch, production date, etc.)
RFID tags are divided into passive and active.
Passive tags are powered by the antenna of the reader. They are the most widely used type as they are cheaper and easy to use. Smart tags are passive RFID tags, which are self-adhesive paper or foil labels with a built-in antenna and chip, and combine both technologies - RFID and barcode. They can be printed and encoded with a thermal transfer barcode printer with a built-in RFID module. Labels can also be pre-printed through flexographic or other conventional technology, after which the antenna and chip can be integrated.
Active RFID tags are powered by a built-in battery, which can be solar. They are used in specific applications, can reach a greater reading range and are usually tags. They may have integrated optional electronics, sensors and even a microprocessor and communication ports, depending on their purpose.
One of the advantages of the RFID technology compared to barcode labels is the ability to read multiple labels simultaneously in a very short time without requiring the RFID reader to have direct visual contact with the label. Products can be identified even when they are in boxes on pallets or on shelves. By comparison, when using a barcode, the reader reads the labels one by one and in direct line of sight.
Another advantage of this technology is the ability to repeatedly record and change information in one and the same smart label and the volume of this information can be many times higher than the data recorded even in a 2D barcode.
RFID tags are used in various industries:
Trade and production of clothing and garments, cosmetics, pharmacy and the food industry:
• For easier and faster inventory in retail outlets and supply chains;
• To protect the brand from counterfeit - each RFID tag has a unique identification number that cannot be copied or modified;
• For more information on the origin of the product and its ingredients;
• To participate in promotions;
• To create a closer personalized relation between the brand and the end user.
In logistics, electronics, and the aviation and automotive industries RFID technologies are rapidly entering the market with the primary purpose of accurately locating and tracking shipments, luggage, spare parts, components or finished products from beginning to end. In addition to rapid and precise inventory, the use of RFID tags in these industries can also be used to protect against counterfeit, fraud and theft.
Because of its high reliability, RFID technology is becoming the basis for building track and trace systems, and more and more companies put their trust in this technology.