What is RFID technology and how does it work?
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. Behind these acronyms, which define what RFID allows, is a technology capable of storing, recovering and re-recording an immense amount of data (up to four million characters and thousands of bytes) on a small chip and transmitting them through radio waves or radio frequency.
RFID also allows the chip to incorporate a unique Electronic Product Code (EPC) for each product.
In addition, the transmission of information is automatically and absolutely secure. This avoids almost 100% the errors of identification of a product, a key issue in businesses with sensitive goods, such as the pharmaceutical, health or food sector.
RFID is, to sum up, a wireless communication system between a transmitter and a receiver. The peculiarity of this system is that thanks to technological developments such as those of Bionix Technologies, it allows to record, store and transmit a huge amount of data automatically in seconds and incorporate them in real time into the management programs of companies or organizations.
Unlike other identification systems such as the barcode, one of the greatest advances that RFID technology has brought with it is that it allows a massive reading without physical contact between the sender and the receiver, but totally safe. It is capable of inventorying each of the items on a pallet, even though it is surrounded by meters and meters of plastic and the information cannot be deciphered or manipulated by third parties.
For all this, RFID is the technology that best ensures the traceability of any kind of object and has been a true revolution in supply chain management.
What is an RFID system?
An RFID system is composed of at least:
RFID technology has a very simple operation. The reader sends a radio frequency signal that activates a request for information to the label or labels of the established range of action. These labels send the information by radio frequency to the reader, who interprets it and in some cases edits it to add information on the traceability of the product before sending it to the data processing system.
This RFID Middleware acts as a link for all components and is responsible for incorporating the information collected into the organization’s management system.
And the best thing is that this whole process takes a few seconds, much less than it took us to explain it to you.
There are different types of cards and readers, depending on the needs of the organization in which they are going to be implemented. At Bionix Technologies, we have different devices adapted to each need that we also customize to respond to the requirements of each client, whether it is a large company or a small business.
What applications does RFID technology have?
Radio frequency identification technology has multiple applications and uses, thanks to the fact that the labels are small in size and can be attached or integrated into almost any object, even a living being.
Precisely for this reason, it is a technology that is present in our lives and our environment, probably much more than you imagine. Here are some of the common uses of RFID:
- Credit cards
- Pet identification microchips
- Cattle microchips
- Traceability for all kinds of items (food, clothing, medicine, etc.)
- Payment methods
- Health and geriatric centers
- Logistics centers
At Bionix we create RFID technology to provide solutions to numerous industries.
There are three types or classes of RFID tags depending on whether or not they have a power source:
- Passive tags: they do not have their own power source but are activated with the energy of the external wave created by the antenna and the RFID reader. They are short-range tags, their reading range (0-15 meters away) is limited by the transmitted power necessary to make the chip activate. It is perhaps the most common type of label due to the dimensions in which it can be printed and its price.
- Active tags: they have their own power source which allows them to constantly transmit a signal and therefore have a higher reading range (up to 100 meters). It is the most expensive type of tag due to the cost of its battery and transmitter.
- Semi-active tags: : this type of label, like passive labels, is activated by the signal received from the RFID reader, but unlike these they have a battery that powers the chip and allows it to store information and respond quickly. and safe. They have a higher reading range than passive labels but at the same time their cost is higher and their useful life is shorter due to the built-in battery. Any type of tag has a chip and an antenna. The union of the RFID chip and the antenna, be it engraved, attached or printed, is what is called the RFID inlay.
Any type of tag has a chip and an antenna. The union of the RFID chip and the antenna, be it engraved, attached or printed, is what is called the RFID inlay.
|Passive tags||Active tags||Semi-active tags|
|Tag power source||Enery trasnfer from the reader via RF||Internal||Internal power source to power on, and energy transferred from the reader via RF to backscatter|
|Reading range||Low (up to 15 m)||High (up to 100 m or more)||Medium (up to 100 m)|
RFID tags can transmit at various frequencies, the most commonly used are the following:
- Ultra High Frequency (UHF): UHF systems cover a frequency range from 300 Mhz to 3 Ghz. RAIN RFID systems operate in the frequencies between the 860 Mhz to 960 Mhz range, complying with the UHF GS1 EPC Gen2 standard (ISO 18000-63). There are differences between regions, in Europe the use of a frequency of 868 Mhz has been standardized, while in the United States the standard is 915 Mhz (not allowed in Europe). The reading range can reach 12 meters or up to 100 meters on active tags, with fast data transmission. UHF RFID tags are the most economical with respect to the other frequencies, although they are very sensitive to interference caused by objects, buildings or infrastructures. The applications of UHF RFID tags are usually for sectors such as retail, logistics, healthcare and pharmaceutical industry for traceability, inventory, item location and records.
- High Frequency (HF): the frequency range of HF RFID tags goes from 3 Mhz to 30 Mhz. It commonly uses the 13.56 Mhz frequency, which is the one used by NFC systems. Its reading range goes from 10 cm to 1 m and its sensitivity to interference affects it moderately. This type of label is typically used for payment cards, tickets, and data transfer applications. There are several standards for HF RFID tags such as ECMA-340, ISO / IEC 18092, ISO / IEC 14443 A, ISO / IEC14443, and JIS X 6319-4.
- Low Frequency (LF): RFID LF tags cover the frequency range from 30 Khz to 300 Khz, although they normally operate on the 125 Khz or 134 Khz frequency. They have a short reading range, up to 10 cm, with a slow speed, but very well resistant to possible interferences. There are various standards such as ISO 14223 or ISO / IEC 18000-2. They are often used for access control and the identification and traceability of animals.
|Ultra High Frecuency (UHF)||High Frecuency (HF)||Low Frecuency (LF)|
|Frecuency range||From 300 Mhz to 3 Ghz 868
915 Mhz (USA)
|From 3 Mhz to 30 Mhz
(13,56 Mhz standard)
|From 30 Khz to 300 Khz
(Normally 125 Khz or 134 Khz)
|Reading range||Up to 12 meters (passive)
Up to 100 meters (actives)
|From 10 cm to 1 m||Up to 10 cm|
|Cost||Between 0,05 – 0,15€||Between 0,10 – 0,75€||Between 0,10 – 0,75€|
|Industries||Retail, Logistics, Health, Pharmaceutical||Banking, Leisure, Laundry||Industrial, Livestock, Laundry|
registration of pallets and containers,
anti-theft, entry and exit control
|Access control, traceability,
identification, assembly line management
How to implement RFID?
An RFID project will have several implementation phases, from an initial phase of rethinking processes and defining the necessary infrastructure, until the selection of the tag, installation of equipment, integration of software until the correct operation of the entire system is reached.
It is a process in which the company and the supplier, in this case Bionix, will work together to reach the solution that best suits the company and facilitate the company’s transition to greater digitization.
In our blog we tell you all the steps of an RFID technology implementation project.
How does Bionix Technologies RFID technology benefit your business?
- Acquire data in real time, reliable information, updated and without errors and help your company's responsibles to make accurate decisions.
- By refining data management and improving execution through industrial automation, costs are minimized.
- At Bionix we offer you our technology and tools to improve production capacity and comply with traceability and security standards.