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RFID Technology: Its Significance & Application for Asset Tracking

Prem KhatriBy: Prem Khatri

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Tracking and managing assets is important in any industry. Traditionally, asset tracking involves barcode labels, serial numbers, or spreadsheets. However, today's technology allows for more efficient tracking.

RFID, or radio frequency identification, transmits information using electromagnetic fields. This technology has evolved over the years and will continue to improve in the future. RFID systems are a cost-effective, practical option for asset tracking.

Technical Understanding of RFID

RFID technology uses radio waves to transmit data between a tag and a reader. The RFID tag is a small tracker that can be placed onto virtually any item to collect and send information about it.

The reader is the device responsible for transmitting and receiving the radio waves that communicate with the tag. An antenna converts the reader's signal to radio frequency waves, which allows the tag to pick up the signal. Then, the tag sends data back to the reader.

There are three main frequency ranges used for transmitting information: low frequency, high frequency, and ultra-high frequency.

Low Frequency

Low frequency devices have a range between 30 and 300 kHz. A single low frequency tag is very inexpensive to produce, sometimes costing less than a dollar. These tags can only be read within a short range of about 10 centimeters, though. Their memory storage capacities are limited, too.

High Frequency

High frequency devices have a range of around 13.5 MHz. These tags have a read range of around 30 centimeters, and they offer more memory storage than low frequency tags. The cost varies dramatically. A single tag can be priced as low as 20 cents and as high as $10.

Ultra-High Frequency

Ultra high frequency tags have a range of 300 to 3,000 MHz. These are the most powerful RFID tags with the widest range. There are two primary types of ultra-high frequency tags: passive and active.

Passive tags can be read at around 25 meters. They don't have their own power source, so they are instead powered with the radio frequency energy from the RFID antennae. These tags are often used in supply chain tracking and inventory management.

Active tags have a built-in power source and a read range of over 30 meters. Some active RFID tags can be read from 100 meters away. These are the most expensive tags, but they also offer the most value. They are highly useful for asset management because they can collect, store, and transmit a wide variety of data.

Technical Understanding of RFID

How RFID Applies to an Asset Tracking System

RFID technology is an efficient, cost-effective tracking method. An RFID asset tracking system allows for data storage and transmission from every single item. The tags can send information in real-time regarding the location or other conditions, so these systems are highly valuable. Companies use RFID systems to monitor and manage all kinds of assets.

Active tags are the best option for asset tracking because of their wide read range. Location tracking is one of the most common uses for RFID tags, but they can also transmit important information like temperature and humidity. This is helpful for monitoring assets in harsh environments and ensuring that the conditions are safe for the items.

RFID technology allows for more than just inventory tracking, too. While many companies use RFID tags to monitor their goods along the supply chain, the system can also monitor trucks, forklifts, or other transportation assets that enter and exit the facility.

RFID tracking systems may look different depending on the size, value, or quantity of the assets as well as the industry involved. If the assets have to withstand harsh weather or other conditions, high-quality and durable tags are necessary. Small items that remain indoors can probably use cheaper and simpler tags.

The read range also is a major factor in choosing the type of tags. Most asset management systems use ultra-high frequency tags because they allow for accurate long-distance reading.

RFID systems are surpassing barcodes in popularity for asset tracking and inventory management. RFID tags don't have to be in the line of sight of the reader, so they're much easier and faster to work with.

Benefits of RFID Asset Tracking in the Supply Chain

RFID technology provides a number of benefits compared to other asset tracking systems. Here are some of the best advantages of RFID asset tracking:

Reports Data Quickly and Accurately

RFID tags are the best way to get accurate information in real-time about inventory and assets. This system can provide regular location updates without needing to manually scan a barcode, so there's less room for human error. It can also send immediate alerts for issues like high humidity.

Reduces Theft and Loss

RFID helps companies easily track their assets at all points along the supply chain. This greatly reduces the room for error, loss, or theft. By preventing these issues with an RFID system, companies can save thousands of dollars. They also will spend less time tracking down lost or stolen assets, which saves on labor costs.

Increases Visibility

It's difficult to manage assets that can't be seen. RFID allows employees to accurately locate every single item in a facility, even those that are out of arm's reach or out of the line of sight. This can significantly improve organization and streamline the supply chain.

Improves Productivity

RFID saves employees time because they don't have to manually track assets. Instead of spending all their time on tedious tasks like scanning barcodes or searching for misplaced items, workers can focus their efforts on other important jobs. This improves productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

No matter the industry, an RFID asset tracking system is a valuable way to monitor assets and prevent losses. Implementing an RFID system is a major project, but the results are well worth the investment. As the technology becomes more advanced, more and more businesses will make the switch to RFID tracking to protect their assets, organize their facilities, and increase productivity.

Disclaimer:

Chetu, Inc. does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of specific names for software, companies or individuals does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. All case studies and blogs are written with the full cooperation, knowledge and participation of the individuals mentioned. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.

Chetu was incorporated in 2000 and is headquartered in Florida. We deliver World-Class Software Development Solutions serving entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 clients. Our services include process and systems design, package implementation, custom development, business intelligence and reporting, systems integration, as well as testing, maintenance and support. Chetu's expertise spans across the entire IT spectrum.

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