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RFID Checkout Best Practices

RFID can significantly speed up your asset checkout processes. Scanning every asset with barcodes is a slow process. Assets that have RFID tags on them can be rapidly read.

This guide will point out many of the best practices that should be followed to get the most reliable RFID checkout system as possible

Tag Selection

RFID Tag selection is a process that should be followed when a project is first starting out.

 

Be careful here. Choosing the wrong tags for your assets can mean the different between a reliable and unreliable system.

Performing an asset analysis

It is important to carefully analyze the assets that you want to track with RFID. 

  • Surface composition - Some RFID tags won't work on metal. Others are designed just for that purpose.

  • Make sure the tags you are selecting will fit on your assets.

  • Do you need to print human readable information on your RFID tags? You may need an RFID Printer.

Learn more about the tag selection process

Checkout Configurations

An RFID checkout workstation is concerned with checking assets in and out. An RFID reader will always be associated with this event.

 

There are three main checkout configurations for these operations:

  • Mobile Scanner

  • Fixed Reader Station

  • Fully Automated Station

Mobile Scanner

A mobile scanner is a highly attractive option for performing checkout operations. 

Because the mobile scanner has both screen and RFID scanner built into it, no other hardware is needed.

  • Checkout operations can be done at any physical location

  • Scanner can switch between RFID and barcodes for scanning

  • Scanner can operate in batch mode if Wi-Fi not available

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Mobile scanner performing a checkout

Fixed Reader Station

The Fixed Reader Station configuration is also a very popular choice for performing checkout operations.

Fixed Reader Station Hardware:

  • Fixed RFID Reader - Typically mounted on a wall close to the computer station.

  • Computer station - Wall-mounted touchscreen computers are a popular choice.

  • Smart Card Reader - This optional component reads employee smart card badges and is useful for quickly identifying who is checking out assets.

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Checking out assets at Fixed Reader Station

Fully Automated Station

The Fully Automated Station is designed for companies that don't want to require their users to interface with any user interface at all. 

The Fully Automated Station only relies on a strategically placed RFID Reader.

  • As assets are walked past the RFID Reader, they are identified for processing.

  • The software system is configured to be able to infer directionality and therefore perform either a check-in or checkout operation.

  • Users with RFID badges may also be associated with the checkout operation.

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A Fully Automated Checkout Station

The Fully Automated Station is simple, but has limitations.

No user interface means that there is no feedback for the user on whether the asset RFID tags were read correctly. Careful analysis of the environment must be performed to ensure that RFID tags will be read to acceptable accuracy.

Associating a user RFID badge read with the checkout operation is especially tricky. What if the user is walking with a colleague? An automated system like this must make a tough choice on who to assign the checkout operation to.

Have more questions about RFID checkout?