Passive RFID Tracking Solution
Why are RFID Passive Tags better than barcodes for RFID Tracking?
Barcodes have to be read one at a time whereas RFID Tags can be read at rate of hundreds at a time!
How many hours does your staff spends time searching for files, high value asset, assets being checked in and out or tracking chain of custody assets every month? The AssetWorx RFID Asset Tracking application can help you reduce the amount of time and money in locating and managing important files. No matter the size of your company, losing important items can be a significant problem. AssetWorx is a great option to help companies track items more effectively and efficiently than the typical bar-code systems used today.
Passive RFID Tracking Overview
Passive RFID tracking systems consist of a combination of various hardware and software choices.
RFID Tags - These are the tags that are being attached to the assets you wish to track.
RFID Printers - For printing onto RFID Tags
RFID Readers - For reading the RFID Tags
RFID Software - The software system that drives all of the hardware
3 Types of Passive RFID Tracking Hardware
RFID Readers enable RFID tracking of RFID tags. The readers emit radio waves which power the RFID Tags, allowing them to be read.
Mobile Readers are handheld readers designed to read RFID tags. They are typically configured as an RFID gun where you pull the trigger to start reading RFID tags nearby.
Integrated Mobile Reader
Sled Mobile Reader
There are two primary kinds of mobile readers that can enable RFID tracking:
Integrated mobile readers - The reader and screen are integrated into one device. These units tend to be more user friendly, but also more expensive.
Sled mobile readers - These readers allow you to dock a phone or tablet onto the reader. They tend to be less expensive, but configuration is more complex and you have to worry about two battery sources running out.
Fixed Readers are designed to be mounted on a wall or ceiling. Fixed Readers have ports where RFID Antennas can be attached. Integrated Fixed Readers have the reader and RFID antennas bundled up into a single package. These readers need to wiring for power and/or to be put on the network. RFID Tracking is enabled whenever an RFID Tag comes within range of the Fixed Reader.
4-port Impinj Fixed Reader
Integrated Fixed Reader
RFID Printers are designed to print human readable information on RFID labels as well as program the RFID tag. RFID Printers aren't always needed for an RFID Tracking project. Pre-commissioned RFID Tags can be used as well which are ready to use.
RFID Printer Variations
Mobile RFID Printers - These are printers that you carry around with you, allowing you to print on the go.
Desktop - Designed to be used in a typical office setting. These printers allow for a small to mid number of RFID tags to be printed.
Industrial - Industrial RFID Printers are designed for high volume printing of RFID tags. This type of printer is appropriate if printing 10,000+ RFID tags per day.
Zebra ZT421 RFID Printer
When moving forward with an RFID printer, it is very important to choose the right combination of RFID printer and RFID tag. Some tags won't work with certain printers. Buying the wrong combination can put your RFID tracking project on hold. It is best to consult with an expert for guidance.
Passive RFID Tags are attached to assets that need to be tracked. Passive RFID Tags don't have batteries. Instead RFID tracking is enabled by an external RFID Reader.
Wrapping a label around the RFID inlay creates an RFID Label. RFID Labels can be combined with an RFID Printer to simultaneously print human readable information as well as encode the RFID tag.
RFID Label Example
Wrapping a protective encasement around the RFID Inlay transforms it into an RFID tag. RFID Tags can be designed to be highly ruggedized, capable of withstanding many harsh environments.
Choosing the right passive RFID tag
Passive RFID tags have a wide range of manufacturers and types to choose from. Choosing the correct passive tag can be a little overwhelming because of all the variables you have to take into account. Choosing the right tags is critical to ensure success of your RFID Tracking project.
How much available area do you have on your assets? RFID Tags come in a wide range of sizes and each asset needs to be considered based on how much real estate is on your asset. Rule of thumb is the smaller the RFID tag the less the read range.
Types of material need to be considered on all assets receiving an RFID tag. Passive RFID interacts with different types of surfaces. Metal requires metal mount RFID tags, which are more expensive and impact the read range.
How will the tags be used? What type of environment will they be operating in? Some passive RFID tags are designed for high temperatures up to 300 degrees.
Some use cases require tags to be hemmed into garments, which requires them to be waterproof as well as withstanding high temperature washes thousands of times.
RFID Tracking Software
RFID software is the piece that will coordinate with all of the various hardware components. Sometimes a custom software application is needed, but most of the time InfinID Technology recommends AssetWorx as the RFID sofware choice for RFID Tracking.
RFID Software Solution
Tracking and managing your company's physical assets is essential, but it's also labor intensive, which means time away from your core business and lost revenue. The good news is there's a way to manage your assets quickly and efficiently with an affordable investment. AssetWorx RFID tracking software is the most powerful software on the market today. AssetWorx works with Passive RFID, Active RFID, as well as a combination of both technologies.
Common AssetWorx Workflows
A checkout station is designed to check assets out and back in again. RFID Tracking helps dramatically speed up the checkout process. This makes it so employees are more likely to use the checkout system!
There are two different configurations for checkout stations:
Checkout With Mobile Scanner
A mobile scanner is a very popular option as a checkout station. The AssetWorx mobile app runs on the handheld and makes scanning the assets that will be checkout out very fast and easy. This option also allows for a mobile checkout station which is very flexible.
Mobile scanner performing a checkout
Checkout With Fixed Reader Station
The Fixed Reader Station configuration is also a very popular choice for performing checkout operations.
The fixed reader station typically has a fixed RFID reader as well as a touch screen computer mounted to the wall.
A smart card reader can also be coupled with the system for reading employee badges. This is used to identify who is checking assets in or out.
Checking out assets at Fixed Reader Station
Speed Up Inventories
Periodic inventories are done with mobile RFID readers. The user goes from location to location performing inventories.
Inventory screen starts out showing what assets are expected.
As user walks around room with mobile reader, the scanner rapidly reads RFID Tags in room.
User is able to drasticly speed up inventory times compared to using regular barcodes.
Periodic inventory screen example
Users at various locations performing rapid asset inventories
Set up fixed RFID readers at strategic points enabled RFID tracking, visibility of asset movements and automatic location updates.
Because passive RFID tags have limited range, it is very important to properly analyze your environment to have realistic expectations.
Room level tracking is one of the most reliable approaches for location tracking with passive RFID.
Fixed RFID readers are placed at room entrances to intercept any tags moving through.
Each Fixed reader can cost more than $2,000 so from a budget perspective, room level tracking is best suited to environments that don't have too many rooms they need to track.
RFID tracking at a room level is a very common application of a fixed RFID reader.
Open Space Environment
The problem with RFID tracking in an open space environment is that because there are so many paths that people can take, it is difficult to make sure that RFID tags will come within range of a fixed RFID reader.
Users will often attach fixed RFID readers in a grid format to be able to provide general location awareness of their assets.
Another approach is to attach fixed RFID readers at important locations, such as work benches, where you know the asset will have to travel to.