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>> RFID Technology News >> What is rfid?

What is rfid?

     Radio frequency identification (RFID) is really a generic term that is used to explain a system that transmits the identity (in the form of a distinctive serial number) of an object or person wirelessly, using radio waves. It's grouped underneath the broad group of automatic identification technologies.
     Auto-ID technologies include barcode symbols, optical character readers plus some biometric technologies, such as retinal scans. The auto-ID technologies have been accustomed to reduce the amount of time and labor required to input data manually and also to improve data accuracy.
     Some auto-ID technologies, such as barcode systems, often require a person to manually scan a label or tag to capture the data. RFID is made to enable readers to capture data on tags and transmit it to some computer system awithout needing someone to be engaged.
Antennas read passive tags on cases stacked on the pallet.
     An average RFID tag consists of a microchip attached to a radio antenna installed on a substrate.The chip can store as much as 2 kilobytes of information. For instance, details about a product or shipment adate of manufacture, destination and sell-by date acan be written to some tag.
     To retrieve the data stored on an RFID tag, you'll need a reader. A typical reader is a tool which has one or more antennas that emit radio waves and receive signals back in the tag. The reader then passes the data in digital form to a computer system.
     RFID technologies have been utilized by a large number of companies for any decade or even more. (RFID Business Applications spells a few of the ways the technology continues to be and will be used). The technology is not new (see The Good reputation for RFID), why could it be taking off now?
     Until recently, the cost of RFID has limited its use. For many applications, such as tracking parts for just-in-time manufacturing, companies could justify the cost of tags aa dollar or more per tag aby the savings an RFID system could generate. So when RFID was utilized to track assets or reusable containers inside a company's own four walls, the tags could be reused.
     But for tracking goods in open supply chains, where RFID tags they fit on cases and pallets of products by one company and browse by another, cost is a major obstacle to adoption. Tags must, essentially, be disposable since the company putting them on cannot recycle them. They get trashed using the box. (Tags included in pallets might be reused, plus some companies are seeking to develop methods to recycle tags on corrugated cases.)
The Auto-ID Center
     In 1999, the Uniform Code Council and EAN International teamed with Gillette and Procter & Gamble to finance the Auto-ID Center in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The middle changed the equation by working with private industry to develop an RFID tag that might be very low cost (the goal was five cents) when produced in high volumes. This way, companies could put tags on everything they own after which connect these to the web through a secure network. The center eventual gained the backing from the U.S. Department of Defense and some 100 global companies, including Kimberly-Clark, Metro, Target, Tesco, Unilever, Wal-Mart. These businesses were attracted to RFID because it held out the potential of offering perfect supply chain visibility athe ability to be aware of precise location of any product anywhere in the supply chain at any time.
     The 5-cent tag is still many years away. Today tags cost from 20 to 40 cents, based on their features and packaging. (For more on this, see RFID Costs and Components). The Auto-ID Center's contribution went beyond attempting to create a cheap tag. It developed the Electronic Product Code (EPC), a numbering scheme that makes it possible to put a unique serial number on every item manufactured. It created a way for tags and readers to speak (the air interface protocol) and developed a network infrastructure that stores information inside a secure Internet database. A nearly unlimited quantity of data of a tag's serial number can be stored online, and anyone with access privileges can retrieve it. -
The Auto-ID Center handed off its technology to some non-profit organization called EPCglobal, which has made a second-generation air interface protocol and it is developing the network infrastructure anow called the EPCglobal Network ato enable companies to talk about data instantly. Here's how it will work. When Company A ships a pallet full of soda, the tags on the cases and pallet are scanned as the shipment leaves, and software is used to automatically let Company B know the shipment has left the warehouse. Company B can look up data associated with the ghd serial numbers on the shipment and learn what's coming, if this will arrive and so on. When Company B receives the shipment, it scans the tags automatically, and a message can be immediately delivered to Company A to allow it be aware of shipment arrived.
     The possibility efficiencies developed by this visibility are enormous. Companies would be able to reduce inventories while ensuring product is forever in the best place in the right time. And since no humans would need to scan the tags, labor costs and errors would be also greatly reduced.
     The grand vision would be to ultimately flip the availability chain around. Today, companies make goods with different monthly forecast. They then push the products out in to the logistics and hope they sell. If demand is greater compared to what they forecast, they lose sales. If it's under forecast, they've excess products which can be purchased baffled or thrown away.
     The goal is by using RFID to trace goods with the supply chain
It might be a lot more efficient if goods might be pulled through the supply chain based on real-time demand. RFID readers in stores would monitor the number of products are for sale. They would signal the backroom once the shelves get low and request more inventory be brought out. When inventory within the backroom gets low, readers there would signal the warehouse to send more product. When inventory in the warehouse gets low, readers would signal the manufacturer to transmit more product. And so on back with the manufacturer's suppliers.
     It's not clear if the vision can be fully achieved. The biggest obstacle may be the price of the tags. The Auto-ID Center did research suggesting the price of tags could fall to five cents when 30 billion tags are consumed annually. But 30 billion tags will never be consumed if the tags cost 25 cents or even more. Therefore the industry faces a chicken-and-egg problem atags won't get reduced until a lot of people use them, but a lot of people won't rely on them until they get cheap.
     Wal-Mart was the very first retailer to want suppliers to put tags on cases and pallets of products. In June 2003, it told its top 100 companies that they'd need to begin putting tags on shipments in January 2005. One reason Wal-Mart chose this approach was to solve the chicken-and-egg problem. If the giant retailer's top suppliers began buying tags, that will start to drive the price down. Lower prices would enable more companies to use we've got the technology. Then volumes would increase and costs would fall further.
Why RFID Is Hot
     Wal-Mart's push to make use of RFID in the open logistics is a huge reason the technology is hot today. But it's only some of the reason. Several important factors came together around the same time. The first is the advances in ultra-high frequency RFID systems. UHF systems can deliver the read range required for supply chain applications, such as scanning tags on products as pallets are moved via a dock door or scanning cases on a high shelf inside a warehouse.
     Another factor was the efforts by the Auto-ID Center to build up a system that's low cost and based on open standards. They are prerequisites for that use of RFID in open supply chains, in which a company puts a tag on the product, and it is read by others within the logistics.
     And finally the ubiquity from the Internet is a vital (and often overlooked factor). The Auto-ID Center remarked that the Internet might be used to enable companies to talk about details about the place of products within the logistics. Prior to the Auto-ID Center proposed the EPCglobal Network, there wasn't any way for Company A to let Company B know that it has shipped something, and there wasn't any way for Company B to allow Company A realize that the product has arrived.
     Using the network, companies can't only identify products within the logistics, they are able to share information about the place of products. Company A, for instance, could let Company B see ain real time awhat is within Company A's warehouse. Or Company A could let Company B know automatically that goods were scanned leaving the warehouse and will get to Company B's facility the next day. It is this capability to share details about the place of merchandise anywhere in the availability chain which makes RFID a potentially powerful technology.

* Oprfid.com is a professional RFID card and NFC tags manufacturer in China. We can provides many types of RFID cards, RFID tag and smart card with various frequency in different shapes. Any inquiry, please send email to info@oprfid.com, thanks!

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