Increase visibility and accuracy of the supply chain by providing real-time visibility to product flow with SmartX HUB RFID
There are three basic elements of an RFID system: tags, readers & antennas and software with a number of options available for each component. Simply put, an RFID tag, like a bar code, stores information but has the capacity to store considerably more information than bar codes. RFID tags exchange information with RFID fixed or mobile readers by radio signal or radio frequency (RF).
RFID technology is a natural fit for some applications offering incremental benefits and works in a complementary fashion, or partners with bar codes in others. Although RFID tags and bar codes provide similar data capture functionality, there are a number of differences:
At the heart of any RFID system is the tag, also known as the transponder. Two types of tags and their variants – active and passive – dominate the marketplace and are designed for specific applications. Active tags are battery powered with on-board battery power sources, contain up to hundreds of kilobytes of memory and can communicate data over longer ranges than passive tags. The tags are always on and always talking.
Active tags, especially because of the built-in batteries, are far more expensive than passive tags. Active tags have been used for years and are typically used in long-range tracking applications and to track high-value inventory.
Companies managing their supply chains primarily focus on passive UHF RFID tags. These passive tags, because their low cost and relatively long read ranges (up to 25 feet), offer the best performance/value ratio across the supply chain.
Passive tags communicate with readers leveraging backscatter technology and are “beam powered”, meaning they derive all of their operational power from the RF environment. The RFID reader generates a radio signal and broadcasts it via the connected antenna configured in a radio frequency (RF) field. A tag, with an on-board antenna senses the radio signal and is energized; releasing its preprogrammed data and reflecting it back to the reader via a modulated radio signal. The reader then decodes the reflected signal, aggregates the data and passes the data to the host system. It all happens in an instant.
There are various types of readers including mobile handheld devices, fixed-mounted readers and vehicle-mounted readers — and form-factor variations of each. The environment, application and
a customer’s individual supply chain requirements will determine the choice of reader. Choosing the best reader for the job will optimize performance. It is not a one-tool-fits-all equation.
A reader that is right for a high-speed conveyor in a factory might not be the best tool for a chilly, 1.2 million square foot warehouse that is densely filled with RFID tagged cartons and pallets.
A fixed reader would more likely be deployed for applications at the dock door such as shipping/ receiving or aligned along a conveyor belt as part of a work-in-process application.
Handheld RFID readers are typically used where the most flexibility is required. For example, exception processing, stock picking, price audits or price changes are typical
applications for a handheld RFID reader. Basically, a handheld makes sense when it is more convenient to bring the reader to the item. Multi-protocol readers provide the capability to read Gen 2 tags, Advanced RFID readers will provide a firmware upgrade capability to Gen 2 and will be dense-reader mode certified by EPCglobal.
Read ranges between tags and readers vary and the user should look for readers that offer longer read ranges as well as higher yield quality and flexible orientation. A reader offering a more industrial design is better prepared to face the challenges of real- world use; and in addition, look for readers that offer multi-reader modes, particularly densereader modes if the work environment is operating a large number of readers in a small area.
Readers are also offered as reader systems or packaged systems which deploy readers in multiple form factors including portal systems, conveyor systems and vehicle-mounted (e.g. forklift) readers. Packaged systems provide turnkey solutions which are designed for rapid enterprise deployment. Point product solution offerings are characteristic of early market technology. In order for RFID to reach broad, mainstream deployment, RFID solution vendors must offer packaged solutions to minimize the deployment complexity.
SmartX HUB is a next generation RFID software platform for data collection.
It is a cloud-based asset tracking platform that leverages various AIDC technologies for data collection and analysis. The technologies include RFID, Barcodes and more. SmartX HUB improves the asset tracking process and eliminates the manual entry errors using RFID or Barcode technologies. It keeps track of full life cycle (Receiving to Consumed / Disposed) of your assets including scheduled maintenance or repair.
At the heart of the platform is Link HUB, a RFID Middleware software component that includes extensive reader management and enterprise grade integration capabilities. In conjunction, there is a business suite of software applications to solve everyday business needs with vertical based workflows, reporting, analytical and dashboard capabilities.
Now is the right time to invest in RFID. Choosing the right vendor for your enterprise operations is a critical business decision that will impact your bottom line. The right decision will mean the difference between implementation success or failure.
SmartX HUB’s RFID expertise goes beyond products. SmartX HUB understands the supply chain and has the deep vertical market expertise to ensure proper system design. Alongside our partners, we’ve focused on just that — helping companies implement solutions that enhance the efficiency of their supply chain.