WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER RFID?
Over the next 10 years, many organizations will have implemented RFID either to comply with customer demands / industry standards, or to benefit from operational advantages that the technology offers in identification & tracking of products, people, equipment, assets, tools, documents etc.
R.F.I.D. can completely automate some business processes or at the very least dramatically reduce the time taken to perform traditionally very manual business processes (e.g. I.T. asset audits).
Therefore it can also eliminate or significantly reduce the human involvement (e.g. tool & equipment tracking or check-in / check-out).
This technology has the potential to provide a rapid return on investment, if implemented with an experienced technology partner like Comware.
However if implemented poorly or without a “big picture” view, it may fail to deliver reasonable business benefits.
While it is crucial to evaluate tags and reader hardware in your specific environment before deploying RFID, a key to a successful implementation is fully understanding your business processes that will, or can be improved by its introduction.
This is where Comware’s approach differs from many of our competitors.
WHAT IS RFID?
Radio Frequency Identification is a form of contact-less Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) technology.
R.F.I.D.is often mistaken as a single, simple technology, however it is actually a general classification for some similar, but also very different technologies that have one main attribute in common………..transmission of data by radio waves.
R.F.I.D. was originally developed for specialized asset tracking and access control applications (known as “closed” systems) and now in conjunction with the development of international standards, is being implemented in Supply Chain Logistics applications (known as “open” systems) to replace &/or co-exist with barcodes.
Like barcodes, R.F.I.D. is best suited to applications where tag “reading” conditions are very predictable & repeatable, however unlike barcodes, R.F.I.D. is ideal for fully automated data capture.
R.F.I.D. is also better than barcodes for non “line of sight” tag reading, however as metals & liquids have both positive & negative effects on radio waves, specialist advice & design is a crucial factor in ensuring a reliable system is implemented.
In recent years there has been significant increase in choice and capability of UHF tags, readers and associated items so this has become the clear
choice for most asset solutions.
There are 2 distinctly different methods of capturing data from RFID tags: Fixed RFID and Mobile RFID.
Fixed RFID typically refers to where tagged items are “scanned” or read when moved past a fixed reading point or through a fixed reading portal that is directly connected to a computer or via a network.
The tag data is processed by RFID “middleware” software which can be integrated with a spreadsheet or database.
Mobile RFID typically refers to where tagged items are stationary and the hand-held reader is moved around to scan the tags in range.
The tag data is processed by RFID software on the hand-held which can be integrated with a spreadsheet or database.
The most common transactions where RFID is used and the methods adopted are:
– check-in / check-out [Fixed RFID]
– audit or stock take [Mobile RFID]
– locate or find [Mobile RFID]
– track and monitor [Fixed RFID]
Passive UHF RFID tags suitable for assets that are issued from a store (e.g. power tools) are typically very durable, small in size and have “real world” read ranges of somewhere between 0.5m – 3.0m
The actual read range depends on many factors including:
– Tag (antenna) size
– Tag orientation
– Tags proximity to metal and other “shielding’ materials (often other tagged items)
– Reader type, power, orientation
Like everything technology based there are always exceptions and so it is always best to discuss your application with us so that we can advise you on the best solution.
RFID SMART LABELS AND TAGS
R.F.I.D. Tags can be used with or instead of barcodes.
While the most common method of attaching tags is using self-adhesive materials this is not always suitable or possible-it must be reasonably quick, easy and permanent
Other methods include:
Plastic or wire cable ties
2 part epoxy adhesive or other industrial glues
Silicon or similar waterproof products
Rivets or screws
There are literally thousands of different tags available, many with quite unique characteristics.
Un-powered (passive) or battery powered (battery assisted passive or active)
Read & Write
STANDARD AND CUSTOM DESIGNED RFID READER SYSTEMS
Mobile RFID enabled computers
Custom made portals or reader gantrys
Desk top or wall mounted
RFID PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
RFID Business Process Consulting (Analysis)
No RFID solution is possible without first understanding your business processes. With our background in business process improvement and our RFID experience, the best benefit of utilizing RFID may lie in updating your processes and practices.
RFID System Design
With our understanding of your business processes, our extensive integration experience and our knowledge of the various RFID technologies, Comware will design a custom solution that best addresses your needs and requirements. Our design, which covers everything from the hardware and software to integration services, is guaranteed to meet your specifications.
RFID Implementation Roadmap
The Roadmap consists of the steps required for implementing the system design. It outlines the recommended hardware and software, along with the necessary installation and integration services necessary for a successful project.
RFID Pilot (Proof of Concept)
As every RFID project has subtly different requirements (such as item types, environmental characteristics, client expectations, acceptance criteria etc.), our recommendation is to pilot the technology first.
Comware can fulfill all the roles required for implementation, from project management and hardware fulfillment to reader configuration and backend integration. Comware is a reseller of many of the top RFID hardware manufacturers, both passive and active.
Comware has the experience and knowledge to provide RFID software. Whether you require basic solutions or middleware integration, Comware has the capability.
RFID Support and Training
Once your project has been implemented, Comware is still there for you. We can help train your staff on the new system. We also provide both hardware and software support along with additional support packages