How Does RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Work?

Imagine going shopping in a grocery store and not having to wait in a long queue for someone to click up every single item you buy on a machine. Imagine putting everything in the cart and walking right out. The bar codes you find on each item could soon be replaced with RFID tags that track every item in the cart. An RFID connects with a network that sends data about an item to the manufacturer or retailer. With RFID, manufacturers are able to track an item from the time they made it up to the time it leaves the shelves in your cart. Let’s go a bit outside the world or merchandise. RFID technology is also used n fleet tracking, RFID document tracking, airline tracking, pets, and patients with dementia. In this excerpt, we are going to discuss how RDIF works, its uses, benefits, and how it differs from bar code technology. 

What Exactly is RDIF Technology?

RDF technology involves the automated identification of items through radio waves. The data collected is sent through the transmitter with a system that has antennas, RFID tags, and a reader. RFD can be passive. When we talk of passive RFD, we are talking about tags powered by the RFID reader without the use of a battery. On the other hand, active RFID are tags that utilize batteries.

How Does RFID Work?

RFID works the same as a barcode. They both track the location and identity of an item. However, there is a slight difference between the two. A barcode technology reads from a tagged label using laser reflections while RFID utilizes low radiofrequency waves to collect data. Try understanding the difference between IoT vs RFID to see how these two works in collecting and storing data.

RFID is mostly used in large warehouses with large inventories for automatic data collection. The transponder receives the frequencies then transmits them to the tag. The identity s then transmitted to a computer chip in the tag. RFID has several features that make it efficient. For instance, a tag can alert when it is moved. The data is collected and stored automatically using the RFID. Another good thing about RFID tags is that they are hard to produce duplicates and this prevents counterfeiting. 

What Are the Uses of RFID Technology?

RFID utilizes radio frequency for data transfer. It is mainly used in healthcare and hospital settings in the following applications.

  • Equipment tracking
  • Control of inventory
  • Employee and patient tracking
  • Fall detection
  • Medication and device tracking

The Benefits of RFID Technology

Businesses involved in the supply chain are greatly benefiting from RFID with the ability to track inventories and assets. The technology has eliminated the need to use labor-intensive mechanisms of tracking items. This has reduced human intervention and has increased the visibility of assets and items. It is helping companies to reduce the cost of manufacturing, managing assets, distributing, and tracking the assets. 

RFID is improving accuracy and speed, ensuring that whatever the employees can do manually is being done three times faster and correctly. This has helped companies reduce the cost of labor and in return reduce the carrying cost of inventories.

Today, with the help of RFID, employees are focusing more on other important matters in business, such as improving customer services, shipping, and picking items. With this type of accuracy and promptness, customers are getting satisfied.

How Does RFID Differ with Barcode Technology?

As mentioned earlier, RFID and barcode are almost similar in the way they function. However, their difference comes in this form. When it comes to barcode technology, there is a need for human intervention. There must be a person to place the scanner across the tag when the item is on-site to collect data. On the other hand, RFID does not require human intervention, and the item does not have to be on-site to send and collect data. The only thing needed in RFID is to ensure the operator is within the range set for the tag. In short, the difference between barcode and RFID is that for the latter, the employee does not have to move from shelf to shelf to collect data. All they need is to be in the range. It is also possible to read more than one item at once and this adds value to operations in companies.

Final Thoughts!

RFID is useful in automatically identifying and tracking assets and inventory using radio frequency waves. It is used in various applications like cattle tracking, vehicle and consumer products tracking, identifying, and tracking airline passengers, pets, and Alzheimer’s patients. The data stored on RFID tags are read and sent to the reader using radio frequencies. The reader then analyzes the frequencies into meaningful data. Hopefully, this guide from Litum has helped you understand what is RFID, how it works, and why supply chain businesses like warehouses and distribution centers need it so badly to improve their ROI and productivity.