RFID Tags: Small Labels, Big Difference
Paragon Data Systems offers a wide variety of RFID tags and labels for use in your “Radio Frequency Identification” applications. Using electromagnetic fields, this technology wirelessly transmits data to automatically track, identify, or authenticate tagged objects. RFID tags can be as small as a single grain of rice, but are enormously powerful in nearly any business application.
Implementing RFID technology in your enterprise will grant your company greater visibility and management control over all your assets and inventory. How? Using RFID tags as a means of identification will not only make capturing data faster and easier, but can improve and simplify security measures, shipment and order tracking, warehouse storage, and customer service.
Can Your Business Afford RFID?
The cost of RFID tags is one of the key drivers that will determine whether or not an RFID system is right for your application. Because we have working relationships with all of the major RFID tag and label manufacturers, Paragon can recommend and secure reliable and cost-effective RFID media and hardware. In this age of global economy, investing in a comprehensive supply chain solution is critical to remaining competitive. Manufacturers want to source materials from multiple locations, distributors want to track their shipments, big box stores want to manage their inventories digitally, and customers expect to receive deliveries on-time and intact. RFID tags and labels make all of this possible– without spending excessive amounts of time or money. The modern business cannot afford to use inefficient methods of data collection.
Selecting your RFID Solution:
Whether you just need RFID tags and labels or an entire RFID system, we will work to understand your processes and recommend a tag type based on your application environment. Our RFID experts are available to conduct a project feasibility study on your enterprise and its operations to determine the readers, printers, and tags that are right for you.
RFID systems run off of either active or passive tags.
Active tags run off of batteries and can function independently, allowing them to be read at faster speeds and further distances than passive tags. Electronic toll booths are a good example of active reader and tag hardware. Because they incorporate their own battery, active tags are more expensive and larger than passive tags.
Passive tags are powered by the reader. Lacking a battery, they are smaller and thinner than active tags and can even be turned into labels. Their small size and inexpensive cost make passive tags the more widely used of the two.
LF (Low Frequency) RFID tags
LF tags operate using a long wavelength in the 135kHz range and can pass through thin metallic barriers. This category of RFID tag requires direct contact with its reader for the data to be captured, as the read range is extremely short, approximately 1-2 inches.
- Access control: embedded in IDs and entrance key fobs for tenant, parking, or building security management
- Pet tracking: inserted under the skin of animals to tag them in case they are lost or stolen
- Card payment: chips on a plastic card allow for quick deduction of pre-paid credits for use in laundry machines or ticket takers
- Reading objects with high-water content: included on items like fruits and beverages
HF (High Frequency) RFID tags
HF RFID tags operate in the 13.56MHz range and have a short read range of about 5 inches. This range can be extended to 3 ft. using specialized readers or larger tags.
- Small object tagging: inserted into labels on small vials and biological samples in hospital settings
- Smart card payment: embedded as a chip on a plastic card for secure credit card transactions
- Patient tracking: included on ID wristbands to track patient admittance and flow.
- Transportation and inventory management: placed into library books, travel tickets, and other paper products that govern and track movement
UHF (Ultra High Frequency) RFID tags
UHF tags operate using a short wavelength in the 902-928 MHz range and have a read range of about 50ft.
- Container tags: mounted on label stock
- High volume processing: reading labels on boxed goods or tracking racers as they pass a finish line
- Vehicle management: carries out electronic toll or parking payment transactions as cars pass a checkpoint
It is important to note that while UHF RFID Readers are a great overall solution, they are somewhat limited in strength. Running on a short wavelength means their signal is far more likely to be weakened. Paragon will work with you to configure your hardware to avoid interruption.
RFID Tag and Label Selection Assistance:
At Paragon Data, we provide a wide variety of RFID tags and labels to meet the needs of virtually any RFID application. Once we’ve determined which format of tag you need, we will verify the following:
- the shape and size of label that best fits your product
- the label that will best operate on a variety of surfaces, including metal, rubber, and plastic, or…..
- …..whether the label needs to operate inside the product
- whether the labels should be printed on-demand or pre-printed
- whether your operation can use pre-programmed asset tags
Completing the Package with RFID Readers and Printers
RFID readers are divided into three different categories determined by the tag frequencies they can scan and decipher. Each category is best suited to different applications.
LF (Low Frequency) Readers operate on a long wavelength, 135kHz, and have an extremely short read range of 1-2 inches. LF RFID Readers will only scan a tag if it detects direct contact, which makes LF Readers perfect for securing doors or buildings.
HF (High Frequency) Readers read tags in the 13.56MHz range and have a read range of 5 inches or less, though it can be extended to about 3 feet using specialized readers or larger tags. HF Readers experience less interference than UHF, so they can be used for high-speed applications like checking labels on a production line.
UHF (Ultra High Frequency) Readers use a short wavelength in the 902-928 MHz range and can read up to 50ft. Their comparatively far capture span and swift read time makes them the most popular choice for RFID systems, especially for high volume processing. Because their signal travels farther distances, UHF readers are more prone to interference; however, a properly designed system will prevent errors.
Readers are further separated by style. This determines how the data from RFID tags are collected.
Fixed Readers use antennas to parse data from tagged objects as they pass the device, typically on a conveyor belt or on deliveries being brought through a doorway. These readers run automatically and communicate through direct connection to another device or by transferring data to a wireless network.
Mobile Readers require an operator to tell it which items to scan and decode, making it a good choice for inventory applications. Much like a handheld computer, mobile readers will decode the tag data directly, or it can send the data over to a different device or database.
Desktop Readers is plugged into a computer so it can scan and send the data to be decoded into keyboard text. Desktop readers have a short range of about 12 inches and is often used for POS tasks.
An RFID printer is used to encode data into the RFID tag. Additionally, they can also print barcodes on the RFID label, a failsafe measure to prevent unreadable data if the RFID tag gets damaged.
Depending on the environment the hardware needs to function in and the amount of tags it needs to create, you will want either a high or low volume printer. Small desktop models are typical used for retail or medical applications, and are the best choice for mid-volume printing. Conversely, industrial printers are used to create a large amount of tags, on-demand and at high speed.
Choosing the correct RFID hardware for your company can be a time consuming and difficult process. Click here to learn more about the pros and cons of the different types RFID Readers and Printers. Don’t have time to browse? Paragon employs industry experts who will recommend the best model based on your business’ specific needs.
Purchasing your RFID Tags:
With so many different options available, choosing the right RFID tags and labels can be challenging, yet vital to the success of your operations. Paragon offers a wide variety of RFID tags and even comprehensive, full-scale RFID systems to meet your specific application needs without compromising on the quality, efficiency, or accuracy of the label’s signal. Our RFID tags and labels are guaranteed industry standard.
Tag and label testing makes a huge difference in the accuracy of your RFID system. Paragon has the facility to experiment with different types of tags to find the best option for your application. We begin by exploring how your business works and what tasks your new software and media need to accomplish. Our consultants will also identify the environment the tag will be used in to ensure that your labels function properly. Finally, our data collection experts will design, test, and deploy your full RFID solution to certify system reliability without disrupting business flow or infrastructure.
If you are interested in scheduling your free consultation, call us at 800.211.0768 or send us an inquiry here. Don’t miss out on the efficient technologies your competitors are using! Find out how Paragon Data Systems can improve your operations with RFID today.
In February 2015, I was given the task of bringing our company into compliance with the new GHS (Globally Harmonized System) standards by the June 1st deadline. I began working with Paragon and within a short time was up and running with the best printers and label stock in the industry. The Epson GP-C831 and TM-3500 are perfect for our applications and the Kimdura label stock is flawless. Paragon, and in particular sales executive Jim Unger, is second to none in providing valued support in a timely manner which is just a phone call away! I strongly recommend Paragon to anyone in my field.
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Paragon’s knowledgeable staff have exceeded our company’s expectations in every respect by providing first-class technical support, money-saving solutions and reliable products, time after time.
We have been using Paragon DSI for many years. The products are price competitive and the service is fantastic. As a manufacturing company, Paragon has been very helpful in supplying needed parts to our facility in time critical situations. We are most appreciative of the service Paragon supplies.
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