How RFID tech is advancing industry traceability

28th February 2023
Harry Fowle

On a base level, radio-frequency identification (RFID) utilises electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags that are attached to objects. However, as the technology involved advances this once simple track and read system has become more effective, versatile, and customisable than ever before.

Benefits of RFIDs

RFIDs have the potential to provide a number of considerable benefits to both the operational side and strategic side of organisations. By using the tags in an effective manner, they could increase workplace efficiency and productivity whilst also providing a wealth of captured data to make further improvements.

On the operational side of a business, RFIDs can locate, identify, track, and trace a large number of assets at once without the requirement of a line of sight. This ability can be utilised in plenty of ways that can result in fewer errors, timesaving, and efficiency gains. By quickly guiding workers to individual assets instead of searching for them themselves, time can be saved as well as the opportunity for human error eliminated. The automation of inventory audits can turn a once time-consuming process into one that can be completed in a couple of clicks.

As for strategic benefits to an organisation, RFIDs offer the ability to gain valuable insights with data that is captured in real-time which can then be used to bring an organisation to life. These insights can allow a business to make informed strategic decisions on areas such as asset management, numbers, and locations as well as aiding in preventative maintenance and environmental measurements. By employing recent and accurate data as a part of a business’s strategy, it can further drive its profitability.

RFIDs to fit any scenario

The latest in RFID technology is offering an almost bespoke level of customisation for customers that can be the solution to a number of problems. RFIDs of today can be tailored to the exact needs of individual workplaces and uses. These customisable RFIDs include features like custom sizing, labels, methods of attachment, custom apps developed and integrated alongside the tags, as well as a variety of ways to add, maintain, read, and trace RFIDs.

This offers an incredible level of versatility to how RFIDs can be used, broadening their usefulness to an organisation. This new generation of tailored RFIDs takes items, the environment, data, print, size, read range, and frequency all into consideration to find the right fit for the job.

Beyond just the RFIDs themselves, the reader apps and their integration into a system can also be fully customised. An organisation with specific needs can set up applications that only show the data they need to see and harness this data in ways they deem fit. These applications are also highly versatile, meaning that they can be adjusted to work with existing systems.

Applications of RFIDs

Whilst the typical job of RFIDs is to track and trace, the expansion of the technology has allowed it to enhance this capability as well as assume additional roles beyond just this task. Recent developments have made RFIDs that are compatible with traditional RFID readers as well as NFC-enabled smartphones allowing for quick and easy data reading and writing in relatively close proximity.

The depth of data that an RFID can offer its users has also been an area of significant development in enhancing industry traceability. The latest in RFID technology has produced labels and tags that can detect and measure aspects such as the temperature or amount of moisture present. Temperature sensing features can open RFIDs to be applied in environmental monitoring, material and equipment monitoring, cold chain monitoring, data centre monitoring, more in-depth maintenance and safety data collection, and greenhouse monitoring. Moisture sensing capabilities add to this further by allowing the RFIDs to read and display wet or dry conditions, highlight areas of concern, or make sure moisture isn’t present or lost when it is unwanted or required. Both of these features are also great for ensuring the security of certain sensitive objects or materials in transit.

Inventory auditing is another area that has become an increasingly popular use of RFID technology, whether this is in a warehouse or data centre scenario. Densely packed groups of items that need to be treated in an individual manner can be tracked and monitored with a high level of accuracy in real time at a far quicker speed than traditional methods.

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