Security is a big concern when it comes to running a business. As the size of your business increases, so does the size of your stock and with that, the risk of theft & inventory shrinkage. To avoid or at least reduce this, businesses employ several practices like regular inventory management, cameras, etc. One such practice is using asset tracking tools like EAS Hard Tags.
These tools significantly prevent item theft, by alerting your security of any unauthorized exit of an item. So, let’s discuss some important aspects of EAS Hard Tag security systems.
What is EAS?
EAS stands for Electronic Article Surveillance, as the name suggests, it’s a type of electronic security system. EAS hard tags are used to keep track of items in retail stores, libraries, warehouses, etc. The entire purpose of EAS is to alert whenever an item is about to leave the premises without authorization.
How Do EAS Systems Work?
There are two components of an EAS system – the EAS Hard Tag and the EAS Security Gate. The security gates send out electromagnetic signals and based on the response from the EAS Hard tag, light up the alarm.
What are the Types of EAS Tags Available in the Market?
Presently, there are three types of EAS tags available in the market for buyers. So, let’s discuss briefly, what they are & how they differ.
An electromagnetic EAS tag is made of an amorphous metal strip lined with a layer of ferromagnetic material. The reaction of these strips is dependent on whether the ferromagnetic layer is magnetized or not. When the layer is demagnetized, once the tag enters the magnetic field of the EAS gate, the metal strip starts to create harmonics (signals of different frequencies). The gate can detect these frequencies & sound the alarm. However, in case the ferromagnetic layer is magnetized, it will prevent the strip from creating harmonics due to magnetic biasing.
In short, a demagnetized strip means the tag is activated, and vice versa.
The Acousto-Magnetic (AM) system works on a pretty much similar principle as the Electro-Magnetic (EM) tag. An AM tag consists of a strip made from amorphous metal & a semi-magnetic metal strip. However, unlike EM, an EM security gate sends out signals in pulses of 58 KHz frequency. When an activated tag enters between the two gates, the signal pulse causes the amorphous metallic strip to vibrate mechanically. This changes the magnetization of the strip; the reader can record this change & sounds the alarm.
Radio Frequency Identification
This works on the same principle as an RFID tag. The tag contains a microchip & an antenna made from insulated wire. The security gate in this type of EAS system sends out radio waves. Once the tag enters the signal field, the radio waves energize the RFID chip inside the tag (because of Faraday’s Principle). The tag then sends back a signal with the preprogrammed data.
Security Applications of EAS Hard Tags
The best application of EAS Hard Tags is in theft prevention and security monitoring. The security gates will alert the system of possible theft, whenever an activated EAS tag enters between them. The EAS tags can only be deactivated by an EAS tag detacher present at the billing counter. So, any item that has not been included in the bill or put into the system, will sound off the alarms.
What are the Benefits of EAS Over Standard RFID Tags?
Although RFID has a significant advantage over EAS Tags, due to it having a larger read range. In addition to being able to store data about the item, it is put on. However, one problem with a standard RFID tag is that you can easily peel it off or cut it out. When it comes to EAS Hard Tags, they cannot be removed without damaging the item they are put on. To remove an EAS tag, you will have to destroy it completely.
From my personal experience, once when I was about 14, I had gone shopping and the employee at the billing counter forgot to detach the tag after putting the item in the bill. When I got home, I had to use a plier to smash the tag into pieces to “deactivate” it. And that is something you cannot do inside a store.
In addition to this, EAS systems are also cheaper to use, since EAS Hard Tags can be used again and again on new items. And they virtually have no limited lifespan.