RFID has become a staple part of many industries over the years. They allow businesses to optimize essential but otherwise unproductive activities like asset tracking and identification. Nowadays you can see the use of RFID sensors almost everywhere, from toll plazas to parking lots. These little devices are responsible for identifying and scanning tags and items.
So, let’s discuss this important piece of technology that will help you implement radio frequency identification in your business.
What is an RFID Sensor?
A Radio Frequency Identification System has two primary components, namely – Tag and Reader. The purpose of the tag is to hold information and mount items, i.e., store identification data. The reader, also known as the sensor, scans the tags and sends the information to the system.
An RFID reader uses radio signals to create an interrogation zone around it. Once a tag enters the zone, it uses the radio signals to transmit back the data inside it. The sensor uses an antenna to catch those signals and read the information in it, converting it into a readable format and sending it to the system. There are various types of sensors that are in use in the present day.
Features of RFID Sensors
There are many features that allow RFID to have significant advantages over the traditional system of identification of assets.
(A). Fast Reading Speed
Due to the use of radio signals for transferring information, an RFID sensor can read up to 1000 tags in a second. Unlike other AIDC technologies like barcodes, which take 1 to 3 seconds to scan a single item. This allows RFID to be extremely quick to use and time-saving.
(B). Operation Range
Unlike manual or other methods, this technology doesn’t require the tag to be in the line of sight. As long as a tag is inside the interrogation zone, the RFID sensor will identify and communicate with it. Depending on the input power, type of antenna, operational frequency, and type of tag, these systems can have an operational range of more than 100 meters.
(C). Enables Automation
The biggest advantage of this technology is that it automates a lot of time-consuming and non-productive tasks. These systems have direct access to the company’s database and centralized system. This allows it to make real-time updates and log information on its own. Operations like asset identification, access control, and many more, do not create any income. By implementing a system of sensors and tags, you can easily automate these operations while also decreasing the risk of errors.
(D). Improves Security
Businesses can place sensors at exfil points and around the entry/exits of sensitive areas to improve security in those regions. By tagging valuable items, these sensors can alert the user anytime there is an unauthorized exit of any item from the premises. A lot of businesses like retail stores, files room in corporate offices, etc, use RFID sensors to improve the security of their valuable items.
(E). Improved Efficiency
With the integration of speed and automation in day-to-day operations, radio identification technology significantly improves the efficiency of your organization. And allows you to focus your resources & manpower on more important tasks, improving the overall efficiency of your business.
(F). Cost Reduction
The beauty of this technology is that most of the cost associated with it is the implementation and installation cost. These systems do not require any maintenance or servicing, and the cost of new tags is negligible. They also help you reduce costs by eliminating the need for human personnel in asset tracking and inventory management.
Types of RFID Sensors
Due to the vast applications that RFID has; we have developed different kinds of systems. These systems are applicable in a variety of operations. There are different factors you can use to classify RFID sensors into different classifications.
As we have already discussed, radio frequency identification systems use radio signals to communicate information. These systems can operate in a variety of radio frequency ranges, which is why based on the range we can differentiate sensors into three classes.
(A). Low Frequency (LF)
Radio frequencies between 125 – 134 kHz (kilo-Hertz) are considered to be low frequencies. These sensors have a low data transfer rate and shorter ranges. However, they provide very good resistance to distortions against metallic surfaces.
(B). High Frequency (HF)
These types of sensors communicate at the frequency of 13.56 MHz (Mega Hertz), HF readers have a medium range of scanning and transfer information at a decent range (10 to 15 feet). They are also resistant to metal surfaces.
(C). Ultra-High Frequency (UHF)
These are the most common type of readers used in the present day. They operate at around 870 – 960 MHz frequency ranges. They offer a high rate of data transfer and 30 to 40 feet of range for passive tags and 100 meters for active tags.
(A). Fixed Mounted Reader
As the name suggests, these sensors can be mounted on stands, walls, and tables. They are immobile and need an external antenna connection to transmit radio signals. These require a continuous external power supply and thus, have excellent communication range.
(B). Handheld Reader
These are mobile and portable types of readers. They have an attached antenna and can directly communicate with operating systems like Android, iOS, windows, etc. Allowing users to carry them around inside a facility and be able to read items.
(C). Integrated Reader
These are similar to fixed-mounted readers; however, they contain an internal integrated antenna. Thus, they do not need any external antenna for small operations.
How to Select the Right RFID Sensor?
Due to the large variety of sensors available in the marketplace, you need to make sure which type of sensor is the best for your needs. There are a few things to keep in mind, which can help you select the right antenna.
(A). Size of Operation
The most important factor that affects your sensor choice is the area of our operations. For large areas like warehouses, you will need a reader which can support 10 to 15 external antennae, and possibly compatibility with Wi-Fi.
(B). Types of Tag
Make sure that the operating frequency of the reader matches that of the tag. You cannot pair a UHF reader with an LF or HF tag.
Lastly, what you will use the reader for will help you identify the right component for you. For example, for providing gate access control/security systems in corporate offices, your best option is an NFC reader. This is due to the fact that these readers have a maximum read range of 10 cm, this prevents any unauthorized personnel from entering the premises. It also prevents false system activation.
Applications of RFID Sensors in Different Industries
RFID technology has a vast application within a variety of industries. You can use these systems to optimize a lot of your operations and make your business more productive.
(A). Asset Tracking
By tagging items/assets, you can use RFID sensors to track the movement of your assets when it moves from one interrogation zone to another. This helps users locate their items with ease and prevent any loss.
(B). Access Control
By using sensors at security gates like parking barriers, tolls, and building entrances, users can select who they want to grant access to the premises.
Users can connect the sensors to the employee attendance database, and provide your employees with custom identity RFID cards. The workers can then use the cards to gain access to the office premises, and the sensor can time their entry and exit and save it in the system.
(D). Security System
By carefully placing sensors on exit points, you can get an alert anytime an item is about to leave the premises without permission. In addition, you can use sensors for access control to the documents/files room. This will allow you to keep a record of everyone who accessed the room.
(E). Inventory Management
Taking control of inventory can be a time-consuming task. With the help of RFID, you can easily automate the whole process of inventory management. The sensors will automatically read and update anytime an item enters or exits the inventory.
RFID sensors have become a popular choice for AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Collection) systems. They provide a wide range of functionality and applications and help in improving the daily operation of a business.
Frequently Asked Questions About RFID Sensors
Q1. What are the devices used in RFID?
Ans - There are three primary components of an RFID system, namely – Tag, Reader/RFID Sensor, and Antenna.
Q2. What are the sensors in RFID?
Ans - Sensors refer to the RFID reader used in a radio frequency identification system. These are responsible for receiving and decrypting radio signals from the tag and sending them to the system.
Q3. What is an RFID sensors price?
Ans - The price of an RFID sensor can depend on many factors like the number of antennae, type of reader, range, etc. However, on average you can get a good quality RFID sensor in the range of ₹35,000 to ₹60,000.
- Last updated on May 27, 2023