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How Passive RFID Technology is Used in Product Lifecycle Tracking?

  • Abhishek Shukla
  • Oct 04, 2023
  • RFID
How Passive RFID Technology is Used in Product Lifecycle Tracking?

Product life cycle tracking is a complex task that is gaining traction in various business settings. Since product lifecycle is directly related to business outcomes and productivity. An optimized and fully efficient piece of machinery is not only reliable from a security point of view but also efficiency and productivity. Various industry 4.0 technologies are finding applications in performance measurement. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is one such technology that is being used to tag items and collect data on product lifecycle from the get-go. 

RFID leverages the use of RFID tags, RFID readers, and RFID software systems to provide real-time tracking of objects by capturing details of each RFID-tagged product. 

An RFID-tagged product is akin to a product that is capable of speaking for itself. In product lifecycle management (PLM), traditionally we track the introduction of a product as part of its lifecycle, followed by a growth phase and a ‘mature’ peak. This model followed the eventual decline and then the ‘death’ phase of the product where it was rendered ineffective. The model was, however, successful only in certain instances as it considered the products as a relatively finite entity. Therefore, an updated and more efficient product lifecycle management mechanism is needed and RFID is the perfect solution. RFID technology factors in other perspectives than just marketing and allows measurement of product lifecycle and performance as it passes from one value chain to another. 

What is Product Lifecycle Management?

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is a mechanism that is often used in manufacturing and other business settings to monitor and track the product at various stages of its utilization namely BoL (Beginning of Life), MoL (Middle of Life), and EoL (End of Life). 

The beginning of life (BoL) of a product refers to the product design and production stage, the MoL refers to the major portion of the product lifecycle where the product is bought and used and repaired when necessary and used again. The EoL refers to the last stage of a product lifecycle where the product is decommissioned or the customer decomposes the product. Parts of the products are sent to the BoL stage and the information collected throughout the product lifecycle is used to ensure improved design and production as well as crucial maintenance information is sent to MoL. 

Since RFID technology is very efficient in item-level tagging, identification, and tracking, it can provide complete lifecycle updates. 

Passive RFID in Product Lifecycle Management 

Passive RFID technology is RFID technology where the RFID tags being used do not have their own power source (in the form of batteries), and use the radio frequency signals coming from the RFID reader to power up and transmit the encoded data as radio wave frequencies. 

RAIN RFID (Passive UHF RFID) tags are the most used RFID tags at the moment. These tags operate over the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) range of 860MHz-960MHz and offer a long read range of up to 15m. 

When it comes to Product Lifecycle Management, RFID plays a great role, especially in the BoL phase of the product. RFID tags can be attached to each individual component of a product at the production and design stage itself. These RFID tags can measure and share performance data throughout the assembly and final production stages. 

In a PM system, RFID technology can also capture the MoL and EoL performance of each component of the product or product as a whole. The large amount of data can be stored in tag memory, unlike the traditional barcodes which offer limited data storage capacity. The performance data captured during the product lifecycle tends to be higher during the MoL phase and the longer the MoL phase, the more durable the product. Products like automotive have longer MoL phases and products like grocery items have short MoL phases, which means less amount of performance data. 

Passive RFID technology allows a cost-effective and accurate collection of performance data throughout the product lifecycle. At the end of the product life, the EoL phase, the data can be used to further improve the product at different stages to enlarge the product life. The performance data and the product thus become prototypes and ensure great improvements. 

Advantages of Passive RFID technology in Product Lifecycle Management

Passive RFID technology offers numerous benefits in product lifecycle management as follows:

Optimized asset management

RFID tags can be attached to equipment and assets, enabling better tracking and management of assets throughout their lifecycle.

Improved production efficiency

RFID improves manufacturing processes. RFID tags can help track work-in-progress and monitor production processes, enabling better visibility and optimization of manufacturing operations.

Enhanced product traceability

RFID also allows for detailed tracking and tracing of products, making it easier to identify the source of quality issues or recalls.

Improved maintenance and servicing

RFID tags can be used to track maintenance history and schedule servicing, leading to improved maintenance efficiency and reduced downtime. An RFID tag allows for large-scale data collection that ensures better maintenance and a longer product lifecycle.

Better product information management

RFID tags can store detailed product information, such as specifications, expiration dates, and maintenance instructions, making it easier to manage and access product information.

Efficient recall management

In the event of a product recall, RFID technology enables faster and more accurate identification and retrieval of affected products.

Reduced manual data entry

RFID technology eliminates the need for manual data entry, reducing the chances of errors and improving data accuracy. Thus, RFID ensures reliable data which brings insights into product lifecycle and utilization. 


To conclude, passive RFID allows a cost-effective mechanism to track product lifecycle right from BoL to MoL and EoL. It ensures better data collection of product components or products as a whole and allows you to accurately identify the product's health at any given time of its lifecycle. RFID technology offers an improvement over traditional data collection methods using barcodes and manual data entry and ensures a modern PM (performance measurement) model.




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  • Created on Oct 04, 2023

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