Locating and managing important assets is a vital aspect that almost all businesses should consider. Wasting valuable time searching for important assets can result in downtime, which can be quite expensive in the long run. Moreover, it may cause wasted labor, customer commitments, and missed deadlines which are quite fatal for the normal operation of an enterprise. As a result, different companies have tried implementing different ways to address this issue. This includes managing assets by tracking equipment using barcode labels, serial numbers, and spreadsheets. Unfortunately, such traditional methods are slowly losing popularity since they require an epochal amount of labor.
Companies have turned to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to address asset management issues. RFID systems utilize electromagnetic fields to transmit data from a tag to a reader. Using such a method can help businesses to track and locate valuable equipment with minimal human labor easily.
Whether you are talking about IV pumps and wheelchairs in a hospital, pumping equipment in an oil field, or office equipment in a building, implementing RFID can deliver real-time and accurate tracking data for all mobile and fixed assets.
Does RFID Automate Asset Tracking And Identification?
You can easily scan more than one asset tag without straining to see the tag physically. This can be achieved using a portable RFID reader built into a mobile computer. This saves the need for intensive manual labor in applications requiring the staff to work their way behind racks of servers, crawl under desks, or climb ladders to access and scan RFID cards. Similarly, the outmoded barcode labeling would require employees to point the barcode reader directly at the tag for an accurate scan. Thus, using RFID in asset tracking enables employees to scan several dozen tags in no time.
Using an RFID CARD that features a larger onboard memory capacity enables you to store extra information on the asset. Sometimes, you may want a tag from an RFID card manufacturer for applications in remote places. This becomes a major issue since connectivity to a database or back-end application more often than not experiences an intense lag. Nevertheless, the tag can store read and write data on sensor data or maintenance activities by a field expert using a mobile computer.
While a barcode system appears to be a more efficient alternative than searching for serial numbers manually, RFID tags for tracking and identification have numerous advantages compared to barcording. Read below to get a clear understanding on some of these advantages.
• It allows you to read several tags at a go, even in the absence of line-of-sight between the reader and the tags. As such, a single worker could inventory an entire room of equipment in a split of time.
• You can easily store critical service information on the assets, thus creating room for accurate asset life cycle management.
• You can integrate an RFID card with GPS technology and sensors to provide location information and condition data.
• Moreover, integrating the solution with a WLAN can help identify and locate assets remotely without wasting time.
• Use of RFID tags n tracking and identification helps reduce inventor times down from days to hours.
• It helps improve asset security by generating real-time alarms and alerts. This is especially helpful when the company’s assets are taken out of the building or even moved to an unauthorized location.
• It results in optimized productivity since you can instantly locate assets. As such, you can optimize your asset management tasks by integrating RFID.
Fortunately, with RFID, tracking a large number of assets should no longer be one of your logistical nightmares. Additionally, RFID automated tracking systems provide a complete and real-time view of your asset without the costly and time-consuming efforts associated as seen with managing equipment manually.
How To Find The Right RFID Tag?
While previous versions of RFID technology had limited use in applications, the current version features numerous tags that you can apply on metal assets and wet environments. Moreover, an RFID card manufacturer can deliver tags that can survive exposure to chemical contaminants and extreme temperatures, among other harsh environments.
Fortunately, with a large assortment to pick from, selecting a suitable RFID tag typically depends on the type of environment you will be using. Other specifications to ask from an RFID CARD SUPPLIER include the data requirements and size of the assets to be tagged.
What Are Passive RFID Tags?
Similar to active tags, passive RFID tags are a radio frequency identification system. However, they are typically less expensive and smaller than active tags and feature a shorter read range. Since passive tags feature no built-in power source, they operate on the radio frequency energy transmitted from RFID antennas/readers. Here, the sent signal from the antenna and reader is used to power the tag and reflects the energy to the reader.
Being more cost-effective and offering flexibility to a high extreme, passive RFID tags allow you to embed or attach them to many objects compared to their active counterparts. Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) passive tags are used for item-level tracking of consumer goods pharmaceuticals.
What Are Active Tags?
Active tags are typically more expensive and even larger than passive tags. Moreover, they offer a longer read range that can extend up to 100 meters in some instances. However, they feature a shorter lifespan than passive tags. The two different types of active RFID tags include transponders and beacons.
While beacons emit signals at a pre-set interval, transponders are more energy-efficient since they only wake up upon receiving a radio signal from an RFID reader. Moreover, Active RFID tags feature a built-in power source (battery), and a transmitter. Also, they are typically Ultra High-Frequency solutions.
Active tags support censors that measure and transmit conditions, including light, temperature, and humidity. Thus, they are suitably deployed in harsher environments. More commonly, they are used to track larger assets such as cargo containers and vehicles.