A well-made RFID system can help businesses reduce the costs associated with their asset tracking and management by freeing up labour, time, and capital resources while improving the timeliness and accuracy of their data. This is made possible with its automated data collection that eliminates the risk of errors and inaccuracies that significantly depend on human operators. This especially applies to businesses transitioning from legacy barcode-based or pen-and-paper solutions. However, optimising the benefits of RFID means focusing on the RFID tags to be used and ensuring they align with the business’s asset management process. Read on to learn more about custom RFID tags, where they can be a good fit and their advantages.
What are Custom RFID Tags?
Custom RFID tags are unlike off-the-shelf tags in that they must be specially designed or engineered for a specific task, not based on standard applications or usage. These unique tags are made to be optimised for a given business process which can dramatically improve system performance.
Developing custom tags begins with identifying their objectives and the business’s requirements, including factors concerning various costs and other constraints, geometry, timeline, operating environment, and the actual application. Meeting all these requirements is crucial to getting the performance desired from the RFID solution, which necessitates sourcing custom RFID tags since only they can meet all the above criteria and expectations.
Where Can Custom Tags Be A Good Fit?
Deploying an RFID asset tracking system generally stems from the need for quick, efficient, and accurate data collection. Achieving this, first and foremost, requires the tags to perform well and to be well suited for the required operations. In specialised applications such as operating in extreme environments, standard tags will fall short and degrade or even compromise data quality. In contrast, RFID tags engineered for specific purposes can perform well under multiple stressors and reliably improve the efficiency of the data collection process and the whole system. Below are some application-specific requirements where custom-made RFID tags make a good fit.
Standard RFID tags are not designed to withstand anything beyond normal everyday usage. They are best suited for simple purposes like tracking inventory on pallets where there is little or no duress on the tags. However, if an application requires unique or extreme durability, only a custom RFID tag can perform well and survive under demanding conditions.
2. Interference and materials
High stress from the materials in the operating environment is a primary factor that causes failure among standard tags. Thus, applications that involve adverse environmental factors such as chemical exposure, dust and foreign particles, high vibration, extreme temperatures, and more will need a custom tag that can deliver optimal performance reliably.
Additionally, potential interference should be considered and accounted into the system as it can prevent consistent reads between RFID tags and readers. This interference generally occurs in an environment with lots of metal, moisture, and fluids since they can alter, reflect, and absorb radio waves. Knowing the problematic materials in the working environment is the first step to designing a custom tag that can function as expected in order to work around them.
3. Dimensions and footprint
The footprint or size of a tag is another factor that could prevent off-the-shelf tags from being used. If an application needs to track a smaller or uniquely-shaped asset, a custom tag will be necessary to overcome the possible limited mounting options. Even if an asset is large enough for standard tags, there may be other factors preventing it from performing reliably, such as being rounded or irregularly shaped, such as electrical wiring. Limited thickness overhead or sizes can also affect the choice of tags, as thinner options are the only ones that can be considered.
The final consideration is the combination of footprint and read range. Generally, bigger tags will have longer read ranges, and many businesses prefer as much read range as possible for tracking assets at great distances. Therefore, applications that warrant a long read range when tracking a small asset need to be paired with a custom-made tag.
4. Cost requirements
At times, businesses will need high-performance tags at a particular price point. RFID solution providers can work with such budget constraints to explore whether they can get the same performance for half the cost. Otherwise, they can suggest different approaches to achieving an application’s goals.
By improving the collection process and data accuracy, custom RFID solutions significantly optimise the efficiency and costs associated with a business’s asset tracking and management, provided they are designed and engineered according to an organisation’s exact requirements. Therefore, achieving the desired results is only possible by understanding a given application’s needs and its operating environment.