There didn’t use to be many options for identifying metal objects with RFID. Then Xerafy solved the science challenges of using UHF technology around metal, and we engineered a comprehensive product line to support all types of materials and use cases.
We offer dozens of read-on-metal RFID tags and smart labels that are optimized for different environments, but how do you know which ones are the best for yours? Here are the fundamental things to consider when investigating read-on-metal RFID tag technology.
What does the tag need to withstand?
Users usually specify metal tags because the usage environment requires something strong and durable. Physical strength is just one consideration. Tags will be exposed to many things that will affect performance and durability. Here is a checklist of requirements to consider and data to collect to find the best specific tag:
- What temperature extremes will the tag be exposed to, high and low?
- How much space is available to apply the tag?
- What read range is required?
- What chemicals might the tag be exposed to?
- Will it be exposed to radiation?
- Will the tag ever be fully immersed in liquid? Does the tag need to be airtight and completely sealed, or is lower-level protection acceptable?
- How much shock, vibration and pressure resistance are required?
Manufacturers benefit by using RFID technology to make internal processes more efficient and improve supply chain responsiveness. Even when manufacturers don’t need to coordinate with customers, suppliers, logistics providers or other outside organizations, RFID technology can provide a quick return on investment by improving traceability in processes where errors related to identifying goods are high or when time or labor constraints related to item identification, handling or replacement, slow down the manufacturing process.
One such manufacturer who benefitted from using RFID is Trakya Döküm, which is one of the largest foundries in Turkey and produces more than 80,000 different product lines. One key challenge a foundry historically encounters is having an accurate, real time production overview, which can result in inefficient under- or over-production, poor inventory control, errors and duplication of work.
Trakya Döküm’s previous trial of an RFID solution did not pass the rigorous testing phase because the RFID products it chose did not withstand the harsh operating conditions of shock, vibration and impact that are common in a metal foundry. Finally, thanks to Xerafy partner EHV IT, a leading RFID integrator in Turkey, the foundry was finally able to “revolutionize their production management” as Fatih Yücecengiz, Trakya Döküm’s IT manager and RFID project lead, puts it. Continue reading
RFID-enabled processes have been well proven in hospitals for enhancing patient care and making materials management more efficient. Yet hospital professionals that see the benefits RFID could bring often struggle to get projects approved. The biggest obstacle often is not the effectiveness or cost of RFID system itself, but of its priority relative to the many other initiatives that are competing for executive sponsorship and budget. The fiscal environment is worsening for most hospitals, so administrators are conservative with how they invest precious resources.
In the U.S. many improvement initiatives are prioritized on how well they support the Triple Aim framework that was established by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). The Triple Aim directs hospitals to simultaneously pursue three goals:
- Improving patient care and the patient experience
- Improving the health of the populations the hospital serves
- Reducing costs
Many technology investments and other improvement initiatives that are proposed to hospitals directly address one of these areas, but not all three. Projects that can improve care at the patient and population levels while also reducing costs stand a much better chance of winning approval. Continue reading
Xerafy gets called on for many RFID projects that require tags that can withstand high temperatures. Sometimes we’ve been called in after the customer learned the hard way that the “temperature resistant” tags it tried from another manufacturer were not as good as advertised. Our high-temperature tags have often been successful where others have failed because Xerafy understands that you have to do more than take the temperature of the work process to select the right tag for the job.
Here are three often overlooked considerations for finding the right high-temperature RFID tag:
- Time matters, not just temperature. Product specification sheets list acceptable temperature ranges for tags, don’t always tell you how long the tag can withstand exposure to the maximum (or minimum) temperatures listed. Many RFID tags may be able to withstand a temporary spike in temperatures, but would fail if exposed to such temperatures for more than a few minutes. This is a very important consideration for tags that need to withstand sterilization, because tagged items may be left in an autoclave for an hour. Tags used to identify chassis in an automotive paint shop and other industrial applications may also be subject to prolonged high-temperature exposure.
- Think about attachment. Adhesive is a common point of failure in high-temperature applications. Tags fall off when their adhesive cannot withstand the same high temperatures as the tag. In such cases the tag itself still works, but would no longer be associated with a specific item. Xerafy protects against this problem by offering customers a range of attachment options, including high-temperature adhesives and epoxies, tags that can be welded onto metal items, embeddable tags, tags that can be hammered tightly into recesses and tags with holes for attachment by screws, rivets, cables or wires.
- Is RFID the only read method? Metal RFID tags can remain readable if they become discolored by flame, smoke, oxidation or chemical change. However, bar codes and text that are etched or printed on the tag may become unreadable under the same conditions. If you are planning to print a serial number, bar code or other visual identifier on the tag, be sure the image will remain visible and readable under the expected usage conditions.