RFID is an auto-recognition system (Auto-ID) consisting of a microchip (label) and a reader that is wrapped around the antenna. Data and energy transfer is ensured without any contact between the label and the reader. The electromagnetic waves emitted by the reader meet the antenna and activate the circuits in the label. The label modulates waves to the reader and the reader converts the new wave into digital data. RFID tags can be programmed to receive, store and send object information such as the Electronic Product Code (EPC). Each label has an identification code that is defined and not modified by the manufacturer for security purposes (RFID Advertorial, 2006).

Information about the supply chain management can be automatically saved or changed by reading the labels placed on the product by the reader. Supply with this technology real-time stock and logistics information can be shared by manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and retailers in every step of the chain. Products with RFID technology, from production up to distribution, all life cycles can be recognized and followed.

With this new technological infrastructure, data collection and service delivery takes place without human intervention, error rate decreases and service speed and quality increase. The labels can be mounted directly on the product or mounted on containers, pallets or packages and can be used for different applications in logistics.

RFID History

RFID is a technology that dates back to World War II. Germans, Japanese and Americans were using radio waves to detect enemy aircraft miles away. This technology, called radar, revolutionized aviation, took an active role in many air battles and was one of the factors that influenced the fate of war. It was the biggest problem of this technique that it was not understood whether the aircraft detected by radar signals were friendly or hostile. The Germans overcame this problem by carrying out a number of special maneuvers on their duty aircraft. Thus, it was possible to distinguish their own aircraft from enemy aircraft. This method was the first known RFID method.

Below is a brief history of RFID:

In the 1880s developments in electromagnetic wave theory were provided.

In 1922 radar technology was developed.

In 1937, the NFL (American Naval Research Laboratory) IFF (Identification of Friend or Foe) technology was developed. This technology enabled the detection of enemy aircraft in the air.

In early 1950, RFID technology was used in research laboratories.

In late 1950, the IFF formed the basis for air traffic control systems.

In 1958, Jack Kilby developed integrated circuit systems at Texas Instruments laboratories.

In early 1970, Sensormatic and Checkpoint developed the EAS system to control products against theft and stolen. RFID started to commercialize in these years for the first time.

In the 1970s, the first applications in animal monitoring, vehicle monitoring and factory automation were introduced. In Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Norway, electronic payment systems (OGS) were established in bridges. Short distance reading systems were used in door access controls.

In 1990, US Railways used RFID technology to track railroads. In 1991, Texas Instruments has launched its first label and readers by establishing a company under the name of TI-RFID. Systems that use the first UHF frequency to be used in the supply chain have been released.

In the 2000s, Wal-Mart made a decision to integrate some of its suppliers into RFID systems.

In 2003, the US Army used RFID systems in the Iraq War.

In 2003 MIT Auto became the ID Labs EPCGlobal ‐ and started to create RFID standards.

RFID Components and Features

An RFID system consists of the following components:

RF Tag (Tag)

Antenna

Reader / Writer

General Programming Hardware.

Communication takes place between the reader and the antenna on the label. The label is detected by the reader when it enters the communication area of a reader. The detected label sends its identification code to the reader and other recorded data via RF signals.

Steps

  • RFID reader antennas continuously electromagnetic emits waves. RFID into the domain of these waves identification information stored on the label sent to the reader.
  • Credentials received by antennas, forwarded to the RFID reader.
  • The RFID reader is able to forwards. Interface can be computer or microprocessor. Information is processed by the interface and convert to the requested format.
  • Product identification information is entered into company information systems.

RF Label

RF tags are devices consisting of chip and antenna where information about the product is stored. Memory varies according to reading range, reading and writing capacity. RF labels can carry a wide range of information from a product’s serial number to the product history.

RF labels are divided into active, passive and semi-passive according to the energy source. Active labels utilize a physically integrated energy source in order to communicate and operate, while passive labels provide this energy from the reader in which they enter the field of communication.

Passive labels, the energy required for the chip from the reader. For the passive labels, the battery to run the chip is available and it can communicate up to 40 meters at lower signal levels. In active RF labels, the communication distance between the different manufacturers can reach up to 300 meters.

Some data needs to be clarified for the cost of RFID tags. These are the amount of the label to be used, the amount of information to be stored in the label memory, and the surface / coating (such as placing it on a plastic surface or a packaging label) where the label is to be placed.

Antenna

The antenna is the equipment that allows the reader to communicate with the label. The reader distributes the generated energy evenly to the longer distances with circular transmission. In most cases, the use of the antenna is very important because the reading ranges of the labels are very low.

The RFID reader is a signal that emits signals from the antenna through the radio frequency. The RF label responds to these signals and the reader reads this answer again.

Readers usually have three types. Fixed readers are readers that have been installed and communicated in a specific place. Portable devices are mobile devices that can communicate with RF tags. Installed readers are placed in mobile devices and read labels in coverage areas.

The choice of readers is critical in the installation of an RFID system. The appropriate reader should be able to perform the necessary functions depending on the application, adapt to the environmental conditions, and comply with the country’s frequency norms. The selection criteria of a reader are listed below:

Application requirements

Frequency range

Read / write interval

Functionality of the label

Standards (EPC / ISO).

General Programming Hardware

Interfaces in RFID solutions are key structures that play a role in collecting and converting raw data into understandable information. It is used to collect and filter data from readers and integrate them with other softwares. Businesses should choose the appropriate interface with an effective benefit cost analysis according to the requirements of RFID technologies.

Expectations from RFID systems interfaces are listed below:

The system should be able to recognize each reader and obtain the necessary data from the reader.

In determining the number of products in the system, the number of empty/ empty corridors/ shelves in the warehouses should be used in calculation.

The system should be able to filter out the acquired data and provide meaningful information.

The system should be able to convert the acquired data into the correct data formats.

The system should be able to respond to data querying processes.

ERP systems that support system decision-making processes, etc. should be able to communicate with the software.

The information acquired from the tag reader must be able to communicate with a web interface to be traceable over the web.

RF Printer

Printers can be fixed and portable like readers. This equipment is used to read the information inside RF labels and to write new information. It prevents wired or wireless connection to desktops, laptops and mobile handsets and prevents the purchase of a new mobile device. Mobile RFID printers make it easy to read, difficult to reach, dangerous labels.

Apart from these printers, there is also a special program which is installed on normal barcode printers.

RFID Standards

RFID system standards are being developed in order to prevent the interference of other radio frequency based systems such as radio equipment and to interpret the information obtained from the relationship between the reader and the labels. The current standards are Electronic Product Code (EPC) and ISO standards. In order to regulate the use of RFID technology used in product identification with EPC in a global scale, the Class 1 Gen 2 (Class 1 Generation 2) standard was developed for use in RFID tags and readers, and various frequency ranges were determined for the application of this standard throughout the world.

Although the standardization for high frequency solutions has been completed, studies on ultra-high frequency are still in progress. Completed standard for high frequency ISO 14443 and ISO 15693 is defined as. The studies for the ultra-high frequency standard ISO 18000 and EPC Class 0, Class 1 and Gen2 are determined.

Performance Criteria of RFID Technology

Security

It is very difficult to copy the RFID chips. Each label has an identification code that is specified and not changed by the manufacturer for security purposes. More than one level of protection is added to the information on the label. The new Gen 2 standard 32 bit encryption prevents unauthorized people from accessing information within the chip, the chip is locked and, if necessary, rendered useless.

Durability

RF labels can be placed between the paper surfaces during the production phase and also into the plastic materials which are suitable for industrial environments. Thus, product tracking maximum durability and long label life in harsh environments.

Range

When reading with radio frequency technology, the label does not need to be in close proximity to the reader, as in barcode technology. The reason for this is the ability of radio signals to pass through substances. In this way, batch counts can be done very quickly. It is not necessary to read the boxes placed on pallets and crates one by one. However, it is also important in applications where objects are not arranged in a certain order. Airport baggage tracking, post office package arrangement are some of these applications.

It is also very important that a reader can read all of the tags in environments with multiple RF labels. In addition to this feature, readers have the ability to read only the tag that has been specified among many labels. Read capacity of RFID reader depends; the frequency, strength of the chip, active or passive label and the direction of the antenna. The presence of metal or liquids in the environment also affects the reading / writing performance. In readable and written labels, the reading capacity is generally higher than typing. Active labels are more than passives they have wide coverage.

Reading Speed

RF tags can be read at a much higher speed than the barcode. RF readers can read 50 labels and more per second, while barcode scanners can only read one barcode at a time. This feature of RF technology provides a great advantage in applications where rapid tracking of a large number of objects is required. Accordingly, in the process of collecting information, time loss and employee costs can be minimized.

Information Storage Capacity

RF tags can store much higher information than the barcode. The linear / 1D barcode can store up to 20 alphanumeric characters and the 2D barcode can store up to 2,000 characters, while the highly advanced RF tags have 1Mbyte (one million characters) memory space. This clear advantage makes it possible to store more information, monitor more product features and keep track records.

Frequency

RF tags are also grouped according to frequency ranges.

Low Frequency (LF) (<135 KHz)

High Frequency (HF) (13.56 MHz)

Ultra High Frequency (UHF) (868 MHz – 915 MHz)

Microwave (2.45 GHz, 5.8 GHz)

Because of the different properties of different frequencies, it is more useful to apply them to some different applications. Low frequency labels, for example, have less power requirements, which means they can reach non-metallic materials more effectively. Although it contains the ideal usage area in high water content (such as fruits), the detection distances are quite low (0.33 meters). High frequency labels can be used for objects made of metal and substances with higher water content (1 meter). The UHF frequencies are longer and better than both frequencies. However, UHF requires more power and no obstacles to the metal.

Low Frequency (LF) (<135 KHz) Passive

Read only, read and write

Longer and expensive copper antenna

Lower performance loss due to metals and liquids

Short reading distance

Large

High Frequency (HF) (13.56 MHz) Passive

Read only, read and write, write and read

Use in contactless smart cards

Less expensive than low frequency

Lower performance loss due to metals and liquids

Longer reading distance than low frequency

Large-size multiple labels can be read

High communication speed

Ultra High Frequency (HF) (13.56 MHz) Passive and Active

Read only, read and write, write and read

Use in contactless smart cards

Cheaper than high frequency

Low performance loss due to metals and liquids

Longer reading distance than high frequency

Large

Microwave (2.45GHz, 5.8GHz) Passive and Active

Read only, read and write, be written once and read continuously

More expensive than ultra-high frequency

Lower metal-related performance loss

Higher performance loss due to liquids

Longer reading distance than ultra high frequency

High communication speed

 

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