Recently, RFIDdirect were approached about a troublesome issue regarding poor read success whilst testing RFID implementation in an agriculture project. By applying a basic RFID inlay onto a moisture-laden wooden surface (open to all weathers), combined with an inadequate reader and, then expecting great readability – meant disappointment all round! Problem was a lack of insider-knowledge and some general naivety around RFID technology. Online, impulse buys of transponders and equipment plus difficult working environments are common problems @RFIDdirect are frequently called upon to rectify.
Indeed, we have had several contacts over the years from (potential) customers with the question why their RFID tags/labels did not work in their application.
Cheap nor Cheerful
The photo above partly explains – showing the RFID inlay as an unfinished product. Generally, this product (shown in the image) is used as the RFID inlay to be sandwiched in-between layers that form an actual RFID label. In fact, as a semi-finished product, it is not suitable for use on metal, wood, and enclosed liquids. The adhesive it is manufactured with is only weak quality – with little holding power – that will not withstand long life span. But yes! It is the cheapest version of a RFID product on the market, and therefore seen as a cheap and cheerful solution.
Whilst RFID technology is relatively uncomplicated in wider technology terms – you program, apply or embed a tag/transponder and then read it – the process can be tricky and unreliable. However, this is generally due to unsuitable combinations of equipment and components (such as the choice of antenna v chip) combined with environmental factors or material properties affecting the transponder itself or impeding the read-range.
Know your Transponder
Tags and transponders come in a myriad of shapes and sizes – from discreet, light ultra-small or wafer-thin labels to robust and highly visible – their properties and data capture potential are increasing significantly as technology (such as sensor technology) develops rapidly. RFIDdirect are now more often helping customers who require bespoke or uniquely designed transponders to meet the specification of their application.
Testing and scoping are the keys to overcome any major problems and, to unlock the real potential to a holistic solution. But sometimes, a nudge in the right direction will do and a quick chat with an RFID specialist can certainly be the start.
The @RFIDdirect Team combines experienced project managers supported by technical practitioners with in-depth knowledge of solving real day to day industry issues.
We have seen and solved many troublesome – large and small – issues and won’t be fazed or dismissive about any query. Please feel free to contact us at any time – we enjoy a challenge!