The importance of asset tracking
Managing and finding important assets is the main challenge facing almost all enterprises. Traditionally, companies have solved this problem by using serial numbers and spreadsheets to manage assets or using barcode labels to track equipment. However, both methods require a lot of manual labor. One way to quickly improve asset management is to use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to automatically track those assets.
RFID asset tracking systems use electromagnetic fields to transfer data from RFID tags to readers. Whether you are talking about office equipment in multi-storey buildings, wheelchairs and IV pumps in large hospitals, tools and equipment in factories, or pumping equipment in distant oil fields, RFID can provide accurate real-time tracking data for fixed assets and Mobile assets.
There are two main types of RFID tags: active and passive.
What is a passive RFID tag?
Passive RFID tags are one of two general categories of RFID tags. Despite their short reading range, they are usually smaller and cheaper than active tags.Passive RFID tags themselves have no energy and are powered by the RF energy emitted by the RFID reader/antenna. The signals sent by the reader and antenna are used to power the tag and reflect the energy back to the reader. The flexibility and cost-effectiveness of passive RFID tags allow them to stick or embed them on a wider range of objects than active tags. UHF (Ultra High Frequency) passive tags are commonly used for item-level tracking of pharmaceuticals and consumer products.
What is an active RFID tag?
Active RFID tags are generally larger, more expensive than passive tags, and provide a longer reading range, which can be extended to 100m in some cases. However, compared with passive tags, the active tags usually have a shorter life span. The transponder only “wake up” when receiving a radio signal from the RFID reader, while the beacon sends out signals at preset time intervals, which helps save battery life.Active RFID tags have a built-in power supply and transmitter. Active tags can usually support sensors that measure and transmit conditions such as temperature, light, and humidity. This makes them very popular in harsher environments.
How to choose the right RFID tag
Although earlier versions of the technology were limited in the types of environments that can be used, there are now a variety of tags that can be used in humid environments or metal assets, even tags that can withstand extreme temperatures and chemical corrosion.
With a portable RFID reader built into the mobile computer, workers can easily scan one or more asset tags without actually seeing the tags. With RFID, the reader can be a few feet away and still be able to scan accurately.
Barcode labels can be used for asset tracking and do provide a more effective alternative to manually searching for serial numbers, but RFID asset tracking systems can provide more advantages than barcodes. include:
Read multiple tags at a time without the line of sight between the tag and scanner.
The key service information can be stored on the asset itself, so that the asset life cycle can be managed more accurately.
RFID tags can be integrated with sensors and GPS technology to provide asset condition data and location information.
The time to check inventory can be reduced from days to hours.
Since assets can be located almost immediately, and the use of RFID can make most asset management tasks more efficient, productivity is improved. Automatic tracking using RFID will provide a complete view of the asset group without the costly and time-consuming work of manually managing equipment.