How Far Can You Track Using RFID Tags?
When it comes to asset tracking, one of the most frequently asked questions is: how far can you track using RFID tags?
How far can you track using RFID tags?
When it comes to asset tracking, one of the most frequently asked questions is: how far can you track using RFID tags? The answer really depends on what you’re trying to track with an RFID tag, and which type of RFID tag is best for your specific needs. The question isn’t just about numbers; it’s about understanding the capabilities of RFID tags to improve business operations and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Before diving into the specifics of tracking range, it’s important to note that there are two main types of RFID tags: active and passive.
Active RFID Tags come with their own power source, allowing them to transmit signals autonomously over greater distances. They are typically used in scenarios where real-time tracking over large geographical areas is required.
Passive RFID Tags on the other hand, don’t have their own power source. Instead, they rely on the RFID reader to transmit energy to them. These are the tags we will focus on for this post.
Types of RFID and their range.
The tracking range largely depends on the type of RFID tags you’re using. From LF to HF and UHF, each type of RFID tag has its own limitations and advantages.
Low-Frequency (LF) RFID
Most LF RFID tags operate at 125 – 134 kHz.
- Range: Up to 10cm
- Use Cases: Animal identification, key fobs.
High-Frequency (HF) RFID
Most HF RFID labels operate at 13.56 MHz.
- Range: Up to 1 metre
- Use Cases: Library books, payments.
Ultra High-Frequency (UHF) RFID
UHF RFID operates between 902-928 MHz in Australia.
- Range: Up to 12 metres or more.
- Use Cases: Retail, supply chain management.
- Circular Economy Note: Suitable for tracking items across larger distances, which helps to reduce loss and wastage.
Factors affecting tracking distance.
- Reader’s Power: More powerful readers can pick up signals from RFID tags at a greater distance.
- Environmental Conditions: Materials like metal and water can interfere with RFID tags’ signals.
- Tag Size: Larger RFID tags often have the space to hold a larger antenna, resulting in a greater range.
When it comes to asset tracking, UHF RFID tags are increasingly becoming the go-to solution. Offering tracking rages often up to 12 metres or more, UHF RFID provides unparalleled flexibility. But beyond its technical capabilities, UHF RFID also plays a significant role in steering businesses toward a more sustainable path.
UHF RFID allows for accurate, real-time tracking over larger areas like yards or warehouses. This level of precision and scope offers several benefits aligned with circular economy principles:
- Optimised Asset Utilisation: By having a clear picture of where each RFID-tagged asset is, you reduce the likelihood of asset duplication, thereby avoiding unnecessary purchases.
- Efficient Maintenance Scheduling: Timely and accurate data from RFID tags can trigger maintenance alerts, which helps in prolonging asset life.
- Loss and Theft Minimisation: Knowing the whereabouts of RFID-tagged assets at all times leads to reduced loss and theft, which in turn means less waste.
- Resale and Recycle Opportunities: A detailed asset history captured by RFID tags can make it easier to resell or recycle assets, thereby contributing to a circular economy.
UHF RFID tags power inventory management and offer real-time, accurate tracking capabilities over expansive areas like retail stores and ecommerce warehouses. This technology doesn’t just simplify tasks; it opens up new pathways for more responsible business operations.
- Reduced Overstocking and Understocking: By knowing exactly what you have and where you have it thanks to RFID tags, the guesswork is removed from inventory management. This leads to reduced waste, as overstocking often results in unsold items that become obsolete or spoil.
- Enhanced Stock Rotation: Accurate data from RFID tags helps in effective First-In-First-Out (FIFO) or Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) stock management. This means less wastage from items that expire or become obsolete.
- Recycle and Reuse: End-of-life products tagged with RFID can be identified and pulled out efficiently for recycling or repurposing, rather than being discarded as waste.
Making informed decisions.
Quality data is key to any asset management system, and RFID tags provide accurate, reliable data. The range at which you can track using RFID is essential for tailoring a system to meet your specific needs, thus making better decisions for your business, and contributing to a sustainable future.
Understanding the tracking range of different types of RFID tags enables you to select the right technology for your specific needs. This not only helps streamline processes but also contributes to a more circular and sustainable business model.