RFID PRINTERS HELP YOU EFFICIENTLY TAG AND LABEL YOUR VALUABLE ASSETS
RFID printers close the loop as part of your RFID solution, providing flexibility and high-speed printing and encoding of RFID labels to be used on inventory and assets.
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification, and is a form of wireless communication that uses radio waves to identify a wide variety of ‘tagged’ objects or people from a distance. One of the key advantages of RFID over traditional bar code technology is that RFID does not need a direct line of site to ‘see’ an object. This is key to increase visibility of individual items in large rooms containing many items, and also saves a lot of time.
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The technology has been developed over a number of years and forms the basis of tracking solutions for a wide range of assets and people across various industries. RFID technology solutions use a combination of tags, readers, software and networks to create a customized solution to track a wide variety of valuable business assets.
RFID printers come in a variety of sizes and capacities, and will be specified as part of a customized RFID technology solution, together with RFID printer Software, to suit particular business requirements
How RFID printers work
RFID printers are specialized devices that can simultaneously print and encode information on tags and labels. These printers are the only way to print on RFID labels, and also save time by automating the manual process of encoding each tag.
RFID printers use smart labels which are standard printed labels with RFID chips and antennae embedded into the label itself. The chip is encoded with relevant data that can be read by an RFID reader. The printer contains an RF encoder, which transmits the data to the chip and encodes it. The printer then checks the data to ensure it has encoded correctly.
The label itself can then be printed just like regular labels. RFID printers are capable of printing readable numbers and information on labels, along with graphics, QR codes and bar codes as well.
Setting the standard
RFID labels for retail products are printed and encoded using the GS1 standard EPC Global. This is important as it allows the printing of current price label information, including the existing GTIN barcode. At the same time, it encodes the RFID tag with the serialized GTIN (SGTIN) to provide for RFID tracking to item level.
That makes the RFID solution fully compatible and interoperable with existing systems for maximum efficiency and accuracy.
How RFID printers are used
There are many applications for RFID printers and the smart labels, tags and stickers they produce. Typical use is in a warehouse and retail environment as an inventory management and control system with encoded information including:
- Package contents
- Security alert in-store
- Shipping information
RFID printers can be used to print labels, tags and stickers for a wide variety of uses including art, office equipment, tools, vehicles and anything else that a business might need to track. Purchasing an RFID printer is a decision that needs to be based on usage and label consumption. For example, having an RFID printer on hand (possibly in multiple locations) is efficient in a retail environment with a large volume of stock and high turnover.
On the other hand, it may be more efficient to use the RFID solution provider to undertake the one-off labelling of assets such as equipment and vehicles that are turned over far less regularly, rather than investing in an RFID printer.
Print in house or purchase?
Before you invest in an RFID printer, it is wise to consider your usage and consumption requirements. One of the benefits of partnering with RAMP to implement an RFID technology solution is the flexibility of available options.
For example, if you have operations in different countries around the world, you can choose to outsource and offshore RFID tag and label printing via RAMP label bureau partners located all over the world.
The same applies onshore in Australia, with RAMP offering warehouse and store printing options for RFID label printing and encoding.
But if you need to print in-house, at one or more key locations, RAMP offers a range of high-performance RFID printers that deliver superior flexibility, high print speeds and large media roll capacity for maximum efficiency.
When it comes to RFID printers, size matters
Once you decide to invest in an RFID printer, you need to consider a range of factors before you commit to purchase one or more machines. RFID printers can be categorised according to RFID tag compatibility, usually by tag frequency or sometimes by specialised tag types.
More common is consideration of the usage of the printer. Typical usage classifications are:
10,000+ tags per day
These RFID printers are made to be durable and capable of handling high volume printing, day in and day out.
500+ tags per day
These RFID printers are good for office-style environments and often have a good design aesthetic, making them ideal for customer-facing situations.
200+ tags per day
Less common, these RFID printers are ideal in environments that cover large spaces, such as warehouses and shipping yards. They enable users to print in the field, without the need to return to a central location to print labels.
Customised RFID inventory tracking solutions for every business
RFID printers, together with RAMP’s RFID printing software, are an important component of an RFID technology solution that can be customised for different businesses depending on their specific needs and their particular circumstances. Using the most appropriate type of RFID printers, in combination with tags, readers and software, helps create a powerful RFID solution to increase visibility of valuable assets, save time, and increase the business bottom line.