Warehouse Management Challenges
Warehouse management brings unique challenges. Stocktaking is a painstaking and inaccurate process that involves countless hours of manually scanning barcodes. In a warehouse with millions of items, locating a specific product can be a logistical nightmare. The sheer quantity of items that go through a warehouse daily make it easy for goods to be lost, which cuts into profits.
What if there was a way to solve all these problems? What if you could cut your stocktaking time from days to minutes while improving accuracy? What if you could easily locate any item in your warehouse, even among millions? What if you could almost eliminate lost items? How much would the time and money savings be worth to you?
RFID is the Solution
RFID is a technology system that can identify an object using radio waves. It was first used during WWII to identify planes as friend or foe and now it is being used to improve efficiency in warehouses around the world.
The RFID reader transmits a radio signal with an integrated or external antenna and tags that are located on each object receive the signal and transmit the data they contain back to the reader. Compared to barcode systems, this enables significantly higher speed, accuracy and data availability.
Types of RFID
RFID technology comes in a wide range of varieties for different real-life applications.
30 - 300 kHZ
Has a read range of contact to 10 cm and is used for access fobs, tracking animals, and applications with a lot of liquids and metals.
Has a read range of contact to 30 cm and is used mostly for consumer purposes such as ID cards, library books and NFC technology found in phones.
Ultra high Frequency
30 - 300 MHZ
Warehouses almost always use Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID for inventory and asset management. It has a much longer read range, which can extend to up to 150 m.
Active vs. Passive RFID
RFID tags are small chips that are placed on the asset or product you want to track. They come in two different types: passive and active.
Passive RFID tags get their power from electromagnetic energy transmitted by the RFID reader. In Europe, it runs on a frequency of 865-868 MHz with a read range of near contact to 25 meters. It is often used in supply chain tracking, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, electronic tolling, race timing, inventory tracking and asset tracking.
Active RFID tags have their own battery and transmit their own signals. It runs on a frequency of 433 MHz or 2.45 GHz and has a read range of 30-300 m. The tags are more expensive, so it is normally used for vehicle tracking, auto manufacturing, mining, construction and tracking valuable assets.
Read range: 0-25 m
Read range: 30-300 m
Now that you’ve gained an understanding of how RFID works and what it can do for you, see what benefits RFID can have for your business.