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Understanding Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) – Part VI


RFID can boost the level of accuracy and visibility within your supply chain at a reduced cost, provided the implementation is properly and strategically thought out.

R. Moroz Ltd., a Canadian bar coding and RFID technology provider and systems integrator, and Canadian Transportation & Logistics have put together a series of articles to help you better understand this emerging technology. In the conclusion of our six-part series, we take a close look RFID system implementation. (To check past articles, type: Understanding Radio Frequency Identification in the available search tool.)

R. Moroz Ltd., Canadian Transportation & Logistics and the Town of Markham, Texas Instruments and Philips Electronics are also working together to bring you the 1st Canadian RFID conference.

The event takes place on April 28th in Markham. For more details check the RFID conference button on the www.ctl.ca Web site.

Now, an expert look at the RFID system implementation

RFID SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION

If the accuracy of your current system is nearly perfect and have complete visibility within all processes of your business, you may question what would be the benefit of RFID?

If you simply look at the cost of implementing and supporting new technology, without looking at the benefits that it can bring your operation, you may be asking yourself why RFID?

If you do not take the time to learn about RFID and how it can improve your operation, it may seem that the cost is high and the potential return unclear or not worth it.

RFID can maintain or increase your level of accuracy and visibility at a reduced cost. Nothing comes without a cost, but investing in new technology can improve the efficiency of your operation, reduce operating costs and errors.

With RFID, any movable items or assets can better and more efficiently be identified and tracked.

To be successful and to get the most benefits from implementing RFID, you will need to take the time to understand the technology.

You will also need to review your operation and identify every area or points that product is handled and where data is collected such as where bar codes are scanned.

RFID may be able to eliminate these manual data collection points by reading tags automatically as they pass through these specific points giving you the accuracy that you require at a reduced cost.

For an RFID project to succeed, it is necessary to approach the business problem and potential RFID solution using a systems approach. In your design process, you will need to look at all the processes, be forward thinking and think creatively on how one can improve on each operation.

RFID systems should be conceived, designed, and implemented using a systematic development process in which end-users and specialists design RFID systems based on an analysis of the business requirements of the organization.

Implementing an RFID base system is like implementing any system. You will need to determine where RFID can be used and prioritize your strategy based on where you will get the fastest and most benefits. You will need to think big but you should start small.

You will need, like for any system implementation, allow and plan for failures and problems. To successfully implement an RFID system, the following is a checklist that will help you in your design and will help reduce the potential for problems.

Business:
-Why are you implementing RFID?
– Are you being mandated or are you looking at improving your internal operation?
-Is there a requirement or preference for standards?

Tags:
-Do you require disposable tags or can you use reusable tags?
-Type of tag required (Read only, R/W, WORM)?
-Maximum amount of data to be stored in the tag (data capacity)?
-What is the data format?

Reader:
-What is the required read zone (width, height, and depth)?
-How may tags will the reader read or write to at one time?
-What are the possible location(s) for the tag?
-Orientation of the tag?
-Distance between tags?
-At what speed and direction will the tags be travelling?
-What error control and correction will be required?
-Do you require any data security?
-What will the required distance be between different reader antennas?
-What is the distance between antenna location and the reader?
-Is portability a requirement?
-Data interface and protocol reader/interrogator (batch, on line, wireless, Ethernet, etc.)?

Environment:
-Environment: Metal, Tags and reader antenna proximity to metal?
-Temperature, humidity, and exposure to chemicals, UV and X-rays, mechanical stress?

Systems:
-How and where will the tags be applied?
-What do you do when a tag is read?
-What do you do if a tag is not read?

There seems to be a lot of attention given to the cost of tags. The benefits that can be derived from implementing RFID can far outweigh the cost of the tags. There is an investment in time and money and to be successful and get the best ROI (return on investment), you need to understand the technology.

By understanding the technology, it will allow you to reduce your cost of implementation. It will also allow you not only to meet the demands that may be imposed upon your company but also to allow your company to save and achieve increased revenue from implementing this technology.

This concludes our six parts on "Understanding RFID". We hope that you can benefit from these articles and should you have any comments or questions, please contact R. Moroz Ltd. at (905) 513-8919 ext.25 or email at info@rmoroz.com.

R. Moroz Ltd. is a solutions provider, systems integrator and distributor of bar coding and RFID technologies.


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