RFID Applications for the UHF Reader
The RF1200 is a low cost, close range UHF RFID reader/writer with both near field and far field tag capabilities. It was developed primarily for the OEM market with an emphasis on the thermal printer and print and apply areas. Since the announcement of the availability of near field UHF tags, that original market has been greatly expanded. Some of the new environments that this reader is uniquely suited to include Security, Identification, Contactless Payment, Pharmaceutical and Point of Sale.
Thermal Printers and Print & Apply:
Printer manufacturers have been incorporating RFID reader/writers into their products for some time now. However, the cost of UHF readers has been extremely high until now. The RF1200 reduces the cost of implementing RFID in a thermal printer by over 75%. Its compact size, low power requirements and standard connectors make integration a relatively simple matter. Designed specifically for short range single interrogator environments, the RF1200 is ideally suited for embedding in printers.
Laboratory Test Equipment:
Test equipment like blood analyzers and other tools used in hospitals, clinics and labs are an emerging opportunity for RFID. While bar codes currently service this market well, RFID offers considerably more flexibility and reliability in this area. The small size of near field tags makes it possible to mark almost anything with an RFID tag. Again, the low cost short range nature of the RF1200 fits well with equipment designed to interrogate and deal with a single item at a time.
Security, Identification and Contactless Payment:
All three of these opportunities use similar characteristics to make them effective. Access control, payroll time cards and other security issues can be well serviced by combination near field far field tags. With the ability to monitor location from a distance (up to four meters and more) and also the ability to restrict reads to less than 1 inch, UHF tags offer great flexibility. The reader provides the short range needs of this environment, and can deliver in both near field and far field technologies. Currently we are finalizing the design of a custom reader/antenna combination for use with near field tags embedded in plastic identification cards for a medical services program in another country.
With FDA mandates for prescription pedigrees many Pharmaceutical companies are experimenting with RFID solutions. Currently the item level tracking component of these tests are using HF tagging systems, with UHF being used for supply chain marking (cartons, cases and pallets). Recent testing of item level products in San Jose has indicated that UHF is an acceptable product for this part of the project as well. Pharmacies across the country will need tools to allow the reading and killing of RFID tags and the RF1200 can support this effort as it can be used to receive and ship cases and cartons, and use near field capabilities to manage individual products.
This is another area where testing has begun using high frequency tags. Again, the capability and price point of UHF tags will make an impact on the decision making process regarding this market. Document management involves labeling individual file folders so that they can be checked in and out rapidly and reliably. The main concern about UHF tags in this area is the inability to narrow the search to a reasonably small selection of folders when hunting for a lost file. With the designed limited read range of the RF1200 we can overcome this limitation easily and inexpensively.
Many ski resorts and water parks are now using RFID wristbands to track client uses in the parks and on the lifts. Other uses can include secure charges to a credit card on deposit using a scan of the wristband, as well as better identification of what, when and where clients are using the parks facilities.
Many Universities and private schools are now teaching RFID classes in supply chain management. Several companies are offering training classes specifically in the use, deployment and management of RFID data. The low cost and portable nature of the RFID Block lends itself well to assisting these educational opportunities to deliver hands on experience with tags and data.
Use of RFID for check in/checkout operations greatly speeds the process. For library systems that are always short of manpower this enhanced speed can be of great help. Also, self service is a possibility especially for check in operations. Tagging of books and magazines with RFID assures better inventory management and more automated shelving, including finding lost or misplaced books.