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What Types of Tags Are Recommended for a Massive Box Reading?

Posted By RFID Journal, 03.04.2014

Should I use high- or ultrahigh-frequency tags?

—Name withheld


I'm not sure what you mean by a "massive box reading." If you mean that you have a large number of tagged items in a box, then there are several issues to consider before deciding on which tags to use. First, what types of items are being tagged? Next, where are they being read and from what distance? And are the items moving?

If you have smaller items containing liquids being read within a confined space, than passive high-frequency (HF) tags might be the best choice. Ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags can also be designed to work on liquids and at short range. If you are interrogating tags from a few feet away, you will need to use passive UHF tags. In both cases, you will likely want to set up a tunnel, with readers placed on all sides of the box. The tags would then be read as each box passed through the tunnel.

If you are tagging boxes of airplane parts, which are composed of metal, you will need a tag that works on metal. If you are interrogating tags on items that are RF-friendly, such as apparel, then you can choose almost any UHF tag. If the items are in random orientation, then you should look for a tag that has an antenna allowing it to be read in any orientation. If the items in the box are in a specific orientation, then you can choose a dipole tag and orient it to the reader antenna.

A good systems integrator would be able to consider your specific situation and recommend tags that can be read consistently. In general, however, almost all RFID tags can be interrogated in bulk (a few hundred tags) in a very short interval (only a second or two). Bulk reading becomes more challenging when you have thousands of tags, as the material of that many tagged objects could block radio waves, and the tags could block other tags from receiving energy.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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