Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

Interrogators Start to Evolve

Vendors are responding to end users' needs by introducing interrogators designed for specific tasks and locations.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jun 01, 2006—In the beginning, there was an ultrahigh-frequency RFID interrogator and it was simple—a box with either an internal antenna or ports to connect two, four or eight external antennas. Whether you were reading tags on cases moving through a dock door or tags on small bottles of pills, your options were limited. But as early adopters began deploying UHF systems in the real world, they found boxy interrogators were less than ideal. They began asking vendors for RFID interrogators designed for specific applications. And the vendors have responded.

Wal-Mart has been one of the most aggressive companies in rolling out UHF systems, so it's no surprise the retailer has played a role in the evolution of RFID interrogators. The company worked with Matrics, a startup purchased by Symbol, to develop a hardened metal case that could be bolted to the floor on either side of a dock door, reducing the need to build special stands on which to mount reader antennas. The metal case also protects the interrogator and antennas from being damaged accidentally if hit by equipment in the facility. Symbol now sells the unit as the DC600 and DC400 Portal System.

RFID-enabled forklifts can help companies save money and increase read rates.

End users have also been eager for vendors to develop forklift-mounted interrogators, which can reduce the number of interrogators needed. Instead of mounting one interrogator at each of 100 dock doors to read tags on pallets moving in and out of a distribution center, companies can install one on each of 10 or 12 forklift trucks.

This has the added advantage of increasing read rates, because tags on pallets are in the read zone only a short time as the forklift passes interrogators mounted by a dock door. But the tags sit in the read zone for the entire time they are on the forklift when the interrogator is mounted on the forklift truck. Asurys, Intermec, LXE, Symbol and other vendors of RFID goods and services have introduced RFID-enabled forklifts in recent months.

The PAD3500, with a compact battery-powered interrogator module, goes wherever workers go.

RFID-enabled forklifts also can be used in combination with location tags to track the movement of tagged goods. For example, Wal-Mart is planning a pilot at some of its Sam's Club stores in which forklift interrogators capture location IDs from tags embedded in the shelves holding the pallets. By associating the location tags with the Electronic Product Codes on the goods, Wal-Mart will see if RFID can help workers keep better track of tagged stock.

To help companies conduct a small RFID tagging pilot without purchasing smart label printer-encoders, a company called Adasa has designed a mobile interrogator that's worn on a waist belt. The device, called the PAD3500, has a compact, battery-powered interrogator module developed by SkyeTek, an RFID systems designer. It receives encoding commands from middleware via Wi-Fi, encodes each tag—as adhesive inlays, rather than printed smart labels—and then verifies that the tag was encoded properly before ejecting the tag into the user's hand. The PAD3500 could also be used by workers in remote or outdoor environments, where it would be difficult to install printer-encoders.
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 964 words and 2 pages. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations