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

Designer Tags for RTIs

RFID providers have developed tags that make it easier and more cost-effective to track and manage returnable transport items.
By Urs Andrin Lampe
Jun 01, 2011—For several years, manufacturers, logistics providers and pooling companies have been using radio frequency identification to track and manage returnable transit items (RTIs)—the containers, crates, pallets, roll cages and totes used to transport parts and products. The technology can provide exact information regarding where a particular RTI has traveled, who used it last and when it should be returned. The benefits have been proved: Tracking RTIs improves usage and reduces loss of these costly assets, providing a fast return on investment. Recently, RFID solution providers have developed tags that make it easier and more cost-effective for companies to RFID-track RTIs.

RTIs tend to have a long life, during which they travel between many users, and that means RFID tags must be able to withstand repeated usage, often operating in harsh environments. Companies that were using pressure-sensitive adhesive labels, attached with high-speed applicators, to track plastic crates found the paper inlays did not remain functional after exposure to aggressive cleaning processes. So new label materials were selected to be durable when exposed to high temperatures, chemicals, ultraviolet light and other conditions.

Another challenge was tracking metal RTIs, when labels were not an option. RFID solution providers developed on-metal tags that work well and are available in a wide range of sizes, but they require a mechanical attachment to meet demanding industrial environments. For a company with a lot of metal RTIs, that could mean drilling millions of holes and fitting in millions of screws. Clearly, the industry needed a fast and reliable mechanical mounting method.

Several RFID companies have developed options, some of which exploit the structure of an RTI in a noninvasive way. If a metal pallet has readymade holes or lugs, a tag can be attached quickly without drilling holes or fixing screws; the Confidex Captura, for example, can be mounted with just a click. Other on-metal tags have built-in magnets, so the tag needs only to be placed on its target. This solution is practical for work-in-process applications, such as tracking a car assembly. In some cases, on-metal tags can be affixed with industrial adhesive. When these options won't work, tags with brackets, such as the Confidex Ironside, can be spot-welded to a surface, for a firm attachment.

Some RTI pool operators face another challenge. They rent high-quality containers or gas cylinders that have substantial value, but these special RTIs are often exchanged en route for inferior ones. To overcome this obstacle, they have tagged these RTIs with ultrahigh-frequency Gen 2 tags with Electronic Product Codes, to prove their origin. But often, the EPC is a rewritable serial number, which is relatively easy to clone. So solution providers have developed factory-programmed identification numbers that provide secure authentication. Smart programmed tags help RTI pool operators reduce losses, as well as improve the quality, safety and protection of their capital, brand and reputation.

Urs Andrin Lampe is VP of marketing for Confidex, a Finnish provider of contactless ticketing and RFID tag solutions and services for supply-chain, transaction and authentication applications.
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 501 words and 1 page. 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