I work in the garment industry. We have 5,000 running knitting machines and backup machines, around 2,000 of which are at different locations. What kind of tags should we use to track each machine's location, identification and movements?
You could use passive UHF RFID technology to identify, locate and manage your machines. Depending on how frequently the machines move, you could use either fixed or handheld readers.
If the machines move frequently, then I would recommend installing portal readers at the entries and exits of each facility. Each machine should be tagged with a passive UHF transponder that cannot be damaged or removed. Each time a machine moves into or out of the facility, its tag would be read by readers at the door, and that event would be recorded so you could check the database and view which machines were at each site.
If the machines do not move into and out of facilities often, you might be able to use a handheld RFID reader. This would allow you to have staff members walk around and read all tags at a particular facility when you need to take inventory. Using a handheld RFID reader is less expensive, since you would not need to install stands to hold the reader, nor would you not need to install Internet cables and electricity at each doorway where you were placing a portal.
Either way, you would need to set up a database and associate the serial number of each tag with the machine on which it was placed, and you would need to associate each reader with the location at which it would be used. The software should also enable you to generate reports or lists of machines at each location.
Companies that can provide the RFID tags, readers and software you would need will be exhibiting at RFID Journal LIVE! 2019, which will be held in Phoenix, Ariz., on Apr. 2-4. If you are able to attend, I can help you locate the right exhibitors for your RFID project.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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