We need some support with RFID or BLE to track the movable equipment inside a medical manufacturing facility. We also need to explore the options for the automatic replenishment and tracking of plastic totes and containers between facilities. Any suggestions?
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It sounds like radio frequency identification (RFID) or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) would both be good options to support your equipment visibility efforts. Knowing specifically where equipment is located in real time typically demands a real-time location system (RTLS), which usually benefits from BLE, ultra-wideband (UWB) or some form of active RFID. That means the tags and the maintenance of them (such as changing batteries) can be somewhat more expensive.
BLE can provide fairly granular location at a reasonable cost, while UWB costs more but can pinpoint location very precisely. There are also passive RFID options, such as a system from RF Controls that can locate low-cost passive UHF tags within a manufacturing facility.
When it comes to tracking plastic totes and containers between facilities, a passive UHF RFID system with low-cost tags, as well as handheld readers used at dock doors or RFID reader portals, would be a good idea. That way, battery-free tags could be attached to those totes and containers, and location data would only be captured when they were shipped, received or other otherwise processed.
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