Is Bulk Encoding Possible—and How Long Must Tags Remain in the Read Field?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsIs Bulk Encoding Possible—and How Long Must Tags Remain in the Read Field?
RFID Journal Staff asked 6 years ago

Can multiple RFID tags or labels be written to while being passed through a portal to identify all parts with the same characteristic, without relying on operators to put the proper label on the correct part?

—Name withheld

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An RFID reader cannot identify the characteristics of parts when a group of different parts are located within its read field. So a reader cannot write serial numbers to one group of parts and different numbers to others. In addition, bulk encoding is not usually performed when tagged items are passing through a portal. It takes time to write a serial number to a tag, so you might be able to encode a few tags as they are pushed through a portal, but you would not be able to bulk-encode a lot of items this way.

Bulk encoding can be carried out when all tagged items are the same. The reader would encode the same company prefix and product identifier, along with consecutive serial numbers for those items. This is usually done as items come off the manufacturing line, or before they are moved into a warehouse or are shipped to a customer. Companies often set up a tunnel reader through which the parts pass. An RF signal is emitted by antennas on all sides to ensure tags are energized and can respond to commands. How long the items need to remain in the tunnel depends on the number of items you are trying to bulk-encode at one time. If you try to encode a large number of items at once, you will need to keep the tagged items in the read field longer than you would if you were doing it only a few items.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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