I plan to deploy RFID technology. What problems should I expect to face?
There are three main issues with using RFID in the steel industry. The first is that, when tagging anything made of metal, you need to use a special RFID tag designed to work on metal. Metal detunes tag antennas and makes it difficult to read tags. On-metal tags can solve this problem by having a spacer that keeps the antenna off the metal.
The second issue is that radio waves bounce off metal, so in a metal-rich environment, the waves will bounce around and sometimes you might read tags you don't want to. Multipath can make it difficult to read some tags you are trying to interrogate. These issues can be solved with a good system design.
The final issue is the high amount of heat used in manufacturing. In many cases, you can add a tag to a product when it is being made, but when steel comes out at a high temperature, you need to use a tag that can withstand the high heat.
None of these issues should prevent a steel company from using RFID, however. Here are some articles we've published about successful deployments at steel plants:
• ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe Tracks Its Tools
• Steel Products Maker Sees ROI in Six Months
• ThyssenKrupp to Use EPC UHF Tags to Track Steel
• ThyssenKrupp to Expand RFID Steel Tracking
• RFID-Reading Drone Tracks Structural Steel Products in Storage Yard
• Dutch Consortium to Track Steel Plates via RuBee Tags
• Italian Steel Pipe Manufacturer Tracks WIP Materials
• Marlin Steel Introduces RFID-Enabled Baskets to Aid Manufacturing
• British Steel Company Monitors Tool-Related Vibration
• Posco Steel Mill Improves Safety, Energy Conservation
I hope you find these articles helpful.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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