My company seeks to track huge amounts of raw materials (metals) in inventory. Is there such a thing as a rugged, disposable RFID tag that can work on metal?
The terms "rugged" and "disposable" are antithetical to the world of radio frequency identification. Tags designed to operate in harsh conditions (see Can RFID Tags Withstand High Temperatures and Pressures?) are usually expensive, and are thus designed to be reusable.
Of course, if the business value of tracking metal goods is great, then it might be worth affixing a $10, rugged passive tag on your inventory stock. Companies such as Confidex, Intermec, Omni-ID, William Frick & Co. and others offer hardened tags for rugged environments.
Omni-ID does make tags that are built to work on metal that have no protective housings. These are designed for assets such as blade servers in a data center, and are cheaper than tags with protective housing (and are, therefore, disposable).
—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal