I need a disposable, low-cost tag for a metal-rich environment for short-term use (only one to three months) to be affixed to a metal plate. Do you have any suggestions? I have viewed products from Xerafy and Alien Technology so far. Also, would impact or laser-etching the other side of the metal plate damage it?
There are several companies that specialize in creating tags that can be used on metal, including Omni-ID, The Tag Factory, William Frick & Co. and Xerafy. These firms offer a number of products that might meet your needs. You would need to discuss your specific application with them, as well as the read distance required, the temperature exposure, and the amount of impact to which the tags would be exposed, and they could recommend the right solution.
I do not believe etching the back of the plate would affect the transponder, but certainly any impact could break the connection between the chip and the antenna, rendering the tag inoperable. There are RFID transponders that can withstand a hit from a sledge hammer, but tags that can withstand high impact and/or high temperatures would cost a lot more than a simple label.
I strongly suggest you discuss your requirements with the companies listed above, but I’ll just mention two other options that might or might not work for you.
Avery Dennison introduced the AD-451m5 RFID label last year, which is designed to be affixed to metal items being sold in retail (see Avery Dennison’s New Tags Target Challenging Use Cases). The label can be printed via a label printer and then be stuck on pots and pans, for example. It might meet your cost requirement, but I don’t know if it would survive the impact to which your metal plates will be exposed.
And Brady Corp. recently partnered with Tego to develop an RFID Integrated Nameplate that can be attached to airplane parts (see Airbus to RFID-Tag and Track All Parts Made In-House). These use high-memory chips and are designed to last as long as the parts, however, so they might be overkill for your application.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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