Labelling Solutions Why accuracy is everything

The rapid growth of Passive RFID tags for inventory management

the technology was used to identify aircraft by using radio frequency waves to transfer data to the recipient. Over the past two decades, RFID technology has improved significantly, enabling manufacturers throughout supply chains to track inventory and assets with remarkable accuracy. Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) RFID


technology refers to two types of RFID modes - Active and Passive. Since 2015, the technology has been refined to deliver a read accuracy rate higher than 99% in most systems – a 40% increase since 2005 . Today, UHF RFID tags benefit from increased tag sensitivity and read ranges on medium-sized inlays up to 60 feet. Label printers that are integrated with RFID

technology can improve operations in supply chain management from apparel and retail logistics, to the tracking of electronic parts in a factory, or the replenishment of orthopaedic tools in hospitals for surgeries. In what is now defined as the ‘new normal’ following the Covid-19 pandemic, track and trace solutions that provide accurate data and meet stringent traceability regulations will surely set the bar for a new industry standard. For those in supply chain management,

the last ten years have seen dramatic changes in the way customers order products. The surge in online spending has resulted in huge complexity in managing item traceability, health and safety processes, and delivering just-in-time stock control for added cost efficiency. Passive RFID tags, which offer a frequency range of 865–868 MHz, regulated by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), have become the technology of

34 July/ August 2020

adio Frequency Identification (RFID) has been used to track and trace items for years. In its infancy during World War II,

choice for many in the manufacturing, logistics and pharmaceuticals industries that require the utmost accuracy, combined with excellent performance and reliability. Before COVID-19, there was already a clear

indication that passive RFID technology was on the increase. Ten years ago, read accuracy rates were below 60%, which meant some items were misplaced or, at worst, lost in the supply chain system. In the last five years, demand for RFID technology has accelerated as more companies begin to see the benefits of 99% read rates. Now, as we move into the ‘new normal’, this demand will intensify with ever-shifting consumer behaviour and the need for accurate data-driven analytics. With continuous improvements to radio

frequency technology, passive Gen2 RFID tags are now highly sensitive and can be read from a sizeable distance, depending on the strength of dBm (decibel-milliwatts) applied. Companies like SATO, a global pioneer in the development of auto-ID and labelling solutions, that provide supply chain hardware solutions will often incorporate RFID technology into its label printers from industry leaders such as Impinj. This technology helps to deliver supreme accuracy and best-in-class read ranges for RFID-integrated hardware. To ensure technology of this calibre

continues to be implemented throughout the supply chain, the RAIN RFID Alliance was launched in 2014 to promote the universal adoption of UHF RFID. SATO recently joined RAIN RFID – which currently connects 160 members globally – to help accelerate the adoption of UHF RFID systems throughout global supply chains. While the company only joined as a

member earlier this year, SATO has been using passive RFID technology for many years to meet the needs of its most complex customer

environments. The global company offers a wide range of UHF and HF encoding solutions and printers, such as the CL4NX Plus and CT4LX, to support EPC, ISO, I-Code, and Tag-it industry standards. Industrial thermal printers that read, write and print an array of UHF, NFC and HF smart labels and tags enable successful implementation of RFID for case carton, item level, pallet ID label and tagging – must-haves for achieving 100% accuracy when it comes to inventory management. Plus, when combined with Application Enabled Printing (AEP), tags can be printed without a PC and with minimal human input, reducing costs, errors and cost of recovery. To go above and beyond industry

standards, SATO has now engineered a fully polyethylene-terephthalate (PET) free inlay and tag design, which utilises passive RAIN RFID technology, to provide a sustainable option for businesses looking to reduce plastic use in their supply chains. In support of the new technology, SATO

Europe managing director, Laurent Lassus, says: “The PET free inlay and tag design offers market-leading performance and memory options. With a unique TID and broadband RFID antenna design, it can sustain consistently high levels of performance to identify and track products accurately and cost-efficiently throughout supply chains. So many of our customers’ businesses rely on inventory management accuracy and we believe this is RFID innovation at its best. “In the next five years, we imagine RFID

technology will improve even further, offering excellent read distance and memory performance. Being part of the RAIN RFID Alliance means SATO will be part of the development of the industry moving forward.”

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