How does RFID asset tracking work?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a data collection technology that uses radio frequency communication to collect unique IDs from RFID tags. The tags can be used to automatically and uniquely identify objects such as assets or people. Unlike barcodes that utilize an optical laser and require a line of sight to scan, RFID tags are scanned wirelessly and do not require a line of sight.
RFID asset tracking refers to the tracking of fixed assets using Radio Frequency Identification technology. This includes automating the operations that involve the management and tracking of real assets/tangible goods. Adopting an RFID asset tracking solution will greatly improve your equipment’s management, visibility, and tracking.
RFID asset tracking software operates by tracking RFID tags that are attached to Assets. The RFID tag number is associated with information about the asset in a database. Common Asset information that is associated with an RFID tag is the description, location, status, make, model, serial number, and type of Asset. Our RFTrack software platform includes over 60 core fields for storing Asset information.
RFID tags are scanned wirelessly and simultaneously by handheld and fixed RFID readers. Tag reads are then received and recorded in our asset tracking software. The automation improves the accuracy of your asset tracking by eliminating human intervention and, therefore, manual tracking errors.
Implementing an RFID asset tracking system involves the following components: RFID tags (passive, active, or RTLS), antenna, RFID reader, and a computer database engineered with asset tracking software like RFTrack.
The most cost effective RFID solution to deploy is passive RFID handhelds, because they don't require the physical infrastructure and
engineering services that fixed RFID readers require. Passive RFID handhelds help automate and streamline the process of physically
inventorying fixed assets, searching for missing assets, performing asset transfers, and other activities. Fixed RFID readers can be
deployed if more real-time asset movement tracking is required in certain areas.
How much time and man-power will RFID save my company?
inLogic has many case studies with customers showing varying degrees of time and man-power savings compared to manual or barcode processes. We understand the importance of streamlining the amount of manpower used in order to increase your overall revenue. We have found that several factors will determine the performance improvement of RFID including the type of assets you are inventorying, how close together the assets are, your environment, and some other factors.
In one article published by RFID Journal, IBM performed a time-and-motion study that involved inventorying assets manually, with barcodes, and with passive RFID. The metrics indicate that using RFID is on average 6.5 times faster than using barcodes and 11 times faster than doing it manually. However in a real-world deployment the metrics indicated that using RFID was 15 times faster than doing the inventory manually. One of our customers was able to inventory a small test location during a pilot 50 times faster using RFID than doing it manually. They performed a manual inventory first to identify everything that needed to be tagged for the pilot. The inventory went from 4 hours doing it manually to 4 minutes using RFID. This astonishing 98% performance improvement was in an environment where there were a lot of assets in close proximity, and is not typical of inventorying assets in more of an office type environment. However, it does show the performance improvements that are possible. These metrics might be helpful in determining the cost effectiveness and ROI of implementing RFID. If you have a rough idea of the man-hours and costs associated with your current inventory process, we can help estimate the potential man-power savings.
RFID Asset Tracking Advantages
RFID has 3 main advantages over manual or barcode tracking processes:
- Does not require a line of site - the tagged asset could be up underneath a desk
- Long read ranges - up to 50 feet or more
RFID Tag Cost
- Simultaneous tag reads - scans dozens of tags at the same time
Many factors such as the size, type of antenna, durability, heat resistance, cold resistance, layout design and colors, attachment method, and type of tag can influence the price of tags. However, Active RFID tags are more expensive than passive RFID tags.
If you order a large quantity at once, then basic passive non-metal RFID tags will cost as little as $0.50 or less each, while metal-mount passive RFID tags can still cost as much as $1-2 each in large quantities. On the other hand, Active RFID tags cost an average of $15 - $25 each. Many RTLS tags cost $50-100 each.