Choose the right RFID technology

GS1 standards for RFID are called EPC. In order for the EPC solution you choose to meet the needs you have, you need to choose the right type of GS1 number, RFID tag, RFID reader and data system.

Select GS1 numbers to number items

In EPC, all objects should be uniquely identified with a serial GS1 number. This makes it possible to distinguish one individual object from another.

Some GS1 numbers are serial, for example SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Code) and GRAI (Global Returnable Asset Identifier, GS1 carrier identity that contain an optional serial number part.

The GS1 numbers that are not serial, for example GTIN (Global Trade Item Number),can be made serial by adding a serial number. Which GS1 number you should choose depends on the type of item you want to number and tag.

Store GS1 numbers in a RFID tag

All serial GS1 numbers can be stored in a RFID tag. GS1’s standard “EPC Tag Data Standard” describes how GS1 numbers are encoded in a tag.

Read more about EPC Tag Data Standard on GS1:s Global Website

Choose the type of RFID tag

The tag can get its energy supply in different ways. Most tags used today are so-called passive tags. This means that the tag does not have its own energy source but that it gets its energy via electromagnetic waves emitted by the reader. The advantages of passive tags are that they are light in weight, small and inexpensive. In GS1:s standard only passive tags are used.

RFID tags come in many different variants and sizes that are optimized for different types of application areas and needs. Therefore, when choosing the type of RFID tag, you must first determine:

  • What type of item are you going to tag and how long should the tag be there and remain in use? “For consumer items, tags in the form of cheaper paper labels are sufficient, but for return carriers for example the tag needs to stand through wear and tear.
  • Should the tag contain more information than the identity of the object? Tags have different size storage space.
  • From what distance do you want to be able to read the tag? – Tags have different reading distances.

Before you decide on a certain tag, make sure that the tag works in the way you intended, because the quality of tags may vary.

Select type of RFID/EPC reader

There are many different types of RFID readers:

  • Desktop readers
  • Readers that can be installed on a vehicle
  • Portable readers. The portable readers might be, for example a hand held computer or small hand held readers with Bluetooth.

Choose your readers according to your needs and how the reader will be used.

Choose type of computer system

The computer system will handle a large amount of data from the RFID reading. The software, which acts as a bridge between the hardware and the business system, is called “middleware”. Middleware has a number of important features:

  • Manage the RFID reader and other hardware, for example sensors.
  • Manage and filter data so that only relevant data is passed on to the business system.
  • Pass on data to the correct system, for example from a received-goods portal to a warehouse system.

Middleware can be run on a specific computer in the department where RFID readers are used, at any RFID reader or centrally via a network.

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