ple, are ideal candidates for active tags. For example, a distributor
could use active RFID to pinpoint the exact location of its forklifts
in real time by generating X-Y coordinates through the software
interface. There is no need for a fixed RFID reader and specific read
zones to obtain instant, real-time location information.
On the other hand, passive RFID is applicable when there are
hundreds or thousands of small parts, supplies, or components
with a standardized material flow. These items exist within an
area where chokepoint/gateway detection and a limited read
range are sufficient. For instance, a company could use passive
RFID tags on a bin of small engine parts. As the bin moves in and
out of the gateway, the fixed RFID reader will collect the tag’s
information to provide “last seen” (rather than real-time location)
knowledge. If a facility is less than 50,000 square feet, it is probably too small to necessitate an active RFID/RTLS system, and so a
passive system would suffice.
In the case of a Hybrid system, as data is collected by both the
active system (via an Active RFID location engine) and passive system (via a passive RFID reader controller and location engine), it is
sent to an asset management tracking and alerting software application. This is where the chief advantages of the Hybrid approach
begin to appear. Within one interface, the software application
marries the data from the passive and active tags and provides users with full visibility into all assets — offering complete traceability of all components (large, high-value assets and small, high-vol-ume parts alike). From a single system, operators can look up
any asset, regardless of the technology used to track it, and gain
insight into its location and movement within the facility. Also,
users can generate customized reports, create event-triggered
alerts, maintain a detailed history of each asset, and integrate the
application with other systems, like ERP, to obtain greater business
Keys to a Successful Hybrid RFID Implementation
Implementing a Hybrid system always begins with clearly defining
the use case. This is the most important step in the process. Take
the time to identify why you want to implement Hybrid RFID,
where you want it applied, and what you want to accomplish with
it. Are there high-value assets that would warrant active RFID,
and smaller parts or products best-suited for passive? Remember:
when embarking on any RFID project, always match the technology to the use case to get the most out of the investment. If
another technology (barcodes, for example) would be a better fit,
go for the solution that will best meet your overall requirements.
Force-fitting an RFID solution is a recipe for a disaster.
Of course, the right blend of people is also essential in the
implementation. It is not only important to have the right internal
team, but also the right vendor or systems integrator to ensure
that the technology aligns with the project’s goals. Also, keep in
mind that you can always start small and build from there.
When suitably implemented, Hybrid RFID offers one, complete
view of all assets and optimal traceability. Operators no longer
have to view data from disparate interfaces or have to question
the integrity of the data. With the intuitive, high-level insight
provided by a Hybrid RFID system, you’ll obtain the efficiency and
accuracy needed to reduce costs, improve productivity, increase
output, and boost customer satisfaction. Naturally, these benefits
all positively affect the bottom line and position users for a competitive advantage in the increasingly global marketplace.
For those who unsuccessfully adopted RFID back when the technology was still relatively green, now is the time to take another
look. Flexible deployment options (passive, active, or Hybrid),
a wealth of resources and knowledgeable integrators, and the
lower cost and higher quality of RFID tags and readers make today
opportune for revisiting the technology. So why wait?
For more information, visit www.barcoding.com.
Introducing MEGAComfort’s NEW
Come visit us at the NSC show, booth #5654
From a single system, operators can look up
any asset, regardless of the technology used
to track it, and gain insight into its location
and movement within the facility.