RFID technology is making waves in the manufacturing industry. But what is RFID, and how can it help your business?
Here’s a look at how RFID revolutionizes manufacturing and why you should consider using it in your operations. We discuss how it works and its benefits.
What is RFID Technology?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a wireless technology comprising an RFID tag, an RFID reader, and an RFID software system. These components are interdependent and work together to collect and store data about an item or product.
The tag has a memory chip that stores information and an antenna that transmits the data to the reader. The amount of data stored on the tag depends on its type and applications. However, an RFID tag carries a maximum of 2 kilobytes (KB) of data.
The reader is a device that captures the information from the tag and sends it to the software system for processing. It can be handheld RFID reader or fixed RFID reader, and it uses radio waves to communicate with the tag.
The software system is the central nervous system of the RFID system. It manages the data collected by the readers and tags, and it decides what to do with that information.
How Does RFID Revolutionize Manufacturing?
RFID technology is transformational because it has the potential to optimize every aspect of the manufacturing process, including:
- RFID in Product Design and Development
Product development is the most critical area for any manufacturer. It determines the success or failure of a product in the market.
RFID can help you streamline your product development process and make it more efficient. For example, you can use RFID tags to track prototypes during testing and development. This way, you can quickly identify and fix problems.
Similarly, you can use RFID tags to track individual parts and components during assembly. This way, you can ensure that the final product meets all quality standards.
However, most manufacturing settings are characterized by harsh environments. These environments can damage unprotected RFID tags. It is essential to use RFID industrial tags that can withstand extreme temperatures, shocks, and vibrations.
- RFID in Supply Chain Management
Managing supplies is a challenge for any manufacturing business. You need to ensure that you have the right parts and components at the right time to avoid production delays.
RFID can help you manage your supply chain more effectively. Here are some examples of where to use RFID for improved supply management:
- Real-Time Tracking of Raw Materials. Production delays often happen because of late or missing raw materials. RFID can help you track raw materials in real-time, so you always know their location. This way, you can always restock in time to avoid production delays.
- Better Inventory Management. You need to have enough inventory on hand to meet customer demand but not so much that it ties up working capital. RFID can help you manage your inventory more effectively by providing real-time visibility into stock levels.
- Faster Shipping and Receiving. RFID can also help you speed up your shipping and receiving processes. For example, you can use RFID tags to track shipments throughout the supply chain. This way, you can quickly identify and resolve any issues that may cause delays.
- Improved Quality Control. Quality control is essential for any manufacturer. Products must meet all quality standards before they reach the customer. RFID can help you streamline your quality control process by providing real-time visibility into the production process.
- Maximizing Profit and Reducing Theft
In any business, profit margins are razor-thin. Therefore, it is essential to minimize losses due to theft and other causes. RFID can help you reduce theft and loss by providing real-time visibility into your inventory.
You can also track your assets with RFID tags to ensure that they are used efficiently and not misplaced. For example, you can track tools and other equipment with metal-mount RFID tags to prevent loss and ensure that they are always available when needed.
Similarly, you can use RFID tags to track products throughout the production process. This way, you can quickly identify and resolve any issues that may cause losses.
What are the Benefits of RFID in Manufacturing?
RFID is a sure way to give your business a competitive advantage. Here are some benefits of using RFID in manufacturing:
- Processes Automation. Automating your manufacturing processes reduces the cost of production and speeds up delivery times. RFID plays a critical role in providing real-time visibility into the production process.
- Improved Customer Service. RFID can help you improve your customer service by delivering products on time and reducing defects in products.
- Reduced Costs. Using RFID tags can help you reduce the cost of inventory management, shipping, and quality control. In addition, automating your manufacturing processes with RFID can further reduce your production costs.
While setting up an RFID system for a manufacturing company can be costly, the benefits far outweigh the costs. The initial cost involves implementing an RFID infrastructure and deploying RFID tags.
But once the system is up and running, it will quickly pay for itself by reducing losses, improving customer service, and automating processes.
Examples of RFID Tags for Manufacturing
There are many different types of RFID tags that you can use in manufacturing. The most common type is the ultra-high-frequency (UHF) tag. These tags have a long read range but are susceptible to radio wave interference.
As such, you should only buy one that has been customized to withstand chemicals, radio waves, and other harsh conditions. Other types that you can consider are low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF). LF is best for short-range tracking & works perfectly in any environment.
Additionally, there are RFID tags customized for specific purposes. For example, RFID laundry tags, are used to track linen in the hospitality industry. These tags are designed to withstand high temperatures, harsh chemicals, and moist environments.
Similarly, RFID metal tags are designed for tracking assets in harsh environments. These tags can withstand extreme temperatures and are resistant to chemicals.
When choosing an RFID tag, you need to consider the specific needs of your business. For example, if you want to track assets in a harsh environment, you need to buy an RFID industrial tag that can withstand extreme temperatures and harsh chemicals.