An RFID coder is used to imprint the ID number on an RFID microchip affixed to a vial, box, freezer, or other asset. The RFID number and all information associated with the tracked item can be retrieved using an RFID reader. More important, the signal from RFID tags can be detected remotely. This allows users to obtain asset location data without opening a box or other container.
Is RFID Better than Barcodes?
RFID tags and barcodes both contain information for identification and tracking.
However, RFID tags function better in many environments. RFID only requires the tagged item to be within proximity (typically ~20 feet), in contrast to barcode readers that require line of sight to scan. Second, RFID allows reading the contents of closed containers. Third, RFID functions better in adverse environments. The presence of frost, ice, or liquid can prevent barcode scanners from reading. Radio frequency signals are less susceptible to these effects and RFID tags are able to function in many types of acid, liquid nitrogen, autoclaves, and other challenging environments.
A Complete Solution
RURO’s RFID-enabled asset tracking system includes all required components:
- RFID printer/coder to print labels
- RFID reader to query tag data
- Antennas to associate scanned tags to a configured task
- RFID labels
- Software to generate the RFID numbers, and record and store data
RURO, Inc. has deployed RFID-enabled solutions for many applications. One of the most common is frozen sample tracking utilizing our FreezerPro® software to automate sample check-in/check-out of individual vials or whole boxes of vials simply by passing the assets over an RFID antenna. Multiple antennas can be used and programmed for separate tasks such as check-in, check-out, monitor, audit, and remove from inventory, among others. RFID hardware can be strategically placed within a facility at the lab bench, discreetly above ceiling panels, or even underneath lab benches to maximize space.
A Diversity of Applications
RURO’s highly configurable RFID-enabled tracking solutions can be used in a wide range of industries. For example, in healthcare or a laboratory, RFID tags can be used to track and secure biosamples, costly or critical hospital assets, stock levels, drug trays and contents, scrubs, authorized personnel, and laboratory animals or cages. In manufacturing, RFID tags can be applied to trace any materials, provide quick and reliable inventory/ audit records, track finished goods, track tools or equipment, and to verify shipping or distribution accuracy, among other applications. The system is suitable for any application that requires tracking and inventory tasks.
Benefits of RFID
In addition to eliminating some of the physical challenges to using barcode scanners, RFID solutions also eliminate errors through automation. Automated sample tracking reduces errors associated with manual data entry or re-entry. RFID solutions also increase efficiency. Automated sample tracking, monitoring, and reporting eliminate the need for personnel to perform these tasks, freeing them to perform higher-level functions. Finally, RFID tags store much more data. Memory varies by tag but is typically ~512 bytes. Some tags can store up to 32k, although they are larger and unsuitable for lab applications.