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Libraries Invest in RFID Technology

Category: RFID Tags — Posted by BrittanyK - 9:33 pm

Illinois public library contemplates spending $1 million next year on an automated check-in and sorting system for books, CDs and other materials it lends to customers. The recent increase in circulation has made the library look in to RFID technology.

The Gail Borden Public Library District expects to know by May whether the purchase will fit in to its 2011-2012 budget. More specifically they’re looking in to the new 3M Library System. Several surrounding libraries have already invested in the technology.  The system helps cut down the time employees are spending on checking in and sorting items. This will get materials back in to circulation much faster.

According to the news article from The Courier- News, “We spend approximately 210 people hours per week checking in and broad sorting materials,” library spokeswoman Denise Raleigh said. Those are hours that are not being spent “uplifting the customer’s experience” and could be done by technology, she said.

The RFID tags will be used to monitor more than 400,000 items. Then, machines will be able to check in and sort the materials for re-shelving. “The tags are small labels containing coiled-up metal antennas similar to the paper-thin security stickers used in retail stores”.

Information about each item is on the tags so that the scanner and sorting equipment will read the information on them, and then the item will travel down a conveyor belt and be sorted by a machine in to a bin that corresponds with the area of the library the book belongs.

What is your opinion of the 3M Library Systems?

RFID Tags Go Green

Category: RFID Tags — Posted by BrittanyK - 9:14 pm

New passive RFID tags, being developed by Smartrac, will almost be “biodegraded” after use, to reduce waste, while still remaining at an affordable price. The chip and antenna will not be made by these biodegraded components, but the rest of the tag will.

Every product, from diapers to diaper bags, is “going green”. This means they’re becoming more environmental friendly. For those who are concerned about the environment or “going green”, and have the need for RFID tags, this is a new product that will last up to several months and is affordable. It is also just as effective.

According to RFIDJournal.com, “Our target is to prepare ourselves for the time when RFID transponders will be embedded into more or less any consumer product,” Rietzler says. “The expectation is that there will be no major price difference, and Smartrac’s motivation for this is not to produce an expensive product,” Rietzler explains. “The motivation is that we want to take a leading role, and might be able to gain a competitive advantage by offering a green range of products.”

With this new technology still in its early stages, they are developing two lines of transponders.

The first line will use a biopolymer material, which brings the lifespan to several weeks or months. Some of the applications they anticipate are verifying the legitimacy and safety of goods, tracking logistics in warehouses and identifying checked in luggage at airlines.

The second line will be paper-based material, which brings the life span to a few days.  These would decompose much faster when they become wet. Some of the applications they anticipate this device being used for are, ticketing which includes anything from events to transportation

How RFID Readers and Antennas Affect the Read Range

Category: passive rfid reader — Tags: — Posted by greggm - 2:53 pm

As I mentioned in my previous blog about the million dollar question, “How far will it read?”, two of the factors are the reader and antennas (and remember we are discussing passive RFID).

Passive UHF RFID readers can affect the read range depending on the manufacturer and the power level.  In the US, FCC regulations cap the output power at 4 watts, whereas in Europe it is only 1 watt.  There are studies available for purchase that detail the testing results of readers and antennas in a controlled, RF-friendly environment.  These are appropriate for general guidelines, but each environment is different and a reader that did not test at #1 in the study may be the better one in your environment.

Passive UHF RFID antennas can also affect the read range depending on the manufacturer, the type of polarization and the gain.  Antennas can be either linearly polarized or circularly polarized.  When the direction of the electric field is in one plane, it is called “linear polarization”.  When the direction of the electric field is rotated around the axis of propagation, it is called “circular polarization”.  Linear polarized antennas will provide a longer read range as compared to circular.  Also, an improvement in antenna gain is achieved by focusing the radiated RF into narrower patterns for the purpose of increasing the power in a specific direction.  In general, the higher the gain the longer the read range.
Polarization of a Linear AntennaPolarization of a Circular Antenna

My next post will cover how RFID tags affect the read range.