Our last several blog entries discussed the various technical aspects of RFID hardware and software as well as considerations for implementing the technology. We briefly discussed the standards imposed by different regions and the impact on RFID tag selection.
We will now discuss the labor intensive task of selecting and affixing RFID tags to trackable fixed assets.
Selection of the proper RFID tags is a crucial aspect to a successful deployment.
Before looking at tags, you must first establish the types and classifications of assets they will be affixed to and then analyze the environmental conditions they will sustain on a regular basis.
Extreme temperatures, weathering, abrasion, and chemical exposure are just a few. What size is the asset and how much real estate is available on it for affixing a tag. Where will it be affixed? What is the asset made of? How will the tag be affixed?
We recommend using an asset listing to categorize the different types of assets, conditions, and potential issues to be addressed for each, line by line.
Using this listing, you can then start working with a knowledgeable vendor or integrator (such as Verasset) to establish which RFID tag types will best suit your needs. Depending on the nature of your business, it is likely that 1 or 2 types of tags will not satisfy your needs. You may find that you are better off using 5-10 different types of tags based on the various conditions in your environment.
To further complicate the issue, it is recommended that you test the various RFID tags in your environment, or in a similar test environment before a full deployment. Encapsulated, passive RFID tags can start anywhere from $1.00 (USD) per tag or more. Deploying thousands of them without having tested them can lead to a costly mistake if they don’t perform as intended.
Choosing an unbiased, third party integrator (such as Verasset) to select and provide RFID tags can simplify a complex issue. Look for a vendor that has experience in:
- RFID Network Deployments
- RFID Tag Selection (and application)
- Analyzing and organizing fixed asset listings
The vendor should have experience with various RFID tag manufacturers but have no direct affiliation. This will ensure their assessment and recommendations are unbiased and in your best interest.
Stay tuned as we discuss deployment/application of RFID tags, data collection, and conducting fixed asset inventory using RFID technology.