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Minimise the loss of valuable equipment with RFID asset tracking

RFID asset tracking solutions are essential to help businesses improve operational efficiency by monitoring the location and movement of their physical and people assets in real-time. Everything from warehouse and retail inventory to expensive machinery and tools, vehicles, and your workforce productivity can be tracked, located, and monitored with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology via a centralised platform. An RFID asset tracking solution will help your business:

  • Gain real-time visibility of your assets and inventory by reading RFID tags from anywhere within your location to improve operational efficiency and identify areas to cut costs.
  • Minimise loss and theft of valuable items by tracking them closely, or setting up a geofence to receive an alert when an asset leaves a set perimeter.
  • Eliminate manual tracking to reduce the possibility of inaccurate, outdated data, and release time back to workers to focus on their primary objectives.
  • Streamline operations, identify bottlenecks, and improve project outcomes by efficiently managing asset flow through your off-site projects. You can track the movement of assets in real-time to stay on top of everything.
  • Gain valuable insights into asset utilisation and performance to make informed decisions when purchasing new ones, identify areas to cut costs, improve resource management, and keep track of maintenance to extend their lifespan.

What is RFID asset tracking?

Radio-frequency identification has become a must-have technology for organisations in industries such as healthcare, logistics, warehousing, retail, and construction, which rely heavily on their assets. To have a complete RFID asset tracking system, you need RFID labels or tags, RFID readers, and antennas connected to asset tracking software to manage everything in one place.

RFID automates the process of tracking, locating, and monitoring physical assets that change location, capturing data which is stored in a centralised system for employees to access from anywhere. This ensures that your staff can quickly and efficiently obtain the necessary resources to complete their duties, while also increasing accountability while an asset is under their control. It also removes any potential errors that could arise from the manual input of data and reduces the need for staff to physically move into hazardous areas. This is because the RFID reader can accurately capture data from several feet away, as opposed to the more traditional barcode labelling solution where the tag would need scanning directly.

  • RFID is a cost-effective, automated way to track, locate and monitor your physical assets.
  • A complete RFID asset tracking system requires RFID labels or tags, RFID readers, and antennas connected to asset tracking software.
  • Captured data is stored in a centralised system for employees to access.
  • Eliminate the highly error-prone practices of using pen and paper, and Excel spreadsheets.
  • Staff members benefit from obtaining equipment quickly to fulfil their responsibilities and are accountable for the assets they borrow for their use.

Learn more about asset tracking in our guide on 'What is asset tracking and how does it work?'


How does RFID asset tracking work?


To have a complete and operational RFID asset tracking system, RFID labels or tags need to be attached to all physical assets that are likely to move location. These tags emit radio signals that can be detected by handheld, wearable, and fixed mount RFID readers. Asset labels are printed and embedded with RFID using your own RFID thermal label printers, or by outsourcing to a third-party RFID labelling service provider.

A portable RFID reader built into a mobile computer sends a signal to the asset tag, which then responds with its unique identification number. Fixed readers can also be installed throughout a facility or location. As assets pass within a range of readers, their location and other data are automatically transmitted and recorded in your intuitive asset tracking software on your mobile device while your workers are on the go. 

  1. RFID labels or tags are attached to an organisation’s physical assets (More on the difference between labels and tags in the section below).
  2. RFID tags hold information about the asset including name, ID number and any other information the organisation chooses to add.
  3. RFID tags emit radio signals that are read from up to several feet away by RFID readers.
  4. Data is automatically transmitted back to your asset tracking software for workers on the go, enabling them to have full visibility.


The different types of RFID tags and levels of frequency

RFID tags are small electronic devices that use an antenna and microchip to transmit and receive information. The microchip stores the data that needs to be transferred. Assets can be tagged with different types of RFID tags; Active, Passive, and Semi-Passive. Each tag operates differently, and you must understand the use of each to ensure your RFID asset tracking solution works effectively. We’ll explore the different types of RFID tags and levels of frequency below.

Active RFID tags

  • Battery operated, lasting 3 - 5 years
  • Continuously transmit a signal.
  • Signal range up to 150 meters.
  • Most commonly used to track assets in real-time.
  • Often encased in a rugged shell to weather harsh environments.
  • The larger of the two types of RFID tags.
  • An active RFID system requires a reader, an antenna, and a tag.
There are two types of Active tags available – transponders and beacons. Active transponder tags respond to a signal from the reader and send a signal back with the relevant information. Active beacon tags automatically send out its required information every 3 – 5 seconds.

Passive RFID tags

  • No internal power source – powered by an RFID reader or antenna via electromagnetic waves.
  • Wait for a signal from an RFID reader or antenna, then respond.
  • Lower signal range than Active RFID tags.
  • Small and lightweight.
  • Can be printed by an RFID thermal label printer
  • Longer life expectancy than Active RFID tags.
  • Cost-effective way of implementing an RFID asset tracking solution.

There are three different frequencies to consider when procuring your Passive RFID tags – low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), and ultra-high frequency systems. It is important to know which is most suitable for your requirements as frequency output can alter the size, cost, communication quality, and overall performance.

Low frequency wavelength

Low frequency RFID systems

  • Frequencies range from 30KHz to 300 KHz, but typically between 125KHz and 134KHz.
  • The reader must be close to the tag, within around 10cm.
  • Relatively slow read speed.
  • Long wavelength that allows signals to penetrate solid materials and high water content.
  • Not very sensitive to radio wave interference.
  • Not often recommended for an RFID asset tracking system – more commonly used for access control.>
High frequency wavelength

High frequency RFID systems

  • Frequencies range from 3MHz to 30MHz, but typically at 13.56MHz.
  • Read range limited to 10 metres.
  • Good penetration of solid materials and high water content.
  • Moderate level of radio wave interference. 
  • Can be used for RFID asset tracking of smaller assets, but more commonly used for data transfer applications and payment systems.
ultra-high frequency wavelength

Ultra-high frequency RFID systems

  • Frequencies range from 300MHz to 3GHz, but typically between the UHF Gen2 standard of 860MHz to 960 MHz.
  • Greater read range of up to 150 meters.
  • Faster data transfer speeds than other forms of RFID.
  • Shorter wavelengths hinder signals from passing through metal or water.
  • Most RFID asset tracking systems operate with ultra-high frequency ranges.
Semi-Passive RFID tags can also be used as part of your RFID asset tracking system – these feature an internal battery as well as an antenna and RFID chip, but are only effective when used in close distance of an RFID reader.

We partner with the leading RFID asset tracking providers

The Barcode Warehouse is an RFID asset tracking solutions provider, offering consultative and project management services to organisations at all stages of their RFID asset tracking journey.
We partner with the leading RFID asset tracking hardware and software manufacturers to offer the very latest technology, offering bespoke solutions to meet your business needs. From handheld and wearable RFID tags and readers, to printers, labels, tags, and locker solutions, we work with our partners to find the best fit for you. We also own a UK-based labels manufacturing facility to help with your bespoke label needs, including design, printing, and RFID embedding.
Get in touch with our RFID asset tracking experts today for a free consultation.

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Warehouse worker locating asset on mobile computer
Image credit: Logistics RFID illustration by vectorjuice on Freepik

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