In this article, we will cover the differences present in RFID tags, their pros and cons, our preferences for the best experience with Flex, as well as some examples of products currently on the market, with links to those manufacturers.
Passive Vs. Active
There are two types of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags that can be affixed to physical assets - “passive” and “active.”
Active tags require a battery that continuously broadcasts a signal with longer read ranges, while passive tags do not need an internal power source, and are powered by the electromagnetic energy transmitted from an RFID scanner. Passive tags remain silent until energized by a scanner, which then reads the unique code, reducing extraneous signals.
Passive RFID systems use tags with no internal power source and instead receive their power by converting the electromagnetic energy transmitted from an RFID reader. It is common practice to use Passive RFID tags in high volume asset tracking environments as the lower price point per tag, makes employing passive RFID systems economical.
Passive RFID tags only have two main components – the tag’s antenna and the microchip or integrated circuit (IC).
Passive / Active Tag Similarities
- Both use electromagnetic energy.
- Line-of-sight is not required for either to acquire RFID data of assets.
- Both enable readers to detect and identify objects.
Passive / Active Tag Differences
- Passive tags have a read range of 20 feet with handheld readers, while active tags can have a read range as broad as 750 feet. It should be noted, however, that longer read ranges can create an issue with signal interference and the unintended reading of other tagged assets in the area.
- Passive tags have an unlimited lifespan while, the battery-powered active tags last between 1 - 3 years.
- Passive tags are less expensive, generally ranging between $0.16 and $2.50 apiece while active tags can run between $30 - $80.
- Passive Tag sizes come in a broader range of sizes. Some are as small as a large grain of rice while others are as large as a small candy bar. Typical active tags range from the size of a small candy bar and larger.
Countless types of passive RFID tags exist on the market, but all tags generally fall into two categories – inlays or hard tags. Thin labels or stickers are typical examples of RFID Inlays. Hard RFID tags are more durable and made of plastic, metal, ceramic and even rubber. They come in all shapes and sizes and for unique functions, materials, and applications.
FLEX ONLY RECOMMENDS PASSIVE TAGS
*This section is updated as we receive feedback from users.*
Pre-Printed Tags with Bar Code and RFID
Metalcraft's Universal Series of RFID / Barcode Labels are the closet thing to a "one-size-fits-all" RFID solution we have found. Tags work well on both Metal and Non-Metal Assets. The ability to have both a barcode printed on the label and the RFID tag inlayed makes a ideal tag from a vast amount of inventory. These come in three different sizes. Typical read distance is about 2'. Typically these stickers can have both a barcode, as a backup for the RFID tag and the RFID Inlay.
|Large Asset Tags||Small Asset Tags||Mini Asset Tags|
Vizinex Cable Clamps
Vizinex are makers of after market cable clamps / housing are a great way to add RFID to existing cable supplies. The shells clamp around different sizes of cable from standard 12/3 power cables all the way up to 6 cable breakout bundles. The housings have an area to captivate a tie line. In the future, they have plans to release smaller housings for cables with smaller diameters.
Xerafy produces unique tags, perfect for applications where an adhesive label is not conducive to the equipment being tracked. Tags like the XS Dot On and Titanium Metal Skin offer broad flexibility with a minuscule footprint, and boast superior durability.
|XS Dot On||Titamium Metal Skin|
Hubbell currently produces a line of cable clamps, as well as connectors, with built-in RFID tags. In business for over a hundred years, Hubbell is an institution in electrical and electronic products.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with recommendations.