Think big but start small! One interesting point we observe often when customers get in contact with the RFID subject for the first time, are the overwhelming possibilities this technology could offer. But to start with a real application in the beginning, customers should analyze their workflows and should focus on processes which are easy to integrate and directly gain benefits for them. Ideal are workflows which could be separate into small pieces and act as closed loop processes like sample tracking in a fridge or incubator. If bar-coding is already involved, it could be easily enhanced or replaced by RFID. Our RFID solutions are modular and flexible, so that they could be expanded step by step through-out the complete laboratory workflow. With this approach our customers get directly a better feeling for the RFID technology in a fast and cost effective way.
To make sure the integration of automatic identification and data collection within your processes is done smoothly we are working belong the following guide line:
1) RFID Evaluation The first step is a study of the practical environment in which the project is planned. Together with the customer, the specific workflow will be analyzed.
2) RFID Scenarios The results of the RFID evaluation are taken into account to build the business case.
3) Feasibility Study For the selected processes, a technical feasibility study is performed. Using real equipment and realistic scenarios, we test the chosen technology and solutions for the tag and antenna positioning. At the end of this phase, the whole technical concept, i.e. positioning of the readers, tags and antennas, is technically proven, and an RFID field trial can start.
4) RFID Field Trial The proven technology is put in place on a sufficient scale to simulate and measure the real processes.
5) Roll Out project Complete integration of the technology and processes.
Yes, if it is acceptable for your application to use a little bit thicker tags. We offer a new, unique pencil type of UHF tag special designed for usage in harsh environments and under demanding conditions. Temperature range goes up to +300°C with a reading distance of 1.5 meter under direct metal contact. If equiped with a shield layer between tag and metal surface an enhanced reading distance of 6 meters could be reached. [more]
In principle all laboratory equipment with a communication interface could be made RFID enabled. For periphery devices our own plug-in drivers are used. In case of the instrument control software, the existence of a well defined external interface makes the integration much more flexible and straight-forward. Good examples are the Agilent Technologies Chemstation or EzChrom software packages. But depending on your budget and the time required, RFID could be implemented in other types of software applications too.
Yes, nowadays it is possible with an enhanced transmission protocol for passive HF RFID item level identification. This unique technology enables tracking with a reliable high speed processing of items in fully dynamic situations like boxes containing multiple, even stacked items moving on high speed conveyor belts. In real life applications for tracking sample through-out the facility, we will install panel-sized antennas besides stock doors and even inside storage-racks, fridges or incubators.
In our RFID solutions, different levels of data security are used. The wireless communication between a reader and a TAG is always proofed with data integrity checks based on cryptographic operations. Because of the shortage of computational resources within the tag, further levels of security are done on the reader and at the software side. To gain the maximum capacity out of the TAG memory and make it no longer world-readable, the complete data stream will be first compressed and then encrypted with strong algorithms. Furthermore we offer proprietary RFID-hardware, where the TAG includes an OTP (one time programmable) memory block, which could be used to lock such RFID systems to a specific customer or application.
A RFID tag could be compared with an USB memory stick with a lower memory capacity. The number of write cycles are theoretical limited to >100000 per single EEPROM memory cell, where the number of read outs are unlimited. At +20°C the data retention time is greater than 10-years, with no significant degrading at higher storage tempeartures up to +75°C. But the data retention time is lowered to 1-year if a level of 1000 write cycles is execeeded.
The typical operating temperature for a RFID tag is between -25ºC and +70ºC. Storage temperature typically is between -40ºC and +85ºC. Depending on the inlay material enhanced temperature ranges are available. Storage temperatures between -80ºC up to +250ºC are possible.