The Electronic Product Code (EPC)

The Electronic Product Code (EPC)

The Electronic Product Code is the next evolution of product identification, utilizing RFID technology to identify objects in a supply chain.

Based on current numbering schemes (EAN, VIN etc.), EPC is divided into numbers that differentiate the product and manufacturer of a given item. The difference between EPC and previous numbering systems lies in the usage of an extra set of digits to uniquely identify one object. According to the EPCGlobal company website, An EPC number contains:

A Header, identifying the length, type, structure, version and generation of EPC
The Manager Number, which identifies the company or company entity
Object Class, similar to a stock keeping unit or SKU
Serial Number, which is the specific instance of the Object Class being tagged
The Electronic Product Code promises to become the standard for global RFID usage.

RFID solution for library management

RFID solution for library management
RFID tags on containers are capable of storing large amounts of information about manufacturing
logistics maintenance schedules etc.
By deploying networks of RFID antennas and tags and utilizing a dedicated software system,companies
are able to bring real-time visibility to containers.

Components
* RFID card dispenser
* Fixed reader
* Container tag
* Antenna
* Vehicle mount reader
* Access control system
* Automatic yard management system
* Center control system.

Features
* Automatic gate check in and check out to speedup process
* Verify container ID trailer license number operator time for secure control
* Automatic identification of containers during put-away and pickup
* Accurate 3D position of each container
* Wireless communication without infrastructure investment
* Increase operational efficiencies of yard management of incoming and outgoing trucks/freight
* Control costs of manual tracking and management of trucks and freight
* Improve efficiencies in yard management processes – eliminating previous time-consuming labor-intensive counts Benefits

Efficiency and accuracy
* The RFID yard management system automates the key process eliminating paper work and keypunch errors increasing efficiency and accuracy and reducing labor.
Real-time Inventory Visibility
* The access to real-time yard inventory information ensures the best utilization of space
Easy Operation and Better Management
* The accurate information the yard check can be reduced or eliminated.

How do RFID readers connect to other parts of the RFID system?

How do RFID readers connect to other parts of the RFID system?
RFID readers have different methods of being connected to the computer host or network including via Bluetooth, USB, serial, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet.

What is RFID reader collision?
Reader collision is the situation where the signal from one reader interferes with the signal from another one so that their coverage overlap. Using time division multiple accesses can overcome this problem by setting the readers to read at different time frames without interfering with each other. However, it is important that the software connected to the reader can recognize when the same RFID tag was read more than once in the overlapping area and adjust the system accordingly.

Which factors affect read range of an RFID tag?
A read range is greatly affected by the reader transmit power, tag orientation and antenna gain.

What is the difference between a fixed and mobile RFID reader?

What is the difference between a fixed and mobile RFID reader?
Fixed readers are set up to create and sometimes control access to secured safe zones, parking lots, certain doors, secured room, and track movement of tagged object across certain zones. Mobile readers are portable, which may be hand-held or mounted within a truck. They are commonly used by personnel to identify tagged objects or commit inventory counts of merchandise.

How do I know which frequency is right for my application?

How do I know which frequency is right for my application?
Different radio wave frequencies are used for different applications. Low-frequency tags are cheaper, use less power and are better in penetrating non-metallic substances. Hence, they are great for scanning objects with high-water content, such as fruit, at close range. Tags with higher frequencies offer better range and faster data transfer. However, they use more power and are weak in penetrating materials, which means they more commonly require a direct clear path between the tag and reader.

What is EPC Gen 2?

What is EPC Gen 2?
Gen 2 is the shorthand name given to the second generation EPC global protocol. It addressed the compatible problems in old tag class 0 and 1 and was designed to be globally accepted with enhancements such as a dense reader mode of operation, so as to prevent readers from interfering with one another when they are used in close distance to each other. It was later adopted with minor adjustments as ISO 18000-6C.

Do environmental factors effect rfid tag functionality?

Do environmental factors effect rfid tag functionality?

While choosing an RFID tag the first requirement is frequency. The frequency of the tags should be matched with the corresponding RFID reader for the proper functioning. Every RFID system works on particular frequency band of low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), ultra-high frequency (UHF) or microwave frequency. In general, with the increase in frequency range, the reading distance and rate of data processing also increase.

For the reliable functioning it is important to deploy a tag according to its environment conditions. The housing material used for construction of tags depends upon an application. If a tag is used for book tracking in libraries, the paper or plastic is used and for harsh environment the material will be different. Under the various environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, chemical impact, sand, water, dirt etc., a tag requires the suitable IP rates for protection. For indoor applications the IP65 or less are suitable and while selecting a tag for outdoor applications the IP67 or above is best.

What are the RFID tag classes or standards?

What are the RFID tag classes or standards?
The original tag classes were first developed by the MIT Auto-ID Center. The oldest class 0 and 1 later passed onto EPCglobal as a basis to create the newer standard of EPC Gen 2, the full definitions of the remaining newer classes are still under development. Below shows a brief description on each available class currently:

Class 0 Generation 1, factory preprogrammed read-only passive tag
Class 1 Generation 1 and 2, Read-only passive tag similar to class 0 and has one-time field programmability
Class 2 Passive tag with read-write capability
Class 3 Semi-passive tag with read-write memory, onboard sensor and an incorporated battery to provide increased coverage.
Class 4 Read-write active tag with integrated transmitter for communication using the battery onboard.
Class 5 Class 4 tags that provide additional circuitry to communicate with or provide power to other tags.

RFID Uses in the Fisheries Industry

RFID Uses in the Fisheries Industry
RFID has been used in fisheries for some time allowing companies to keep track of their employees, utilize their production time and allow for access control to only those authorized. It is also widely used for fisheries to keep tabs on their equipment and inventory, but what about the fish themselves?

Of course it would be impossible to tag each and every fish in the ocean, but the technology is changing and today it is possible to catch and then tag a box of fish, giving people waiting at the harbour to buy the fresh fish the opportunity to do so before the boat even arrives back to shore. The fish are caught and put into a box that can collect data on the fishing grounds, the quality of the fish, the size of the fish and the point of sale of the fish. The fish in the box are also typed, weighed and the quality noted, letting the buyers in on what is on board and what they wish to buy all while still at sea.

These fishing boxes are reusable and customizable and give can collect crucial information on fishing areas as well as information on the fish themselves.

RFID data can also be used to ensure adhesion to fishing rules and laws that are in place and sometimes hotly contested between countries. This can also lead to less policing of vessels, and lower costs to boat operators.

RFID Uses in Agriculture

RFID Uses in Agriculture
RFID has already been used for years in some aspects of the agriculture industry. Tagging of animals like sheep and cows allows the farmer to have superior traceability, better breeding control, better conservation efforts and of course, data collection about each and every animal of the herd. RFID can also play a major role with automated feeding, weighing and disease management of the animals, all with a simple tag, in addition to tracking capabilities of a lost animal and return to its rightful owner.

Sheep and goat farming, hog and pig farming, equine facilities, poultry and egg production centers, dairy cattle ranching, beef steer ranching, and aquaculture are all areas of the agriculture industry that sees many benefits from RFID applications.

Agriculture is also about food production of the plant kind; things like wheat, corn and grain farming can also benefit from RFID applications. While you cannot tag each individual seed or grain of corn, you can however tag bales of hay, and entire fields of growing produce.

Specialized tags allow bales of hay to be tagged, which in turn allows the date harvested, the field it was harvested from, the temperature, weight and moisture level of each bale and also the nutritional information to be captured and stored. Tags, readers and software are the components required and RFID has many qualities that busy farmers and ranchers are looking for: it is non-contact, has a high recognition rate, a large bulk storage memory, secure access and it is easily integrated into your existing system.

Data collection in greenhouses is also possible with specialized RFID tags and readers, specially designed for the warm and humid conditions. Growth time, moisture content, equipment management and even personnel management and employees’ production time can easily be tracked, not to mention access control, allowing only those authorized to be in certain areas to have access to those areas.