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  • 1. Think Innovation Think RFID

2. Contents RFID Explained Introduction 4Where is RFID used?6Implementing/Deploying RFID7The Use of RFID9Research Activities Queens University Belfast18University of Ulster20Case Studies Ulster Carpets (Compete)24Kilpatrick (PPD)25Ashdale Engineering (SMART) 27Invest NI and R&D Financial Assistance START Programme 30Compete Programme 31Product and Process Development Programme 32Knowledge Transfer Partnership Programme33SMART Award 34Managment Information System Programme (MIS)35Business Improvement Training Programme 36 1 3. RFID Explained 3 4. IntroductionIntroduction to Radio FrequencyIntroduction to Microwave (RF) (MW)Radio frequency (RF) refers to electromagnetic The electromagnetic spectrum shown in the waves that have a wavelength suited for usefigure below covers a wide range of waves with in radio communication. Radio waves aredifferent properties depending on the frequency, classified by their frequencies, which are f, of the wave. The wavelength, is related to expressed in kilohertz, megahertz or gigahertz.frequency through the speed of propagation Radio frequencies range from very low frequency(c = f) where c equals the speed of light in (VLF), which has a range of 10 to 30 kHz,free space. to extremely high frequency (EHF) which hasMicrowaves are usually defined as electromagnetic a range of 30 to 300 GHz. RF Technology iswaves in the frequency region from 300 MHz used in many different applications, such asto 30 GHz. This means that the wavelength in television, radio, mobile phones, radar andfree space has the same order of size as the automatic identification systems.components used for generation and detectionof microwaves. 4 5. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification.There are both active and passive tags. It uses radio frequency to identify objects. In itsPassive tags do not have their own energy source,most basic form, RFID requires two components: they are activated by the radio frequency field from the antenna of the RFID reader. These chips a Radio Signal Transponder, or tag, that isare intended for use in the consumer goodsattached to an object and contains identifyingindustry and the trade sector.information about the object to which it is attached and an antenna to communicate Active tags have a power supply, which means datathat information via radio waves;stored can be read at a much greater distance. a reader, which creates a radio frequency field Many toll systems, for example, function onthat detects radio waves to obtain information this principle. See Appendix 1 and 2 forin a tag.further information. In an RFID system, there is no line of sight requirement for product identification because the tags do not need to be seen by a scanner.Some form of number code is generally stored on the transponder. It encrypts information which is recorded in a database for access by authorised users. International organisations such EPCglobal are working to establish uniform worldwide standards for this number code. 5 6. Where is RFID used? RFID is already widely used across a broad range of industries. This table shows some RFID applications. Industry SectorSpecific Use ExamplesRetail Track and trace Product recalls Streamlined shipping and receiving Automated invoice reconciliation Shrinkage reduction Improved demand planningHealthcare Red Cross: monitoring blood banks Hospitals: monitoring medication routes from medicine cabinet to patient Pharmacy: drug recall (product pedigree) Prescription drugs: identifying counterfeit or falsely labelled medicationsLogistics Asset utilization: asset (e.g., containers, trucks, etc.) management, tracking and maintenance Improving operational efficiencies: volume planning and automated data capture through shipping route Safety and security: shipment route tracing and positive identification of package contents Automated customsAutomotive Capital asset management: container and tool management Part tracking: inventory management; assembly; theft control; brand authentication; distribution; recall; recycling Vehicle related: car identification; access control; tire pressureFood Industry Mad Cow Disease/Bird Flu: cow/bird pedigree, herd/flock history and details about the release into the food chain (Traceability) Restaurants: responding to outbreaks of food poisoningDepartment of Defence Supplies and materials management: track and trace; streamlined receiving; etc. Military assets management: asset utilisation, tracking and maintenanceSecurity/Policing Passport IDs Criminal trackingAirline Baggage handling 6 7. Implementing/Deploying RFIDRFID is a technology from which many uses To successfully implement/deploy RFID the and applications can be found that can addfollowing should be considered: value to a business. It also requires special skills. Planning Several companies in Northern Ireland haveCareful planning is essential to ensure that already adopted and implemented RFIDthe organisation benefits and to avoid risks. successfully. Success stories are includedIt will require creation of a new policy to adopt later in this document.the technology. Communication, education Both local universities have extensive experienceand training plans must also be in pace. in RFID ranging fundamental research and design Physics to application. Queens University Belfast andPhysics is a very important factor in the University of Ulster are the best source to supplyimplementation process. Selecting the right RFID skills to the local industry. Their laboratorieshardware (tags, reader, range of frequencies, can be used to analyse and characterise devices.number of reader etc) and designing the The first step in deploying RFID is to map out software are crucial. Therefore, the design requirements and to consider if other technologies stage and understanding the business model may be more suitable. A. SWOT analysis can are important factors for decision making help to tease out requirements.exercises. It is essential to identify/selectthe right partner to supply the hardware Some organisations will factor RFID into theirto provide the right solution. strategy, as RFID can be seen as part of the Six Sigma process of continuous improvement. Pilot The most important factor to any organisationThe pilot phase is critical. This phase is a test is Return on Investment. for project planning. It is important to carryout pilot trials before full scale implementation,in order to ensure that the hardware andsoftware works to plan. This phase can beused as a training step to familiarise staffwith the technology prior to full deployment.It is essential to review the design andspecification at this stage. 7 8. ProductionThe production phase or full scale phase isthe methodical scaling up of a well designedsystem. If the Planning and Pilot phases werecompleted with clear objectives and goals inmind, the implementation process can bevery smooth. Project management coupledwith clear goals is a key factor. Contingencyand flexibility need to be built into the projectas this technology is new to most companies.ODIN technologies developed the following model to implement/deploy RFID solution. Figure 1, illustrates 4 Ps to deploy RFID technology - source ODIN technologies.8 9. The Use of RFIDThe Use of RFID and its applications inThe once obscure acronym RFID (Radio Frequency manufacturing, logistics and supply chainIDentification, the use of electromagnetic waves management, retailing etc. to identify a physical object) has recently beenin the news in many contexts. In this document, RFID is a flexible technology that is convenient,we will try to explain how that single acronym easy to use, and well-suited for automatic operation.is used for a number of different, but related, It combines advantages not available with othertechnologies with distinct characteristics, identification technologies. RFID can be suppliedand examine some of the unique analog and RF as read-only or read/write, does not requireproblems encountered in designing RFID systems. contact or line-of-sight to operate, can function under a variety of environmental conditions, Unlike the barcode where identification is and provides a high level of data integrity.limited by line-of-sight, RFID technology and In addition, because the technology is difficult to its reliance on radio waves does not require counterfeit, RFID provides a high level of security.a line-of-sight for identification or a straight- line alignment between the tags and readers. RFID is similar in concept to bar coding. Bar code As new applications develop, the technology systems use a reader and coded labels that are will continue to evolve. Growth beyond todays attached to an item, whereas RFID uses a reader user-specific systems will occur as RFID is and special RFID devices that are attached to deployed across the marketplace and the an item. Bar code uses optical signals to transfer related hardware and software achieve information from the label to the reader; a high degree of harmonization. RFID uses RF signals to transfer information from the RFID device to the reader.Opportunities Radio waves transfer data between an item to which an RFID device is attached and an As the technology matures and applications RFID reader. The device can contain data aboutproliferate, RFID will facilitate global commerce the item, such as what the item is, what time and spur innovation and competitiveness. the device travelled through a certain zone, RFID technology increases visibility and perhaps even a parameter such as temperature. accountability in the supply chain. RFID will RFID devices, such as a tag or label, can beallow manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers attached to virtually anything from a vehicle to efficiently collect, manage, distribute, to a pallet of merchandise. and store information on inventory, business processes, and security con

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