Evolving Bar Codes. Y398 Internship. William Holmes

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1 Evolving Bar Codes Y398 Internship By William Holmes Table of contents Introduction: What is RFID? Types of Tags: Advantages of Tags: RFID applications Conclusion:

2 Introduction: Bar codes have evolved over the decades to be a common part of almost anything we use today. From retail applications to manufacturing applications, bar codes play a key role in increasing efficiency, accountability, and accuracy of any given item. Like most companies trying to succeed in today s society, bar codes are vital part of any successful company. Bar codes began as a linear style. This style of bar codes uses a simple numeric or alphanumeric code that provided the key to a database of items. A limitation to the linear style bar code is the amount of data a bar code can store. With increasing amounts of data to be store on a bar code the 2D(two-dimensional) barcode was developed. These bar code symbologies provide a means of storing large amounts of data in a very small area. These types of labels linear and 2 dimensional are used heavily all over the world today, but a new technology has been evolving over the past decade, which is called RFID.

3 What is RFID? Radio frequency identification, or RFID, is a term for technologies that use radio waves to automatically identify individual items. RFID is a means of storing, and retrieving data through electromagnetic transmission to an RF compatible circuit. This RFID tag is usually a single solid-state memory chip, but could also be designed where several electronic components together are used to form a circuit design. The circuit includes one of several memory chips that are use for data storage, Circuit board, and an antenna of some type. This circuit may also contain a power source depending on the tag design. An RFID system has several basic components. These are: Interrogator- The interrogator or reader is a device that is used to primarily read and write data to RFID tags. Transponder- a transponder is an RFID tag. Radio Frequency- RFID uses a defined radio frequency and protocol to transmit and receive data from RFID tags. The reader emits radio signals to activate the tag and read and write data to it. Readers control the system's data acquisition and communication. Readers are available in a variety of shapes and sizes: they can be built into a doorframe to receive tag data from persons or things passing through the door, or mounted on an interstate tollbooth to monitor traffic passing by on a freeway. The electromagnetic field produced by a reader can be constantly present when multiple tags are expected continually. Readers can be

4 configured either as a handheld of a fixed mount device, The readers emits radio waves in range of anywhere from one inch to 100 feet or more, depending upon its power output and the radio frequency used. When an RFID tag passes through the electromagnetic zone, it detects the reader's activation signal. The reader decodes the data encoded in the tag's integrated circuit and the data is passed to the host computer for processing.

5 Types of Tags: RFID tags come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. These tags are categorized as either active or passive. Active RFID tags are powered by an internal battery and typically read/write. An active tag's memory size varies according to application requirements: some systems operate with up to 1MB of memory. In a typical read/write RFID work in process system, a tag might give a machine a set of instruction, and the machine would then report its performance to the tag. This encoded data would then become part of the tagged part's history. The battery-supplied power of an active tag generally gives it a longer read range. The trade off is greater cost, and a limited operational life. Passive RFID tags operate without a separate external power source and obtain operating power generated from the reader. Passive tags are consequently much lighter than active tags, less expensive, and offer a virtually unlimited operational lifetime. The trade off is that they have shorter read ranges than active tags and require a higher-powered reader. Read only tags are typically passive and are programmed with a unique set of data that cannot be modified. Read only tags most often operate as a license plate into a database; in the same way as linear barcodes reference a database containing modifiable product specific information.

6 Advantages of RFID RFID technology offers some significant advantages over traditional bar codes. Here as some of their advantages. 1. RFID systems can operate in an unattended mode such as stationary interrogators can be controlled totally by the host computer application programming and do not require human intervention for direction or activation. 2. Tags are capable of withstanding harsh environments. Since RFID tags do not rely on printed means of data storage, they are no subjected to the same limitations of printed symbols and the material on which they are printed. 3. Simultaneous reading of multiple tags. 4. RFID tags are solid-state circuits and contain no moving parts. They can be subjected to high levels of shock and vibration. 5. Tags memory can be factory or field programmed and optionally permanently locked. 6. RFID tags can be reused. It can be rewritten with different data for the same item or rewritten with different data of a new item. 7. RFID tags do not have to be physically seen by an interrogator to read the tag.

7 RFID applications Shipping Containers: The world s largest seaports are implementing one example of tracking assets by RFID (active tags). These seaports implemented a system to automate container tracking and security of each container being shipped. The active tag being used for these containers can hold up to 128 megabits of data, such as whom the shipper is, who owns it, the contents of the container and the consignee. Data can be read from this tag by port personnel and uploaded to servers, which will transmit manifest information for an entire ship to the destination port. When the ship arrives, the port workers scan the electronic RFID lock and obtain an instant read out on whether the container has been tampered with. At the same time the tag reader interfaces with the server providing another check of manifest data. If everything passes, the container is then process.

8 Military: The military utilizes active tags through out there operations of deployment. By implementing cellular, GPS, and other wireless tracking systems they are able to capture, retain, retrieve, transfer, and integrate data into a shared information system. This realtime tracking system is capable of tracking containers moving everything from toilet paper to ammunition in more than 30 counties. By wireless linking this type of system it allows real time ability to manage their assets. The military has found many ways of adapting active tags into useful tools. They have incorporated active tags with temperature sensors embedded into the breaking system of aircrafts. The pilots and ground crews are alerted when the aircrafts brakes approach dangerous temperatures and adjusts accordingly to ensure maximum safety. The military is also researching was to use active tags combined with other types of sensors to pick up vibrations or detect the presence of chemicals or biological agents. The military wants to drop so-called smart dust sensors on a battlefield, and by picking up vibrations and knowing the exact location of a specific tag, they could know how many enemies are hiding in a location or whether chemical or biological weapons are being stored there. Active tags may even combined with tiny microphones that look like seed burrs that could attach themselves to someone s socks, so the military could listen in on conversations.

9 Animal Tracking: The labeling of pets so that they can be identified and returned to the owners has become a major consumer of RFID systems. Some municipalities require all pet dogs within their jurisdiction to be identifiable via an embedded transponder that is injected under the skin. Small RFID transponders, 8mm long and less than 1mm in diameter, have been developed that are suitable for injecting under the skin of the pet. The data within the transponder can be read using a scanner a few inches from the animal. Implantable and external transponders are being successfully applied in the research of the habits of wildlife, both fish and animals. Retail: RFID is used by retail to reduce the cost of maintaining shelf prices and to eliminate the discrepancies between the price charged to the customer at the register. The combination of the RFID and a barcode label size display is used in place of the traditional barcode to label shelves with the item price. Utilizing RFID and an LCD allows the price to be updated to the shelf automatically from the store s product database. The price is set from a common database that is also used when scanning items

10 at the checkout. This ensures that the price that the customer sees on the shelf is what they will be charged when they check out. This eliminates the potential complaints raised by customers when a price discrepancy is discovered. With the capability of automating price changes on the shelf, sales can be shorter or more items can be on sale each week without the person hours to ensure correct pricing. Manufacturing Plants: 1. Security. Detecting the unauthorized movements of tools, equipment, expensive raw materials, or finished goods within or out of a facility Tracking maintenance equipment, special tools, forklift trucks and other mobile entities so then can be found quickly when needed. 3. Locating raw, intermediate or finished goods within a warehouse. Materials often get put in an alternate location to their designated location. This enables these materials to be track to a sector of the warehouse so they can more easily be found. 4. Tracking assemblies as they are moved from station to station. 5. Tracking people. By putting a RFID tag on an employee s badge you can track their movement. This can be used for tracking which

11 employees are working in which station and when they go on break, for accurate labor tracking. 6. Encoding vendor, part number, lot number, and quantity on an item being shipped from one plant to another. Its receipt will automatically be decoded and recorded by decoding the information in the RFID tag.

12 Conclusions: Developments in RFID technology continue to yield larger memory capacities, wider reading ranges, and faster processing. It is highly unlikely that the technology will ultimately replace barcodes, even with the inevitable reduction in raw materials coupled with economies of scale, the integrated circuit in an RF tag will never be as cost-effective as a barcode label. However, RFID will continue to grow in its established niches where barcode or other optical technologies are not effective. If some standards commonality is achieved, whereby RFID equipment from different manufacturing can be used interchangeable.

13 Works Cited: URL: URL: URL: URL:

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