Guide to RFID Technology for Manufacturing

3 min read
Apr 1, 2024 10:40:14 AM

In the complex landscape of manufacturing, choosing the right technology is pivotal for success. In this realm, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) emerges as a powerful ally, seamlessly connecting the physical and digital information within manufacturing processes.  

By attaching RFID tags to raw materials, components and finished products, manufacturers gain real-time visibility into their inventory, the status of work, or finished products depending on the use case. Unlike traditional barcodes, RFID allows for simultaneous reading of multiple tags, streamlining processes and reducing manual labor.  

Let’s explore how RFID can enhance your manufacturing processes. 

Benefits of RFID in Manufacturing 

When effectively implemented, RFID becomes a conduit for gathering, processing and transmitting valuable information, all while minimizing errors and reducing the need for extensive human involvement. Its benefits include: 

Improved Inventory Management 

RFID enables automation in tracking and monitoring inventory, reducing reliance on manual methods. This automation leads to increased efficiency, as RFID systems can swiftly and accurately capture data without the need for human intervention. 

Enhanced Asset Tracking 

RFID enables precise asset tracking within manufacturing facilities. Whether it's machinery, tools or other valuable assets, RFID tags provide real-time location data. This enhances maintenance schedules, prevents loss and ensures optimal utilization of resources. 

Quality Control 

Manufacturers can trace each product’s journey from raw material to finished goods. In case of defects or recalls, pinpointing affected batches becomes easier, improving quality control and customer satisfaction. 

Solving Challenging Environments 

In harsh manufacturing environments — like those with extreme temperatures, chemicals or dust — RFID remains reliable. Unlike traditional barcode labels that may fade or get damaged, RFID tags withstand tough conditions. 

RFID Systems 

There are several components to an RFID system. RFID tags and chips are connected to physical objects, generating the data while RFID readers gather that data and transmit it to another system. An RFID tag, containing a chip, can be attached to almost anything, from a simple adhesive label to a more durable medium such as imprinted metal. 

Every RFID chip has two parts: a microchip that stores data and an antenna transmits it. There are two types of RFID chips: 

  • Passive RFID chips use energy from an RFID reader to transmit data when initiated by the reader. 
  • Active RFID chips contain a battery to transmit data to readers in range. 

Passive RFID tags, which don't require an internal power source, are cost-effective and energy efficient. They're ideal for most manufacturing applications, offering a balance between performance and affordability. 

RFID Chip Selection Guide 

Several characteristics define RFID chips, shaping their suitability for specific applications. Consider these factors when selecting an RFID chip: 


RFID tags transmit on low frequency (125–134 KHz), high frequency (13.56 MHz) or ultra high frequency (865–960 MHz). The ambient signals in your facility can impact chip-reader interference, guiding your frequency selection. 

Memory Size 

The larger the memory size, the more data the chip can store. Newer chips may offer optimized memory options, potentially affecting the chip's cost. 

Read/Write Sensitivity 

Power consumption, writing requirements and sensitivity levels influence how easily data can be transmitted to or from a chip. Passive chips typically have a lower read range due to their power needs. 

Read Distance 

Optimal and maximum ranges for data transmission vary among chips. Longer ranges may require more power or a more sensitive chip, potentially affecting costs. 

Tag Media 

Consider the chip's end-use environment and potential exposure to environmental damage. Industrial applications or harsh environments necessitate more durable media. 

Leading RFID Chip Manufacturers 

Diverse options exist among RFID chip manufacturers, catering to different needs. Alien Technology's Higgs Series IC offers various chips, with the Higgs-9 boasting optimized memory and top-tier read/write sensitivity. Impinj R Series chips target Internet of Things (IoT) applications, while NXP RFID and NFC chips, including HITAG chips, suit harsh and demanding environments. Zebra provides reliable RFID printers for accurate and efficient label, tag and card printing. 

Embarking on the RFID Journey 

While this guide offers valuable insights into RFID chips, collaborating with RFID application specialists is recommended before implementation. These consultants possess expertise in the market's tools and solutions, ensuring a plan tailored to your needs, delivered efficiently and cost effectively. For more information, connect with the RFID experts at GO2 Material ID. 

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