Choosing a suitable RFID tag for my business – KTS Editorial in WRP  

RFID is a buzzword. We all know in the professional Laundry groups and associations discussions on identifying textiles with RFID tags occur more often than never before. After years of work and investments in our laundry unit(s), we have to keep up with modern technology.

We understand its utility. We want automatic and rapid counting of textiles in the reception and delivery area, without personnel costs. Also, there is a need for inventories to assure us about our investments in textiles. We aim for Security and textiles recovery, and to automate the laundry flow as much as possible.

There is a need for all these for better efficiency and to reduce labor costs. What should we, who we face this new information flow we often don’t understand and are afraid of, do? 

Nowadays there are many RFID Tags manufacturers. How do we choose the proper RFID tags according to the way we organize our Laundry activity? What do we want? We tried addressing all these questions in an interesting editorial collaboration with our friends at WRP Magazine.

Attaching methods for RFID tags  

The attaching method is important in choosing the RFID tag

Having textiles in circulation between Laundry, Clients, and Warehouses, you want to identify them. This means you’ve already chosen the RFID tag and you have to attach it to the textiles in circulation. The attaching method must be practical, easy to use and not cause delays in deliveries. If you take a look at the following methods, you’ll find the answer yourself: 

  • The RFID tag is sewn into the linen hem or inserted into a pouch sewn on the textile item.
  • The RFID tag is heat-sealed by thermal pressing. The process takes 12 seconds. Nothing is unstitched or sewed, with no additional costs with pouches or textile labels for covering the tags.

If you go for the 2nd method, then you need a generous bonding surface to ensure the RFID tag is securely fastened. In this case, the miniaturization of the tag falls on the 2nd place as interest.

RFID tags replace Barcodes  

Replacing Barcode labels with RFID tags

If you wash uniforms, then there’s a huge chance you’ll be using identification systems based on Barcode labels. Why RFID tags instead of Barcode, in this case?

  • The Barcode labels edited on textile support will be damaged by washing. Therefore, there’s this continuous need for taking care of their replacement so that they can be read further on. However, if we opted for wowed barcode labels, we must read one at a time, to ensure good visibility of the reader towards the label and find a way so that the label to be exposed to reading in a preset position if we want its reading to be automatic and with no human assistance. 
  • You might want to automate the selection of uniforms by certain criteria (end-user, article type, etc.). To automate the flow, you need to identify the item on the flow and after the decision received following the informational analysis, you must make the selection. This is not possible by using Barcode labels as you can’t always ensure the visibility in a fixed position of the label to the Barcode Reader on the flow.
What if you wash linen?

If you wash linen, using Barcode labels is impossible. By folding, we cannot provide an automatic field of view to the Barcode Reader. The RFID solution is optimal to automate the Laundry flow. How to choose the RFID tag in this case?

In the automation case, the reading accuracy prevails the reading with accepted error, in bulk. Not all tags are built to meet this condition. Nowadays we find a wide range of RFID Tags on the market. Manufacturers compete in reading performance at the greatest distances and in the largest quantities. But do we need such performance or do we just need the 100 tags that pass in front of the reader to be all 100 within approximately 1.5 m distance?

For automated lines, not the reading distance and the reading in the greatest quantity are paramount, but the 100% reading accuracy at the small, controlled distance that doesn’t introduce erroneous reading in the decision blocks on the neighboring transport and selection lines.

<a href="">Infographic vector created by fullvector -</a>  

Software Applications are important in choosing the RFID tags

Management systems based on RFID Tag reading also require software applications. Here, a variety of choices arise and to pick a suitable choice for our business and which to please us in the future. Given the fast evolution of information technology, we need knowledge in computers and/or a team of IT&C specialists. Unfortunately, there are many IT&C specialists but few who understand the activity of a laundry business. 

It is hard to understand the many problems we have and to be able to harmonize the current ERP activity and systems with those brought by RFID technology. It is also hard for them to provide us smooth implementation solutions that don’t produce syncope in the provision of our services. 

The type of RFID Tags is also given by the chosen software application type:
  • You just want to read EPC RFID codes and associate them with data in the database. Then the software needs hosting for the database, hence internal/external servers are needed. 
  • You want to encode data in the internal memory of the TAGs (write data in the Tag’s memory), then you have to consider that the radiation power requirements of the readers (which also write the data in the Tag’s memory) is greater than reading, and the writing distance much smaller (usually 0.5-1 m). Bulk writing takes time. If this time is short, only certain RFID IC manufacturers face such performances and prices explode. 

Not at all simple, isn’t it? The more questions, the more possible answers. You can find answers to more questions raised on this topic, as well as some recommendations for the KTS RFID tags, in the latest issue of WRP Magazine.

We share our knowledge and welcome your feedback. Stay tuned: more novelties in terms of RFID are coming soon!

For more information about the RFID solutions we provide, please visit our website.

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