RAIN RFID, a form of UHF RFID, has gained acceptance in various vertical markets including healthcare and retail. Taking a piece of medical supply with a tag attached to it out of a shelf, for example, can be recorded to the system, helping administrators keep track of the quantity of supply. Tags embedded in clothing can also help retailers keep tabs on how many items of a particular size or color are still in stock.
When implementing a RAIN RFID system, the selection of components such as tags and the encoding mechanism is an importance process. According to Craig Cotton, VP of Marketing and Product Management at Impinj, RAIN RFID tag choice begins with the evaluation of the item to which the tag will be applied and the intended application or use case.
“Answers to the following questions regarding the use case are used in the tag recommendation: What information needs to be stored about the item? From what distance does the tag need to be read? What is the environment like, for example are there a lot of metal or liquids, will items be closely packed together,” Cotton said. “We have a global ecosystem of manufacturers that provides tags in many form factors ranging from durable hard tags for equipment, to small flexible adhesive tags for clothing and soft goods to medical patient wristband tags. Options for tagging include embedding a RAIN RFID inlay into an item’s packaging or hang tag, attaching hard tags to durables found around the hospital and attaching sticker-like tags to biological samples destined for testing in the lab.”
As for choosing a RAIN RFID encoding system, one that can accurately manage data encoding while meeting tag volume and line speed requirements is critical to a deployment’s success. “Encoding systems can range from printers to inline encoding machines such as the Kirk-Rudy System. Tag volume and media type inform the selection as does the user’s interest in managing the encoding process,” Cotton said. “Service bureaus often manage the complexity of the printing process delivering finished labels and can also provide fully encoded tags. “
According to Cotton, Impinj’s Indy RAIN RFID reader chips and systems-in-package (SiPs) are used by the industry’s leading printer companies to improve encoding performance and ensure data accuracy. “We have also introduced ItemEncode software which is used by companies like Kirk-Rudy to boost the speed and data quality of RAIN RFID encoding machines while lowering labor and operating costs. ItemEncode software enables encoding machines to achieve high speeds, up to 9,500 tags per minute, advanced error correction and low operating costs.”