If you’ve attempted to implement an ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID system into your facility, you might have run into some headaches in the process of getting things to work properly. If you are looking to implement UHF RFID, but haven’t had the chance to set things up yet, then this blog might be beneficial to keep in mind during the process.
UHF RFID and what it can do
- Absorption: Absorption occurs when an object in the field absorbs part of the radio frequency energy emitted from the reader antenna. Cardboard, conductive liquids, and tissue (human bodies or animals) are examples of materials that can absorb some of the RF energy. One way to think of this is to imagine a sound booth in a recording studio. The booth is covered in foam to absorb sound. This is a similar philosophy for UHF RFID. You need to consider materials that absorb that energy.
- Reflection: When there are distortions of the RF field, reflection can occur. As you may imagine, certain materials, such as metals, can cause the waves emitted from the antenna to distort or “reflect” in ways that cause performance losses. This could be metal machinery or fixings between the reader and the tags, a group of metal pipes, and mounting on metal containers. If you choose to do a deeper dive, there are other performance factors that can be impacted by the path of the signal, such as zones in which the tag can’t be reached (even if the tag is in the reader’s field), or the tag and the reader are not aligned properly.
- Detuning: Detuning occurs when the radio frequency between the tag and reader is changed in the process. Since you pair specific readers to specific tags at a specific frequency, you don’t want your environment to cause a change in the specific frequencies. Certain materials, such as cardboard, metals, tissue, and plastics, can cause an impedance that can “un-match” your reader and tags based on the RF not matching up.