Unlike traditional barcodes, RFID tags contain a unique 96-bit Serialized Global Trade Item Number (SGTIN), combining a global trade number with a serial. After being programmed once, the tag is then read multiple times throughout the supply chain and sales process. Tags can be encrypted with both static data – data that remains the same over time, like raw materials, components and accessories – and dynamic data, which is added in the course of the product’s journey.
When it comes to tagging methods, there are several options for the fashion industry. The first, and simplest, option, is to incorporate the tag into a price label: in this case, retailers simply print the tag on the price label and encode the tag together with the label and affix to clothing. This is a favourite method in fashion and apparel because all items – no matter what colour, size, style or model – carry a price label. But it is far less effective than other options for use-cases such as preventing inventory shrinkage and tracking items after sale.
To get a greater handle on this, retailers are looking into other options, such as incorporating RFID tags into care labels, which are encoded upstream in the production facility. This delivers a longer tracking period than the price tag options – allowing for after-sale monitoring of garments – and is also a more effective anti-shrinkage tool than the temporary price-label option. More recently, permanent RFID tagging options have also become available via the development of micro-tags which can be sewn into garments for invisible, long-term tracking. Tags can also be sewn into items as small wire inlays, providing an airtight method of identification that is barely perceptible and can be used to fight counterfeiting and the spread of the grey market.
Murata has been engaged in the development of RFID tags from early on, and has acquired a record of achievements. In addition, we possess know-how concerning the communication environment attendant to the installation of RFID (prevention of interference with the IC tag, and the selection of the Suitable hardware equipment), thus enabling us to coherently meet the needs of our customers by various means ranging from an analysis of their work and issues at the jobsite to the installation of an appropriate system.
Features of RFID
- By using wireless communication, data can be read at distance of several meters. Data can be easily read from a tag that is a long distance away, or from a tag that is in a high, relatively inaccessible place.
- RFID obviates the need to hold each item one at a time in order to read the data. It enables the data in all of the tags to be to be read as a batch by simply passing the scanner over the tags. This greatly reduces the time required to carry out stocktaking, etc.
- Because data is communicated by radio waves, it can be read from outside the packing box without any need to open the box, even when a tag is attached to the product. Also in case of barcode, it can not be read when the surface becomes soiled. On the other hand, RFID is highly immune to dirt, and can read data without problem even if the surface of the target is dirty.
- A passive type RFID tag can be used semi-permanently without any need for a battery. In addition, because the tag incorporates a memory, it also enables the data to be re-written. Compared to a barcode, RFID enables a large amount of data to be exchanged.