primary data carrier - rfid or 2d barcode?

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Primary Data Carrier - RFID or 2D Barcode?. Serialization in Production Primary Data Carrier Considerations. Determine how to achieve Item to Carton/Bundle to Case Association Determine need for Item serialization carrier visibility in secondary packaging. 1D and 2D barcode facts. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Primary Data Carrier - RFID or 2D Barcode?

  • Determine how to achieve Item to Carton/Bundle to Case AssociationDetermine need for Item serialization carrier visibility in secondary packaging

    Serialization in ProductionPrimary Data Carrier Considerations

  • 1D and 2D barcode facts

    A barcode (also bar code) is a machine-readable representation of information (usually dark ink on a light background to create high and low reflectance which is converted to 1s and 0s).

    Originally, barcodes stored data in the widths and spacings of printed parallel lines, but today they also come in patterns of dots, concentric circles, and text codes hidden within images.

    Barcodes can be read by optical scanners called barcode readers or scanned from an image by special software. Barcodes are widely used to implement Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC) systems that improve the speed and accuracy of computer data entry.

    Bar codes are grouped into two types of symbologies: Linear Symbologies: A linear (or one-dimensional or 1D) symbology bar code is made up of one single row of various widths and lengths of predefined black bars and white spaces. Normally, these bar codes are "vertically redundant -- the same information is repeated vertically. The heights of the bars can be truncated without any loss of information. The vertical redundancy allows a symbol with printing defects to still be read. The higher the bar heights, the more probability that at least one path along the bar code will be readable.

    Two-Dimensional Symbologies: The need for ever increasing amounts of information in smaller spaces has lead to more compact and higher density symbologies found in two-dimensional (2D) symbologies. The PDF417 bar code is a more common 2D symbology. You can find this type of bar code on your drivers license and SSS ID. There are also bar codes that are laser engraved and branded to a part. These are called Direct Part Marking (DPM.)

  • RFID facts

    Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders.

    An RFID tag is an object that can be stuck on or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification using radio waves. Some tags can be read from several meters away and all operate beyond the line of sight of the reader.

    Most RFID tags contain at least two parts. One is an integrated circuit for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a (RF) signal and can also be used for other specialized functions. The second is an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal.

    RFID tags come in three general varieties: passive, active, or semi-passive (also known as battery-assisted).

    Passive tags require no internal power source, thus being pure passive devices (they are only active when a reader is nearby to power them), whereas semi-passive and active tags require a power source, usually a small battery.

    To communicate, tags respond to queries generating signals that must not create interference with the reader's, as arriving signals can be very weak and must be told apart.

    Typically, backscatter is used in the far (Electric) field (UHF tags), whereas load modulation is used in the near (Magnetic) field (LF and HF tags).


    Cost - In high volumes, RFID tags cost more than a 1D or 2D barcode. (~$0.30 - $.0.15 versus ~$0.05) This is due to material cost. If you implement RFID on an item level today, maybe its more than the cost of a tag, however the application should drive the technology implemented bar codes and RFID can and do co-exist because of the redundancy required in some applications and the high degree of accuracy RFID provides.

    Scanning - RFID offers a wider scanning range and does not require a visual line of sight to scan a tag. This means that tags placed on a carton, packed in a box, or stored in a pallet may be read. You dont have to open each box to be scanned. Bar codes offer only a read range of inches and requires line of sight to read a bar code. The bar code should be presented to the scanner in a particular distance. Individual reading requires each box on a pallet to be opened and the item pulled to be read by the scanner. However, although requiring line of sight, bar code read rates are fairly reliable even in the some challenging environments. 1D barcodes require a rastering laser while 2D barcodes usually require an optical system.

    Reliability - Both RFID and Barcode are mature, proven technologies however RFID tags offer a robustness that barcodes cannot. Some RFID tags can be immersed in chemicals, exposed to water, dirt, mud, grease, etc. which would render all barcodes useless.

    Physical Size - RFID tags can be the size of postal stamps. The ratio between a tags dimension in length and width is not a significant factor for the reader. Bar codes are highly sensitive to aspect radio for readability to a bar code scanner.

    Lifespan - Tags have no moving parts and can be enclosed in protective material, providing a sturdy casing. Bar codes are subject to damage with excessive handling and harsh environments.

    Counterfeit - Tags are produced with a unique identity code or serial number from the manufacturer. This is embedded in the microchip, and may not be altered, making them counterfeit proof. Bar codes may be duplicated and attached to products and can be counterfeited.

    Memory Some barcodes (i.e. PDF417) offer some similar or more amounts of initial data to be printed/written whereas RFID tags typically have user memory that can be written and re-written hundreds of thousands of times reliably.

  • Serialization in ProductionCost Summary

    RFID as primary, 2D as backupUS$ 0.9-1.3 million/line

    2D as primary, human readable as backupUS$ 0.8-1.8 million/line

    One time Site Costs: US$ 75-150,000

  • Some examples of Barcodes and TI-RFID tags

    Talking points:The 1st 3 points will be critical to Mfgrs.Barcode labels can not be changed and many Mfgr have their own stds for them. In most cases the size is non-negotiable and sometimes the location is locked down. This limits design flexibilty.

    For Mfgrs that run several versions of basic board, they either need more visible labels (more real estate) or they need to replace/cover the base label (more mfg steps).

    For standard 1-D bar codes This may not a big issue, but 2D data matrix labels require some precision setup and require extra labor to switch lines from one PCB model to another.

    Barcodes cant be read when the label is covered.

    1 scanner can only read 1 barcode at a time. This either requires more readers and/or it limits troughput.

    1D barcodes usually only store 8-20 numerical digits.


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