Tracking of fixed assets is a major concern for every organization, regardless of its size. As an important component of the financial statement, the tracking and proper management of fixed assets is highly important. A proper fixed asset tracking mechanism helps companies to identify each fixed items with the information that what asset it is, where it is located, who has it, when it was checked, when it is due for return, when is the maintenance service due and the cost of the asset and depreciation.
Fixed Asset Tracking Method
With the help of the latest technology advancements, asset tracking can perform in various ways with the help of different software and hardware options. Abacus, a highly experienced and professionals in providing asset tracking solutions and services, we are mainly providing industry best solutions based on Barcode labels and RFID.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Solutions
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to assets. The tags contain electronically stored information. Some tags are powered by electromagnetic induction from magnetic fields produced near the reader. Some types collect energy from the interrogating radio waves and act as a passive transponder. Other types have a local power source such as a battery and may operate at hundreds of meters from the reader. Unlike a barcode, the tag does not necessarily need to be within line of sight of the reader.
RFID tags / labels are used widely in tracking of assets in many companies. The major users of RFID technologies are Hotels, Hospitals, Banks, Institutions, Food&Beverages, Pharmaceuticals and Retail Inventories. The different types of RFID systems based on the frequency band
- Low Frequency (LF) RFID: LF RFID covers the frequency range from 30 KHz to 300 KHz with a short read range of 10 cm. It has slower read speed than the higher frequencies. This will be used widely for door access and livestock tracking
- High Frequency (HF) RFID: It has a band coverage from 3 MHz to 30 MHz and has a speed range between 10 cm 1 m. It is commonly used for ticketing, payment and data transfer applications
- Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID: It covers a frequency band range from 300 MHz to 3 GHz. The read range of passive UHF system. UHF RFID is used widely in various applications like retail inventory management, pharmaceutical, anti counterfeiting and wireless configuration.
Active RFID System
In active RFID systems, tags have their own transmitter and power source. Usually, the power source is a battery. Active tags broadcast their own signal to transmit the information stored on their microchips.
Active RFID systems typically operate in the ultra-high frequency (UHF) band and offer a range of up to 100 m. In general, active tags are used on large objects, such as rail cars, big reusable containers, and other assets that need to be tracked over long distances.
There are two main types of active tags: transponders and beacons. Transponders are “woken up” when they receive a radio signal from a reader, and then power on and respond by transmitting a signal back. Because transponders do not actively radiate radio waves until they receive a reader signal, they conserve battery life.
Beacons are used in most real-time locating systems (RTLS), in order to track the precise location of an asset continuously. Unlike transponders, beacons are not powered on by the reader’s signal. Instead, they emit signals at pre-set intervals. Depending on the level of locating accuracy required, beacons can be set to emit signals every few seconds, or once a day. Each beacon’s signal is received by reader antennas that are positioned around the perimeter of the area being monitored, and communicates the tag’s ID information and position.
Passive RFID System
In passive RFID systems, the reader and reader antenna send a radio signal to the tag. The RFID tag then uses the transmitted signal to power on, and reflect energy back to the reader.
Passive RFID systems can operate in the low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF) or ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio bands. As passive system ranges are limited by the power of the tag’s backscatter (the radio signal reflected from the tag back to the reader), they are typically less than 10 m. Because passive tags do not require a power source or transmitter, and only require a tag chip and antenna, they are cheaper, smaller, and easier to manufacture than active tags.
Passive tags can be packaged in many different ways, depending on the specific RFID application requirements. For instance, they may be mounted on a substrate, or sandwiched between an adhesive layer and a paper label to create smart RFID labels. Passive tags may also be embedded in a variety of devices or packages to make the tag resistant to extreme temperatures or harsh chemicals.
Passive RFID solutions are useful for many applications, and are commonly deployed to track goods in the supply chain, to inventory assets in the retail industry, to authenticate products such as pharmaceuticals, and to embed RFID capability in a variety of devices. Passive RFID can even be used in warehouses and distribution centers, in spite of its shorter range, by setting up readers at choke points to monitor asset movement.
Battery-Assisted Passive (BAP) Systems
A Battery-Assisted Passive RFID tag is a type of passive tag which incorporates a crucial active tag feature. While most passive RFID tags use the energy from the RFID reader’s signal to power on the tag’s chip and backscatter to the reader, BAP tags use an integrated power source (usually a battery) to power on the chip, so all of the captured energy from the reader can be used for backscatter. Unlike transponders, BAP tags do not have their own transmitters.