What components make up the RFID tags?
RFID tags typically consist of three basic and fundamental components: The chip, the antenna and the substrate.
The chip is an integrated circuit (IC) containing a memory store and a microprocessor or decision making unit (logic).
As it needs energy to function, in the case of passive tags, the chip is designed as a passive power device, obtaining the radio energy radiated by the RFID system antenna.
On the contrary, in active tags, this energy usually comes from a battery in the tag itself.
The antenna, which is connected to the chip, is the largest part of the tag and its shape determines the frequency at which it operates.
It is usually a strip of conductive material such as copper or aluminum and its function is to receive the signals emitted by RFID antennas in the vicinity and depending on the type of tag, transmit or reflect the signal received. In the case of active tags, the signal is transmitted back.
In the case of passive tags, the signal is reflected. In addition, in the case of passive tags, the antenna also collects the energy from the radio waves and supplies it to the chip.
The substrate is the component in charge of keeping all the parts of the RFID tag together. It is usually composed of a thin, flexible polymer or a plastic material capable of withstanding different environmental conditions through which the tag will be subjected during its life cycle.
In addition, a protective layer made of materials such as PVC lamination, epoxy resin or adhesive paper is sometimes added in order to attach the label to an object.
Sometimes we can find tags and inlays inside of different materials that provide additional features, such as encapsulation.
Encapsulated RFID tags are tags that come inside a hard case to protect them from hostile environments.
For example, a tag attached to a reusable plastic container used in a food processing plant would encounter high temperatures, pressure and steam each time the container is disinfected. These tags are used to track containers, conveyors and pallets in closed-loop systems and returnable assets in the supply chain and are protected with radio frequency translucent materials such as PET, Polypropylene, Polyacetate, Polycarbonate… and many others.
RFID tags are a fundamental component of any internal traceability system. They use radio frequency to transmit the information contained in them to a reader to identify an asset.
Radio frequency identification is a technology that allows us to identify almost any object wirelessly using data transmitted through radio waves. It knows the components that make up an RFID system.