Hang Tags Get Better Using RFID

Hang Tags Get Better Using RFID

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Hang tags are so much more these days than a cardboard square hung on a white cotton string.  Using RFID technology the hang tag has changed into an integral part of fixed asset managment. 

RFID Hang Tag

Hang Tag Composition

Take the RFID hang tag’s composition, for instance.  Most hang tags are made of some type of polymer, perhaps the usual polyester or, more rarely, polypropylene or polycarbonate. They are a bit fatter than the old tags.  According to ehow.com, the average thickness of a paperboard tags is 0.010 inches.  Polymer RFID hang tags are approximately 0.03 inches.  Slightly thicker than the old hang tags, but infinitely more durable.

Resistant to hot and cold, wet and dry conditions, modern hang tags also stand up to most chemical solvents and caustics/acids.  Therefore, they will not be damaged by rain, washing solutions, alcohol, lye and similar products.  Still, don’t remove your nail polish near them, a splash of acetone would mar the polymer.

View Metalcraft's Line of RFID Hang Tags


RFID Hang Tag Internal Characteristics

hang-tag-small.jpgThe RFID Chip

Encased in the polymer a thin film holds an RFID inlay, a microchip plus antenna. The chip is the workhorse of the hang tag.  Here, you the consumer, can program 660 bits of memory or more.  If you want to survey your inventory this fall before the upcoming Christmas rush, the hang tag’s chip provides the survey data.  If you want to keep the receivable accounts of your car wash customers accurate,  the hang tag’s chip enables exact tallies.  If you want to know who used your construction site jackhammer, the hang tag will have the answer.  Information stored on the hang tag’s chip, transferred to its tiny antenna and then implemented into the entire RFID system of your company has value as deep as your vision.

Naturally, the hang tag chip will be coded with the EPC (electronic product code).  This code, which takes up 96 bits of data, reads much like a computer browser’s URL only in coded bits which computer programs decipher.  In strings of bits, the code will identify you globally as the product manufacturer, identify your product exactly, and identify the specific product to which the hang tag is attached.  The latter two codes depend on your input and may be unique.  For instance, it is here where you may want to consider numbering options such as serialized/unserialized numbers.  However, the more bits used, the higher the cost of the tag.

Some RFID hang tags may be locked, but others may be rewritten.  Either has its advantages depending upon your application.  If the data in a hang tag cannot be changed, concerns about the security of a specific asset or the safety of an asset user might be the reason.  On the other hand, if the hang tag can be rewritten, it does not have to be used on a specific asset and can be rewritten for both monitoring and management.  Of course, a reduction in your cost is also realized when an RFID hang tag can be reused after rewriting.

RFID Inlay Antenna

door-hang-tags.jpgOf course, the RFID hang tag’s microchip would be useless if the information stored in it could not be retrieved and transmitted into data you can use.  Therefore, an antenna is also embedded with the chip.  Besides programming the microchip, the converter who designs your chip must consider whether the chip working in conjunction with an antenna should be active or passive, whether its range should be near or far and whether its scope should be directional or omnipresent.  The decisions made, again, depend on your needs.

Passive RFID hang tags take their power from the electromagnetic energy generated by their transponders so no batteries are required; passive hang tags only send information when prodded by the reader, thus, giving only a snapshot view of your assets-one reason passive hang tags are considerably less expensive than their active counterpart.

Active RFID hang tags have additional batteries that enable them to transmit data further and receive and send data constantly.

Generally, RFID hang tags have one of three frequency levels.  LF (Low Frequency) is used when short read lengths of less than a foot will suffice and is especially useful if the asset you are tagging is composed of a lot of water or metal.  Antennas that transmit with lower frequencies are the most economical.  Such RFID hang tags may be a blessing when your dog has gone missing.  HF (High Frequency) and NFC (Near Frequency Communication) is used when reading length is less than a yard.  A RFID hang tag with one of these frequencies is useful when you want to enter your condo.  UHF is used when reading length is four yards or less-although, with adaptations, read lengths can be extended to more than 300 feet under the right conditions.  This RFID hang tag frequency is important when your windshield tag is read as you breeze down a toll road or when the parking valet tries to locate your car in a crowded parking garage.

Passive and active hang tags have additional value too when they are coupled with sensors that detect and transmit temperature and other variables.  Since active tags have the ability to constantly transmit, they can track in real-time the location of your assets, even when they are on the move.  They also, monitor assets in real-time to respond to your needs.  Often, these attributes make hang tags worth their extra cost especially when dealing with assets of high value where you need constant tracking  Passive tags give snapshot data.

Hang Tag External Characteristics

Aside from the internal attributes of the RFID hang tag, the exterior of the hang tag plays its part in increasing the efficiency of your company.  On both sides of the tag, your logo or special design can be digitally printed in color and striking detail. Completely covered with the polymer, a clear, bright, near-indestructible image will attract attention for advertising and ornamentation.  Likewise, bar-codes with a standard Code 39 or custom symbology,  human-readable, chip equivalents, and other texts of choice can be printed or scanned for more traditional reads.

Finally, the cut of the RFID tag is important. Some are cut similar to the old-fashioned tags, square or rectangular with an attachment hole for the string. But, today, rather than the white string or wire, plastic ties or cables will probably be threaded through for attachment. Other tags have a hook cut directly into the polymer of the tag.  Whatever the cut, the cut makes the RFID hang tag completely removable and, if you desire, completely reusable. As such, it is the perfect choice for your temporary access control applications, for your stock that is replenishable or for where ever you need to avoid permanent attachment to an asset.

Whether your company tracks vehicles, assets or work-in-progress, washes cars, manages fleets, controls access to gated communities or if you have a vision of work to come, RFID hang tags are management aids to think about.  For years, the unsurpassed quality of Metalcraft passive RFID hang tags has had a positive influence on the profit margin of many companies. They are priced reasonably  Envision the influence they could have on innovation, organization, return of investment and peace of mind in your company.