Metal RFID Tags Becoming a Reality

Metal RFID Tags Becoming a Reality

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The metal RFID tag, something thought impossible just a few years ago is on the cusp of changing the durable RFID landscape.

metal-rfid-tag_0.pngWhat if you could have the durability of a metal asset tag with RFID technology?  

A few years ago this combination would have been thought impossible but Metalcraft, the leader in durable asset tags, has developed the metal RFID tag that fuses the strength and longevity of a metal asset tag with the technological power of RFID.

RFID tag manufacturers have always explained that metal and RFID just don’t mix. Ultrahigh frequency radio waves bounce off metal surfaces making it extremely hard to work with any type of metal or metal substrate that a RFID tag could be adhered.  

So it seems counter-intuitive that a RFID tag could ever be made of metal due to all the issues it creates, but many industries require a RFID tag that is ultra durable,  can be printed with human readable text and can withstand harsh environmental conditions (heat, high-pressure washdowns, chemicals, etc.).

After years of research and development Metalcraft has been able to come up with a product that meets all the stringent demands. In partnership TROI, Technologies ROI, LLC. Metalcraft has produced a patented UHF passive metal tag will make its debut in its line of super rugged tags early in 2018.

The Metal

By incorporating photo anodized aluminum, the metal RFID tag has durability superior to a traditional plastic tag. It is ideal for outdoor use since it will not rust nor will it fade under ultraviolet light and is impervious to a wide variety of caustic or corrosive chemicals.

These qualities all lead to a longevity of not only the tag construction itself but also the print, barcode or logo printed on the tag as well. Anodized aluminum is so resistant to deterioration that many times the tags outlast the items to which they are attached.

Tag Construction

In the construction of the metal RFID tags, Mark Maliszewski, Product Development Engineer at Metalcraft,  described three layers of material joined by adhesives.

Under the first layer-- the anodized aluminum nameplate--rests two more layers, a foam layer, and a foil layer. Within the foam layer is a cavity that holds a custom engineered RFID inlay, the heart of the tag. The foam keeps the first and third metallic layers apart to keep them from grounding out the tag.

The thin third and final layer, the foil layer, seals off the back of the tag but is also part of the tag mechanization. Reflecting any signal coming in from a reader, it makes interactions with the tag reader possible. Bonding each layer are specialized adhesives. The three layered stack ends with a bonding agent designed for unparalleled adhesion that attaches the tag to the consumer’s product or asset.

The Details

According to Maliszewski, this new RFID metal tag can be used with any RFID reader. The tag’s read range has been shown to be very good in indoor testing and is currently slated to begin outdoor read ranging testing in the near future.

Although the final read distance of a RFID metal tag is too early to be determined in field trials; in controlled tests with a controlled environment, it is comparable in read range to plastic tags.

The nameplates can be further customized with human readable print, barcodes or other images.  By using intensified photo anodized aluminum the black printed material is guaranteed to last for the life of the asset.

Metal RFID Tag Uses

The durability of a metal tag must not be discounted in environments where rough RFID tags are used regularly.  These segments often are associated with gas, oil, corrosive chemicals, environmental impact and physical impact.

Customers who have assets such as returnable containers (LP tanks, metal containers, boxcars, etc. ) and rental equipment (jack hammers, vacuums, etc. ) will find efficiency and reliability in the use of metal RFID tags.  Construction and heavy industry that manages large equipment and machines will also be a prime market for these tags.

The metal RFID tag, something thought impossible just a few years ago is on the cusp of changing the durable RFID landscape.  If you are interested in finding out more information about our metal RFID tags reach out to us through the form below or call one of our id solution specialists at 1-800-437-5283.

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