RFID and metal surfaces. Things to know about it

Reading RFID tags mounted or embedded on metal surfaces may seem impossible, but it’s not.

But how is this possible since metal reflects the signal emitted by the reader which in turn interferes with the communication between the tag and the reader, significantly degrading performance?

The answer is RFID on metal tags (ROM). These transponders are designed to overcome some of the problems traditional RFID tags suffer in proximity of metal, such as detuning and reflecting the RFID signal, which can cause poor tag read range, phantom reads or no read signal at all.

There are several tag design methods used to create ROM tags. The original method was to provide a spacer to shield the tag antenna from the metal, creating larger tags. New techniques focus on designing readers with special antennas that are suitable for reading RFID on metal tag.

By adopting these new techniques, TERTIUM Technology offers a wide range of mobile RFID readers with viewfinder antennas able to read ultra-small UHF / HF RFID tags embedded on metal (click here for more details).

The MS range of TERTIUM mobile RFID readers is suitable for reading ultra-small tags embedded on metal.

There are different types of ROM tags. Specifically:

  • Balanced tags: designed to work on metal and on surfaces such as wood, plastic and non-electrically conductive materials, with very similar performance across all different materials;

  • OFM (Optimized for Metal) tags: these tags provide greater performance when applied to metal surfaces, although they work even if applied to other types of surfaces, albeit with lower performance.

RFID-on-metal transponders create new opportunities for users in a wide range of asset tracking applications and broader industrial applications.

What industries are using metal mount tags?

RFID on metal tags are perfect for industries where metal (or partially metal) items need to be tracked. They are ideal for medical devices in the healthcare sector, the jewelry sector, IT components, industrial manufacturing, oil & gas pipelines, vehicle tracking and identification, construction equipment and other metal parts used in the manufacturing industry. The application of RFID on-metal transponders in these sectors allows for enhanced tracking.

The widespread application of these tags shows that if you choose the right RFID tag and the correct RFID reader for your application, you won’t have to worry about interference from metal.


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