3rd Quarter 2008
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Introduction to radio frequency identification (RFID) in apparel
published in Issue 3, 3rd Quarter 2008
Radio frequency identification (RFID) systems provide a method of automatically identifying, locating and tracking manufactured products over distances of up to several hundred metres.
They are most commonly used in the apparel industry in conjunction with inventory management systems to track the whereabouts of individual items of clothing.
An RFID system comprises three main components, namely:
- electronic tags;
- an RFID reader; and
- RFID inventory management computer software.
Electronic tags are attached to items of stock. Each tag is digitally-coded with information about the itemís characteristics, such as its size, colour, price, age and/or date and country of manufacture.
Tags can also be attached to a box, or batch, of items. Such tags contain information about all the items in the batch, including the total number of items contained within the batch.
The information in the tags is then picked up on an RFID reader via radio waves. The reader gathers data from the tags by transmitting and receiving radio frequency signals to and from the electronic tags.
The data collected on the RFID reader are then accumulated and presented to the user via RFID inventory management computer software. The software, which creates a central database of information, enables users to refresh, update, read, analyse and react to data which have been gathered.