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RFID Tag or Transponders

RFID Tag can be alternatively called Transponder and derives from the work “Transmitter” and “Responder”. RFID Tag’s function is to give radio signal or data recorded in microchip to the data reader where wireless system is used for communication between RFID Tag and the Reader. Inside of RFID Tag comprises of microchip connected with antenna.

A microchip embedded in RFID Tag has a Read Only Memory (ROM) or Random Access Memory (RAM) depending on the purpose of application. Normally, ROM is used for data related to confidentiality such as data of password or confidential personal data while RAM is used for temporarily storing data while RFID Tag and Reader are communicating to each other. We can classify RFID into 2 types as follows:

1. Active Tag

This type of RFID Tag has batteries inside as a power source to internal circuit. We can both read and write data to this type of RFID Tag. Need of batteries makes this Active Tag has limited life depending on life of batteries. It is to be disposed of whenever its batteries are used up as its structure has to be sealed and therefore changing of batteries is not allowed. Active Tag has high power and long range of data reception than that of another type of RFID Tag, Passive Tag and it can also function well in a place where there has a noise.

2. Passive Tag

There has none of battery inside this type of RFID Tag but rater working by solar power resulted from induction of electromagnetic way by its Reader and hence makes it lighter than Active Tag type. Life of Passive Tag is indefinite and it is cheaper. Its disadvantages are that it has short range of receiving and sending data and its Reader needs to be a highly sensitive one. In addition, Passive Tag frequently experiences troubles when used in a place with high noise of electromagnetic signal. By comparison of the two types of RFID Tags, Passive Tag gains more popularity in terms of cheaper price and indefinite life.

Reader or Interrogator

Reader is used for receiving radio wave with data sent from RFID Tag and then verifying and decrypting such data and further utilizing such data.

Desirable Reader has to have “Hands Down Polling” system to prevent repeated data reading where the Reader will instruct RFID Tag to stop sending data in case of RFID Tag is left in electromagnetic field in the range of receiving-sending data which may cause repeatedly and indefinitely receiving or sending data or otherwise in the case where many RFID Tags are left in electromagnetic field at the same time or called “Batch Reading”, the Reader should be able to prioritize sequence of reading data from each RFID Tag.

Principle of function

  • Reader will send electromagnetic wave all the time and at the same time detect whether any RFID Tag has been within the range of such electromagnetic field or detect modulated wave from RFID Tag
  • After RFID Tag has been within electromagnetic field, RFID Tag will receive electromagnetic wave sent by the Reader and then transform it to electric power to initiate function of RFID Tag and echo the wave to the Reader with data stored in microchip via carrier wave already modulated through an antenna in RFID Tag
  • Carrier wave sent from RFID Tag will be transformed of its amplitude, frequency or phase depending on method of modulation.
  • Reader will detect changes made to carrier wave, decrypt and transform to data for further use.

Traceability System of Fresh is becoming an important issue for Thai exporters who have paid their attention to the European market; especially emerging of application of RFID technology which is seen as an electronic data management system covering storage, collection, transfer, copying and analysis of data to enable complete traceability and access to data and also to help the consumer to be able to check food safety data for the entire chain of production ranging from the farm to the consumer. It can be of much benefit for inspecting any abnormality occurred to food product in order to define cause of abnormality swiftly, precisely and to abate consequences of any damage.

Steps and Procedures of Traceability System of Fresh

1. Farm

Recording of data relevant to activities within production process will be commenced from registration of place, farmer and raw material. For instances, agriculture which need seed or seedling for planting, activities involved in such production process are such as use of fertilizer (organic or inorganic), water resource and method of use, chemical use, directions of instrument used for maintenance and storage and after-use direction, all of those mentioned activities done by the farmer will be recorded in database system.

2. Production

After harvest, raw material will be sold to trading firm or export firm by weighing, grade segregating and stowage before delivering to the factory. At the factory, weight will be rechecked and receipt of raw material will be recorded. Raw material will be sent to freezing room waiting for manufacturing. Concerning production process, it will start from selection, dressing and packing in container e.g. bag, tray or binding together before cartooning according to purchase order of each customer. Important information during these processes will be recorded in traceability system.

3. Production Control

During production, quality control staffs will randomly inspect for toxic substance residue including microorganism from either raw material or finished product and then record such inspection result in database to be used for traceability to ensure that all export products are free from toxic substance residue and microorganism which can be harmful for the consumer.

4. Exportation

For each export, there shall have a record for date of export, no. of invoices, name of the customer, product type, manufactured date and quantity in order that an end buyer can be traced.

5. Consumer

The consumer will be able to inspect any steps of production line by tracing back or by inspecting forward in database system via the Internet. For an example, user starts its inspection at the point of export by searching from date of export and customer code, the system will then search data under given criteria by displaying result of traceability of relevant activities from export back to manufacturing farm and also check for result of quality control and packaging used for production.

The prominent part of RFID to be used for food industry is that industrial sector needs to control a great amount of raw material with highly turnover rate for each day. Recording such data on paper may require load of paper which will inevitably lead to problems of storage and loss and interconnection of data for traceability will need expert and such a long period of time while risk of error will increase concomitantly. Traceability by computer system can deal with such mentioned by arranging staffs to entry data into computer system on daily basis and when RFID has been introduced, it will help recording data automatically. This can help the entrepreneur as follows:

  • Automatically data recording during the operation
  • Labour and time saving for data recording
  • High accuracy
  • Real time data analysis or control of production scale

Source: Power point ของนายเชษฐา อุดมวงศ์ ผู้อำนวยการฝ่ายการตลาด FXA GROUP

In current situation of shipping of goods, the supplier shall inspect whether goods are adequately safe for transport and to ensure that they will be not opened loss or changed during transport and thus has implemented E-seal to transportation. E-seal stands for Electronic Seal; technology used for electronically sealing container to facilitate safety transport of goods. E-Seal will be applied for locking container to prevent container from being changed of its contents. Inspection can be done from the origin to the destination including real time status of such container. If a container has been opened before its destination, E-Seal will transmit radio signal to warn container tracking service immediately. This system is also known as “Transportation Security System” (TSS)

Source: http://www.avantetech.com/products/shipping/

TSS comprises of 3 major components as follows:

  1. Container lock with RFID Tag or E-Seal
  2. Reader
  3. Signpost

Principle of function supported by RFID technology will start from sealing the container with Active Tag or E-Seal. When such container has been transported to different places such as port or vessel, each of such places shall have signposts for transmitting signal of specific code of each signpost including signaling for updating parameters of RFID Tag. When it is needed to monitor current status of any container, Tag will transmit signal of its own code and code of signpost in the area and current status of container to the Reader which will connect to central computer system via satellite system. Communication between signpost and RFID Tag will be done by low frequency wave (LF) at 132 KHz not exceeding 4 meters which can effectively and speedily transfer data. Communication between RFID Tag and the Reader will be done by higher frequency (UHF) at 433 MHz having wider range of operation about 100 meters. Further, it can support more than one RFID Tag even in an environment with high degree of noise. From its operation, staffs working at the center can inspect for safety and movement on a real time basis, schedule of loading and unloading or change of course of journey all the time

Source: http://www.avantetech.com/products/shipping/ 

Benefit from the system

  • Increasing performance of shipping including time saving and reduction of loss or being changed
  • Reducing of cost related to customs service/inspection service
  • Reduction of overhead cost such as overtime pay etc.
  • Reduction of guarantee money
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