This is a chapter in our eBook, Your Guide to Implementing UHF RFID and it was written by Ian Mogab, Controls Engineer.
With UHF RFID becoming the new standard for identification and tracking in manufacturing facilities, many plant managers are pushing for its use. However, sticker shock can cause hang-ups due to the high up-front cost of a UHF RFID system. This doesn’t have to spell the end of your potential RFID improvements, though. UHF RFID systems can bring large amounts of value to your process, which in turn can be used to justify the large price.
There are many ways to justify the price of a UHF RFID upgrade. Economies of scale is an easy one; that can result in huge savings if a process uses a large volume of tags. UHF RFID tags have a simpler manufacturing process as compared to HF RFID tags, thus reducing tag cost by up to 5 times. Comparing the cost of tags currently used to UHF tags may show a quick ROI on the investment to switch to a UHF system.
UHF systems can also provide huge improvements in efficiency if implemented correctly. Processes utilizing barcode systems, manual data systems, or even HF RFID systems can benefit from efficiency improvements by migrating to a UHF RFID system. The range and read speed can improve read reliability, allow operators to focus on other tasks instead of entering information, and reduce scrap.
Finally, there are the intangible returns on investment that are harder to assign a value to, but nonetheless extremely valuable to an organization. A UHF system can improve traceability and inventory management, which can indirectly make a process much more efficient and lean. Any organization trying to work towards the ideals of industry 4.0 or IIoT will find the additional data available to them extremely valuable. These items, while not easily quantifiable, need to be accounted for in any project justification.
Just because UHF RFID could be used to solve a problem or improve a process doesn’t mean that it should. In some cases, a barcode or HF RFID solution may be a better or more economical choice, but oftentimes a UHF solution will easily justify the cost of the installation. If your organization is thinking about implementing an RFID solution, our experienced engineers can help you decide if the application is justifiable or if another alternative may be worth considering.
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