What is RFID?
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification
The job of RFID systems is primarily the same one that barcodes perform today: to store and provide information about a product, a pallet of goods or entire inventories. RFID systems are, however, far superior to barcodes.
For example, they can process several products at once without any direct contact.
The key benefit of RFID is that data no longer has to be laboriously processed using scanners. Instead this can all be done through radio transmissions: fast and at a distance. While barcodes always need to be read separately, RFID chips can be read "in bulk", which saves time. In warehousing logistics, for example, a stock inventory can be generated at the push of a button.
The possibilities for RFID in logistics are endless opening up completely new opportunities for the sector. Find out here what RFID can do today and in the future. An RFID tag consists of a microchip which contains a small antenna. The antenna transmits information to a reading device, known as the RFID reader. Significantly more information can be stored on the microchip than on a barcode label - up to several kilobytes.
Many products have to be kept chilled during transport such as foodstuffs, liquid medication and cosmetics. An RFID sensor tag developed in the DHL Innovation Center and fitted with temperature sensors monitors the goods and their temperature during the entire transport process.
Readings can be taken at every point of processing. Shippers, recipients or controllers can check on the condition of the products without having to open the shipment. Moreover, the chip can recalculate the minimum shelf life of a product at any time. It knows when to remove it from the supply chain.
A prototype of an intelligent container developed by the DHL Innovation Center uses RFID technology to monitor to what extent goods have been exposed to moisture, jolts or vibrations during transport. The sensor tags located in the container then transmit this information using GPS or other technologies.
If the goods are damaged the recipient can quickly request a replacement, thus preventing any unpleasant surprises when the goods arrive.
Up till now the route taken by packages, letters or containers has been controlled centrally. This could well change in the future. The freight of tomorrow is "master of its own destiny". A package could be fitted with information so that it can find its own way. This destination information would be stored in an RFID tag located on the package.
As a result, the system would no longer route the package. Rather, the package would route itself and easily find its own way in a huge logistics network. Experts call this the "internet of things" since the principle is similar to that of the digital data highway, where e-mail data packages can independently make their own way to their destination. RFID offers logistics a great opportunity to simplify the shipment of packages and to make logistics processes even more efficient.