While UHF tags share the same technology, they are comparable to barcodes in that they are usually written once and read once or twice and then discarded. Even with their comparatively lower initial cost, UHF tags ultimately are much more expensive than HF tags in cost-per-read.
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HF tags come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and data capacities for every imaginable application. Large, ruggedized tags are ready to bolt onto machinery chassis’ or assembly sub-frames to track and document work-in-process. These tags survive welding, paint-and-bake, lubricant cooling spray, solvent wash-down, high vibration and other environment extremes. Other Datalogic tags are tiny, as small as 8mmm in diameter (picture an aspirin tablet) but with 1K bytes of memory. These tags can be embedded into totes and containers to track and prevent los or theft.
HF tags are usually passive tags, meaning there is no onboard power source. They derive their power form the reader. HF technology is relatively near-field in comparison to UHG. Read distances are typically less than 20 inches. While this would be disadvantageous in a dock door environment, it is highly beneficial in pharmaceutical, food processing, sorting and packaging control situations where multiples lines may be operational in close proximity.
Furthermore, technology forecasters anticipate that the future of RFID will be dominated by tags in the HF band. This includes RFID-enabled cell phones that are already in use in Japan, and soon to be introduced in the West. The near-field functionality of HF tags provides the security and control necessary for vending machine transactions such as buying a soft drink or candy bar using your cell phone account as the payment vehicle. HF is also the preferred RFID technology for financial cards, transport cards, access control and personnel ID. Although UHF gets most of the press, in truth HF is actually the mainstream RFID technology.
Fotel specializes is durable HF tags for harsh environments including exposure to water and solvent wash down, temperature extremes including baking ovens, and even gamma radiation sterilization. Durable tags are the lowest cost solution over the long haul because they perform thousands of reads and re-writes over many years.
Furthermore, HF tags are friendly to situations where liquids or metals are present, unlike UHF tags that simply stop functioning near liquids and metals.
HF tags also outperform UHF tags in data capacity. UHF tags are also similar to barcodes in their database lookup functionality. Without a database on a host computer, UHF tags are virtually useless. HF tags can store thousands of bytes of data, enabling them to actually store database-onboard in many applications. This enables HF tags to store essential information where it is needed, without the need of a host computer storing a database. HF tags can make systems very agile and portable—a powerful feature in combination with its high durability and survivability.