RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data through tags, these tags carry electronically stored information and are attached to objects/textiles in order to identify and track them automatically.
An RFID system is composed by tags (or transponders) that carry the data and a reading system that reads the data and sends them to a computer system.
The reader transmits a low-power radio signal through its antenna; this signal is received by the tag (via its own antenna) to power an integrated circuit (chip).
The tag uses the energy it gets from the signal when it enters the radio field and will briefly converse with the reader to verify, control and exchange data.
Once the data is received by the reader, it is then sent to a controlling computer for processing and management.
Total time needed: JUST FEW MILLISECONDS!
Why embed RFID in textile
Since a tag contains an ID number which gives a precise description of the related textile, RFID enables laundries to track and control textiles and assets anywhere in the industrial process and along the lifecycle with amazing advantages. This allows the laundry to know exactly how many textiles are in circulation, the units processed per day, their precise location, how long they last and why.
RFID solutions can increase efficiency, reduce losses and increase profitability during the industrial processes.
These are the main benefits arising from the application of RFID technology to textiles:
The intelligent laundry cycle
Once tags are attached to textiles, they can be identified and tracked automatically in each step of the laundry process with amazing advantages.
We have developed specific integrated solutions to read mats in the rolling machines of the industrial laundry, and for bulk reading of mop heads in bags. Resistant to vulcanization, any mat can be purchased already fitted with HF or UHF LaundryChips.
The increase in the number of nursing homes represents a growing potential for industrial launderers. Accurately identifying and tracking the numerous and various private garments of nursing home residents presents a challenge for nursing homes staff and their laundry partners.
The right technology for each application field
Our Worldwide textile ID RFID products portfolio includes low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) RFID systems. Each technology has different features that suit specific application fields. A lower frequency has a shorter read range and slower data read rate, while higher frequency generally has faster data transfer rates and longer read ranges.
In the tab below you can find a brief guide in order to understand which technology can suit better your needs:
China: UHF RFID management system in the hospital textile rental service.
Shanghai Jesse, the largest medical textile washing and rental service company in China, that has been using UHF RFID since 2008 in highest grade governmental hospitals. The benefits included the reduction of more than 100,000 textile counting mistakes, the decrease of the relevant costs and strong improvements in the hospital infection control.
Successful implementation of UHF RFID systems in the healthcare textile rental service in Netherlands & U.K.
The Gemert branch of Synergy Health, a leading chain of industrial laundries operating in the healthcare sector in Netherlands and UK., equipped clothing with Datamars UHF tags to develop an unique customized personal laundry concept.
Italy: a pilot project to manage bed linens and workwear within each hospital department thanks to RFID.
The use of RFID technology for bed linens and uniform laundry services has brought significant benefits to hospitals in terms of efficiency and cost reduction, allowing a significant improvement in the quality of services offered.
The processes of washing, ironing, folding and sterilization in the Industrial Laundry Environment can influence RFID read range. The following factors can influence the read range of a tag: - Humidity absorbs magnetic fields, - Metal reflects and distorts radio signals, - Neon lights interfere with electromagnetic waves, - Electrostatic electricity gathered from hangers or conveyor systems interfere and modifies signals, - Vibrations from machinery alter frequencies and - Strong power supplies from machines and computers.
What are the differences between multi-read and single-read systems?
The most significant difference between these systems is the direction of the data flow between the reader and the tag. In single-read systems there is no transmission of data from the reader to the tag, only from the tag to the reader. The tag sends a unique ID code to the reader as soon as the magnetic field is strong enough to power its operation. In multi-read systems, communication passes continuously between the reader and the tag. The tag will communicate its unique ID code only if queried. This “dialogue” takes time and slows down the effective read rate. It is possible to limit the system to one query and one answer (depending on the tag) if there is only one tag within the field of the antenna.