The first part of this paper discusses different classifications of Radio Frequency Identification or RFID with special focus on EPC Class 1 Gen 2 tags. The second part of this paper discusses RFID implementation in the SAP world, SAP AII architecture and advantages of using SAP AII instead of third party middleware.
An RFID system consists of RFID tags, which are attached to products, cases, pallets or assets: RFID reader, antennae, sensors, actuators, annunciators, transmitters, and controllers. The system will additionally require middleware software to filter and smooth RFID data and back-end software to collect and aggregate information. An RFID tag basically consists of an RFID inlay enclosed in a label or other case material, depending on its application. RFID inlays consist of an RFID chip and antennae on a substrate. RFID tags are classified broadly as active, semi-passive and passive. RFID tags can have three memory types: Read only (RO), Write-once read-many (WORM), Read/Write (RW). The amount of read/write memory varies from 64 bits to 2 kilobits.
Data transfer between the RFID tag and RFID reader happens by a process called coupling. Coupling happens either electromagnetically (backscatter) or magnetically (inductive). Inductively coupled systems have a short range and are used in applications such as access control. Backscatter technology is usually used in supply chain inventory tracking and asset management. RFID readers are sometimes referred to as interrogators. Interrogators allow the user to read and write data to compatible tags. The readers have a transmitter, receiver, microprocessor, memory, communication ports and optional input/output channels to control external sensors, actuators and annunciators. The transmitter is used to transmit electromagnetic signals using the reader antennae. Signals are absorbed by the RFID tags in their receiving range and energize integrated circuits to transmit a return response. The
References: Mark Roberti , “EPC Reduces Out of Stock at Wal-Mart,” RFID Journal. www.rfidjournal.com Master Guide RFID – Enabled Supply Chain Execution Powered by SAP Netweaver: Using SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure 2.1, Document version 1.2, March 15, 2005, SAP