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An Innovative RFID Tag For Challenging Environments

RFID tags are useful in identifying and tracking products. However, difficulties arise when RFID tags are exposed to metallic properties and high temperatures. This is a problem because RFID tags are also needed to work directly on metal and in high temperatures. There is a variety of solutions to this problem.

One proposed solution is to separate the tag from the metallic surface using foam that is at least 0.5 inches thick to help the RFID tag read the product. Ideally, the foam is placed in plastic to protect it from being damaged. However, putting the foam in plastic increases the cost of production. In addition, since foam does not have electric properties, some tags placed with foam will not be able to read as well. Alternatively, a magnetic spacer material can be used instead of foam to separate the tag from the metallic surface. The magnetic spacer material enables the product that is being tracked to withstand the high volume of electrical charge that a typical RFID chip would contain when exposed to a metallic surface. Therefore, the magnetic spacer material still allows the tag to properly read.

Another solution used to help RFID tags read better on metal is to use metal-mount RFID tags using a monopole antenna mounted on a ground plane. The metal-mount tag’s purpose is to lift the tag off of the antenna and the monopole antenna would be bent so that the antenna would be parallel to the ground plane. This monopole antenna is known as planar inverted F antenna (PIFA) which is the same antenna that is used in cell phones. In a PIFA, the impedance can be easily tuned by placement of the feed. Tuning a PIFA class RFID tag to the correct frequency can be a difficult task as the chip and the ground plane have to be perfectly placed in order for the tag to read correctly. There is a new class of RFID tags that are similar to PIFA tags, but they have a different electrical design. The chip and the ground plane do not need to be perfectly placed and are less expensive to make than the PIFA tags. 

RFID tags that can withstand higher temperatures are also needed. In hotter temperatures, the adhesive that allows the chip and the antenna to bond usually dissolves in an environment with higher temperatures. One solution is to embed the tag in a ceramic material that is a poor conductor of heat. This solution is useful only when the tagged objects are exposed to the high temperatures for a short time. Another solution is to bond a high temperature chip to a high temperature antenna with a high temperature adhesive. This solution is useful when it is necessary for the tag to be exposed to higher temperatures for a longer period of time. A typical high temperature RFID tag has a thermal resistant housing with a base and a top, and a thermally resistant circuit board substrate with an integrated circuit. 

IC-TAG Solutions, Inc has also created its own unique solutions that will help RFID tags be more useful in both higher temperatures and a metallic environment while further innovating the design of RFID tags. For example, IC-TAG Solutions, Inc. has developed RFID tags that not only read well on metallic environments and high temperatures, but also occupy minimal space on the metal. For example, IC-TAG offers UHF RFID tag that is 1.5 inches wide and has a read range of 15 feet.

Another price increase is on the horizon. But IC-TAG’s team can aid you in avoiding the price increase by suggesting labels for your current applications that will work well and save you money.