The RFID Shop Newsletter – June 2017

RFIDShop New in The RFID Shop – June 2017

 Which Tag?


With thousands of RFID tags on the market and new ones added daily, how can you make an informed decision as to which tag is right for your RFID system?

Read here:


HID’s 7-point guide to the right RFID Tag

  1. Operating Frequency – LF, HF or UHF?

    Each RFID system operates within one of three bands on the electromagnetic spectrum: low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), or ultrahigh frequency (UHF).

RFID_waveIn general:

as operating frequency increases, data processing speed and read range (the distance between the powered reader and the passive tag it reads) increases.

However, increasing frequency tends to decrease a radio wavelength’s ability to penetrate some materials.

  • LF is a cost effective option for applications allowing consistent physical placement of tags on items, enabling readers to identify individual tags one at a time at close range. LF is almost not affected by the environment e.g. water or metal.
  • HF tags can be read from distances of a few to several inches, allowing greater flexibility for tag and reader placement, and enabling higher processing speed and accuracy. In addition, HF processing enables larger memory capacity on each tag.
  • UHF technology is rapidly expanding the boundaries of data collection speed and accuracy. Some UHF tags can be scanned from up to 25 feet (8 meters) or more, with readers identifying multiple tags simultaneously. Using UHF, an entire truckload of hundreds of individually tagged containers can be accounted for in the few seconds it takes for a truck to roll into or out of a distribution point. On the other side, UHF is sensitive to the tag environment for issues like reflection, dampening, detuning.
  1. Environmental Conditions – Quiet and clean or harsh and mucky?

In a stable environment, such as tagging books in a library, a relatively modest housing environmentwill provide adequate protection for each tag’s electronic components, so a paper label would be good enough.

At the other end of the spectrum, tags used in many industrial applications must perform despite repeated exposure to extreme heat or cold, physical impact, vibration, moisture and chemical agents. Here you will need to look at rugged tags.

Consider the conditions tags will be exposed to when deployed in your application.

  1. Composition and contents of tagged items – Are you tagging humans, metal containers or books?

ultra_tagThe RFID tags and readers can interact with the surface material on which tags are mounted, e.g. glass can have the effect of attenuation on the RF signal whilst metal may reflect and plastics detune the part of the signal.

Liquids may also impact readability, both as contents of a tagged container, and when liquids are present in close proximity to tags and readers.

  1. Physical space available for tag placement – Big or small, visible or invisible, awkward or plain?

Tags come in a multitude of sizes and shapes, from high-visibility units to be placed on the exterior of 45-foot cargo containers, to tiny tags that attach discreetly or are embedded into small objects.

It is important to know tag placement options and potential size limitations for each item to be tagged as this will help identify the tag size and shape that is right for your application.

  1. Optimal mounting method – Glue, screw, tie, embed?

tag_fixationThe optimal mounting method will depend upon a combination of where a tag will be secured, the environmental conditions it will be exposed to, and the composition of the surface on which the tag will be placed.

There are many different options available, from ties to holes to glue.

  1. Memory capacity – High or low? How much info does the tag need to store?

Tags with large memory capacities enable more detailed records. Still, low memory tags are sufficient for some tasks when used with an on-line database that holds the additional data. Very little memory space is required to store simple codes.

However, technological advancements are packing larger amounts of data in ever-shrinking integrated chips. High memory tags are redefining RFID potential. A single tag can securely store detailed maintenance records for a piece of industrial equipment or fleet vehicle. Equally, complete records of production process steps stored in a high-memory tag can provide instant status information even in-off line scenarios, when no real-time database access is possible. For many RFID users, increasing tag memory capacity has significantly expanded logistics tracking and reporting capabilities.

  1. Still not happy? – Mix and match components for a custom solution

If the first 6 items above have not revealed the ideal tag for your requirements, explore the potential of a custom design.  Mixing and matching standard components to create a custom tag can be cost effective, while optimizing the potential of your logistics application.

Please remember:

Splodge-goldThe RFID Shop offers tags at conveniently low order quantities for smaller projects or for initial test applications. Large order quantities attract price reductions. Any questions? Contact us: email: phone: 01865 339 600

NFC for Beginners – A short introduction


What is NFC, actually?

NFC stands for Near Field Communication.

It is a Wireless communication technology which enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 4 centimetre distance.

Translated into consumer technology this means NFC can enable simple and safe two-way interactions between electronic devices,

This means NFC allows consumers to perform contactless transactions, access digital content, and connect electronic devices with a single touch.

NFC is based on RFID technology at 13,56 MHz.

A Short History of NFC

2002: NFC co-invented by Sony and Philips Semiconductor (NXP)

2004: NFC Forum established by Sony, Philips, and Nokia

2006: Initial Specifications for NFC Tags & “SmartPoster” records

2009: Specifications for Peer-to-Peer data transfer

2010: Launch of “N” mark by NFC Forum and first NFC compatible smartphone released

What does the NFC Forum do?nfc_forum

The NFC Forum is dedicated to promoting the security, ease of use, and popularity of Near Field Communication. It aims to educate businesses about the technology and upholds standards that allow NFC to operate between different devices. Those who wish to create NFC compliant devices must meet these standards set forth by the NFC Forum. This ensures that any user with any NFC device can use it with any other NFC device or NFC tag.

The Future of NFC

The Vision for NFC technology is to create the convergence of services in your daily life with NFC. It means that the access of any service would be literally at your fingertips, all in one device: your smartphone. No more wallets overflowing with coupons, loyalty cards and payment cards, no risk of loosing paper tickets or not having enough coins for parking.


How does it work? – The technical stuff

Devices using NFC may be active or passive. A passive device, such as an NFC tag, contains information that other devices can read but does not read any information itself. Think of a passive device as a sign on a wall. Others can read the information, but the sign itself does nothing except transmit the info to authorized devices.

Active devices can read information and send it. An active NFC device, like a smartphone, would not only be able to collect information from NFC tags, but it would also be able to exchange information with other compatible phones or devices and could even alter the information on the NFC tag if authorized to make such changes.


NFC devices are unique in that they can change their mode of operation to be in read/write mode, peer-to-peer mode or card emulation mode. The different operating modes are based on the ISO/IEC 18092 NFC IP-1 and ISO/IEC 14443 contactless smartcard standards. In order to obtain a NFC certification, devices must support at least two of the three modes.

And what about security?

To ensure security, NFC often establishes a secure channel and uses encryption when sending sensitive information such as credit card numbers. Users can further protect their private data by keeping anti-virus software on their smartphones and adding a password to the phone so a thief cannot use it in the event that the smartphone is lost or stolen.

More technical stuff: So, what exactly is an NFC Tag?

An NFC Tag is a (passive) HF contactless tag capable of storing NDEF formatted data, which operates with ISO 14443, ISO 15693 or Felica infrastructure and NFC devices as defined by the NFC forum.

An NFC Forum Tag is compatible to one of five NFC forum Tag platforms capable of storing NDEF formated data.

Every NFC Forum tag is also an NFC tag. Every NFC tag is also an HF RFID tag – but not vice versa!



And how does RFIP Ltd fit into this?

hid_logoAll our HID products on the RFID Shop that hold a Mifare DESFire or UL chip can be used as NFC Forum tags today and become NFC tags as soon as a NDEF data structure is written to them. Essentially, the entire HF tag portfolio of HID Global can be used as NFC tags.

RFIP Ltd consultancy services can also help with the design and implementation of NFC technology.

Interested? Contact us: email: phone: 01865 339 600


Weapons Tagging – The use of RFID for the secure storage and issue of weapons and Tasers® in UK police forces


RFIP Ltd has developed a Weapons Tagging and Storage System in collaboration with JML and Frame Systems Ltd : the iDAS (identified asset storage).

IDAS_smiDAS is a secure, modular system for managing the storage and issue of weapons and Tasers or other sensitive equipment. It is particularly designed with local police stations in mind that do not have an armoury installed, but require the secure storage of Tasers and weapons. The modular nature of the system allows for flexibility and means that iDAS can be adapted to suit small, medium or larger applications.

The system applies the latest RFID technology used in police armouries to automatically record the safe issue and return of weapons. iDAS creates a complete audit trail of transactions, with alarms in the event of system misuse.

It presents as a drawer unit with tamper evident secure housing and anti-static foam infill to retain its contents securely. LED Status indicators give a clear visual indication of the condition of each drawer.

The installation is simple and the system is network enabled to allow for user-friendly integration into the existing electronic infrastructure.

It minimises supervisor or management intervention, thereby significantly reducing weapons administration times and costs and increasing efficiency.

How does it work?

  • Armoury access is controlled based upon officer competency
  • Officer identification takes place by RFID smart-card or Iris recognition
  • Weapons are issued only to identified and qualified officers
  • All weapons are tagged with RFID tags and tracked
  • Firearms training and operational competency are recorded and tracked
  • All user actions are audited and instant notification of events is implemented
  • Reports can be compiled across the entire data set



  • Robust Automatic Audit trails including events, weapon and officer history

    Pilot installation demonstrates the compact size of the unit
  • Significant reduction in daily management supervision time and costs
  • Enhanced security of all weapons
  • Ability to limit and control access to permitted users only prevents issue to unauthorised officers
  • Secure unique log-in for officers
  • Ability to instantly view a log of issued weapons
  • Optional SMS for important event notification
  • Electronic reading of unique identifiers eliminates manual errors
  • Instant view of empty drawers via LEDs
  • Visual warnings of misuse of the issue process


For more information contact us: email: phone: 01865 339 600


Understanding ATEX – What is it and what does it do?

Ever wondered what ATEX certified means? Ever tried to decipher something along the lines of: II 1G Ex ia IIC T4 Ga? Read our in-depth guide here:

What is ATEX?APEX logo

ATEX comes from the French ‘ATmosphères EXplosibles.’

It is the name commonly given to the two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres, ATEX Workplace Directive and ATEX Equipment Directive.

Explosive atmospheres can be caused by flammable gases, mists or vapours or by combustible dusts. If there is enough of the substance, mixed with air, the slightest source of ignition can cause an explosion.

Explosions can cause loss of life and serious injuries as well as significant damage.

What does ATEX equipment certification certify?

ATEX defines and certifies a range of Elements:

  • The device group:

I = can be used in mining
II = can be used in all other explosive areas (but not in mining)

  • A category that defines the zones the equipment can operate in.

Employers must classify areas where hazardous explosive atmospheres may occur       into zones. The classification differentiates between gas and dust-based fuels, the likelihood of an explosive atmosphere occurring and its persistence if it does:


  •  Which Atmosphere the equipment can be used in

G = Gas
D = Dust

  • Explosion Protection

Ex = ATEX certified

  • Ignition protection class:

What method the equipment uses to achieve safety. These include for example separation, special mechanical construction or limitation of energy.


o =    Equipment components are completely submerged in oil
q =    Equipment components are completely covered with a layer of Sand, powder or quartz
p =    Equipment is pressurised to a positive pressure relative to the surrounding atmosphere           with air or an inert gas, thus the surrounding ignitable atmosphere cannot come in contact with energized parts of the apparatus. The overpressure is monitored, maintained and controlled
ia =    intrinsic safety, The development of inadmissibly high temperatures, ignition sparks and arcs are avoided due to the restriction of energy in the circuit

  • Explosion Group (data only for devices used in areas rendered potentially explosive by gas). Group I needs the most amount of energy to ignite, group IIC the least, so equipment designed for use in e.g. gas group IIB is also safe to use in IIA.:


  • Temperature Class

The maximum surface temperature of a device must be less than the minimum ignition temperature of the atmosphere it is operating in. For this reason, the maximum surface temperature of equipment for use with inflammable gases, vapors or mists is specified in temperature classes. Here are the classes of the maximum permitted housing or component temperature of the operating devices:

T1 = 450°C
T2 = 300°C
T3 = 200°C
T4 = 135°C
T5 = 100°C
T6 = 85°C

  • Equipment Protection Level
Equipment Protection Levels (EPL’s) have been introduced to indicate the inherent ignition risk of equipment irrespective of the type of protection being used.

The EPL is defined by the intended use in the specified zones.


How to decipher the ATEX designation

Soo. What does the certification actually tell you? Here is an example:

Our partner HID Global have certified their Glass and IN Tags in the following way:


What does it mean?

Here is our breakdown:



How to get people moving – A creative implementation of RFID technology into Health and Activity Programs


RFIP Ltd have developed the Walker Tracking Unit for Intelligent Health and their Beat the Street program.

The Walker Tracking Unit is a ruggedized NFC system which incorporates RFID, GPRS, WiFi and GPS functionality in a single battery powered unit. It can be easily mounted on existing street furniture and withstands the elements.

Here is how it works:


  • The system has the ability to track users walking along a designated route where WTUs are installed
  • WTUs are mounted onto existing street furniture
  • Users are issued with NFC cards or fobs
  • Users swipe their cards or fobs at points along the way
  • The swipe information is automatically sent to a remote database
  • Users can access their personal walk information via a web application.

Based on this, Intelligent Health have developed ‘Beat the Street’ which is a real life walking, cycling and running game for a whole community.  The challenge is funded by Councils across the country, and even abroad, to promote healthier lifestyles and to reduce congestion and car usage.

leaderboards_2People score points and win prizes by walking, cycling or running from point to point and tapping a registered and activated Beat the Street RFID card or key fob on sensors (the RFIP Ltd Walker Tracking Units or ‘Beat Boxes’). These are placed on lamp posts across the dedicated routes where the game is being played.

Leaderboards are created online to connect the community and to make the game more fun and challenging.

Councils have been getting really creative to get their communities moving. Reading’s target for 2015 was to travel as a town for eight weeks into space. A total of 23,992 people from Reading, Burghfield, Mortimer, Pangbourne and Theale walked and cycled 306,599 miles when they took part in the Beat the Street challenge.