RFID tags are a highly accurate form of identification that reduces the possibility of human scanning errors. They streamline the process of identifying assets and logging their data in your inventory system.

LF tags have an antenna that is made of three to seven turns of copper or aluminum coil. They are also less expensive to manufacture than UHF tags.

LF RFID Technology

LF (low frequency) RFID systems operate in the 30 KHz to 300 KHz range, typically around 125 or 134 MHz. These systems are more sensitive to radio wave interference and have a shorter read scope of only 10 cm and a slower read speed. However, they have a great ability to operate in moist situations and can access tags behind thin-metal substances. These factors make LF very popular in applications such as access control and livestock tracking.

Unlike high-frequency (HF) and ultra-high-frequency (UHF) RFID, low-frequency RFID does not need a battery for data transmission between the tag and reader. Rather, the electromagnetic waves emitted by the reader are picked up by a small dipole antenna in the tag and converted to electric current. This voltage difference is used to power the microchip on the tag.

Retailers are implementing RFID to minimize out-of-stock situations and provide real-time inventory counts at the store level. For example, clothing wholesaler Advanced Apparel uses RFID to identify the LF RFID Tag specific rack or shelf a product is located on in its warehouses so that staff can find it faster. The result is better customer service and increased sales for the brand.

LF RFID Applications

LF RFID uses near-field inductive coupling to power and communicate with interrogators. It is a very mature technology and can be found around the world in everything from animal tracking to access control systems. It has a lower data transfer rate than other frequencies but it can survive harsh environments and is very resistant to interference from metals and liquids.

HF RFID systems work in the 3 MHz to 30 MHz range and are used in electronic ticketing, proximity card and smart card payment and security applications. It is also the technology that is most widely known, thanks to NFC (Near Field Communication) technology based on it. HF tags use copper coils with several hundreds of turns to create the antenna.

The LF and HF frequency bands are being combined with sensors to enable RFID to capture and transmit sensor information such as temperature, movement and location. This is called Internet of Things (IoT).

These sensor tags have an internal battery that is able to proactively broadcast a beacon at pre-set intervals. Readers then detect these beacons and pass the sensor data to a host system. This is a great way to improve the accuracy of RFID systems in harsh and challenging environments where a passive backscatter signal may be compromised by metal, moisture or RF interference.

LF RFID Hardware

The physical form factor of the RFID tag is a key consideration for any RFID application. LF tags have a variety of forms to choose from including clear or PVC laminate, ABS, or potted dome, available with or without sticky backing. Specialty forms such as cable tie or tamper protection can also be used. RFID Tags are available in many different sizes and shapes, with some incorporating integrated antennas to reduce the overall size of the tag or allow the use of smaller readers.

LF tags have a read range of several centimeters or inches and are typically passive, harvesting energy from the electromagnetic field produced by the reader. HF and UHF tags can have much longer read distances but are more sensitive to environmental factors such as metals or water.

LF tags are also well suited for applications that require a rugged, durable tag, such as animal tracking and pet ID (RFID Ear Tags). Most LF tags are unaffected by liquid or metal, and can be submerged in water or injected under the skin. The exception is the UHF tag, which can have its read range significantly reduced by moisture.

LF RFID Software

LF RFID software provides the back-end support for reading data from RFID tags. There are many options available for this type of software. It is important to choose the right software for your particular needs. Some factors to consider include read range, surface type, and environmental conditions. It is also important to choose a software that can interface with your other systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), warehouse management system (WMS) and supply chain management system.

Generally, LF RFID tags operate in the 30 KHz to 300 KHz frequency range, with most using 125 or 134 MHz frequencies. These tags are passive, meaning they don’t have a battery and instead receive power from near-field inductive coupling to transmit information to the interrogator. LF RFID has a shorter read range than other frequencies, but is less sensitive to interference from metal and liquids and can be used in harsh environments.

LF RFID tags are found in a variety of applications, from access control to animal tracking. They can be embedded in point-of-sale and retail RFID systems to automate checkout, and can also be used to track assets and inventory in manufacturing, construction, automotive, and healthcare. LF RFID brick tags, plastic wedge and coffin tags excel in opportunities that require a small LF RFID Tag footprint and excel when mounted on or in metal. LF nail tags, a popular option for tagging trees or wooden assets, are waterproof and able to withstand physical stress.