WHAT IS RAIN RFID?
- RAIN RFID is the comercial name for the technology defined by GS1's EPC Gen2 RFID standards
- Passive (meaning battery-less) wireless technology
- Tags can be embedded in rigid tags, paper stickers, or part of circuit boards
- High bulk reading accuracy; hundreds of tags can be identified per second
- Long read range of up to 10 m without line of sight
- Readers: handheld units, mounted on forklifts, dock doors, overhead locations that cover large areas within a warehouse
RAIN RFID for Industry and Everyday Items
With RAIN RFID, hundreds of individual items can be accurately counted in less than a second. This makes it possible to verify that every item loaded into a shipping container, stored into a bin, or loaded onto a truck, is fully accounted for.
Standards and Guidelines for Using RAIN RFID
International and national organizations have formulated standards, guidelines and recommendations for the deployment of RAIN RFID in the automotive industry, thereby ensuring interoperability throughout the supply chain and during assembly globally. ISO/IEC, GS1, Germany’s VDA, Odette International in the EU, and AIAG in the US, amongst others, have laid out rules regarding RFID for containers, parts and components, and sub-assemblies.
GS1 SGTIN documents encoding for tire identification. The VDA, for example, recommends the use of passive RFID tags and an extended memory size in order to store more identification data on the tag.
Process Optimization With RAIN RFID
Six Sigma and Kaizen are optimization methods used in car manufacturing for error reduction. RAIN RFID can further enhance these methods through increased automation and data-driven optimization. The goal of Lean Six Sigma, for instance, is the eliminate waste and reduce the number of defects to no more than 3.4 per 1,000,000 units produced. Similar to this, Kaizen pursues the goal of “continuous improvement” of the production process.
UCODE supports these methodologies. According to a 2022 study on warehouse logistics, process cycle time can be reduced by 91.5 percent when Lean Six Sigma and RFID technology are used in combination. Lead time, that is the amount of time it takes to complete a specific process from preparation to the finished product, can be reduced by 13 percent.
Materials for Rugged Use
To support the ruggedness and reliability needed for vehicle operation, RAIN RFID tags are often constructed with special materials and adhesives that are purpose-engineered and pre-qualified to withstand automotive-grade production and operation.
Tag materials including nylon, PP plastics, glass fiber, ferrites made of nickel-zinc (Ni-Zn) and manganese-zinc (Mn- Zn), and ceramics embedded in metal make the tags resistant to dirt and dust, water and harsh chemicals, sudden impact or shock, and electric overcharge. RAIN RFID can therefore be deployed where barcodes and other optical codes fail, including high-temperature environments, where peak temperatures can range between 190 and 230 °C.
High-temperature RAIN RFID tags can be mounted on the skid on which the chassis is transported through production. This way, the vehicle's path can be tracked from the body shop to final assembly.
RAIN RFID can be used just about anywhere in the vehicle – inside, outside, under the hood – and with difficult-to-label automotive components, including batteries, engine blocks, fuel caps, bumpers, cables, and tires.