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TOSHIBA RFID - Information

Since 15 th September 2006 Toshiba Europe GmbH partly uses RFID technology to improve the supply chain. The RFID Technology can be determined by the following logo on our packages:

Toshiba is using a passive RFID tag inside the package. The tag is part of the disposable package; it can be removed and can be recycled with the package waste. The tag carries only product related identification number and does not contain, collect or store any personally identifiable information. The RFID technology is only used to enhance the performance of the supply chain resulting to improved availability of the products.

In order to obtain accurate information about RFID and its applications, as well as information about advances in the technology, TOSHIBA Europe GmbH provides thorough information on this webpage. The information serves the purpose of familiarising consumers with the theme and to help consumers understand the technology and its benefits.

GENERAL INFORMATION – HISTORY

It can be said that the roots of RFID can be traced back to WW II. The Germans, Japanese, Americans and British were all utilizing radar to warn of approaching planes. The problem was there was no way to identify which planes belonged to the enemy and which were a country’s own pilots returning from a mission. The Germans discovered that if pilots rolled their planes as they returned to base, it would change the radio signal reflected back. This simple process alerted the radar crew on the ground that these were German planes and not Allied aircraft. Basically, this is the first passive RFID system.

Of course, advances in radar and RF communications systems continued through the 1950s and 1960s. The newer type of RFID technology was invented in 1969 and is since than used in all kinds of every day life. RFID systems are used for access control, payment systems and contactless smart cards. They’re also used as an anti-theft device in cars.

 

IN DETAIL

What is RFID?

The abbreviation RFID stands for “Radio Frequency Identification” and is an automatic identification method that stores and remotely retrieves data via an RFID tag or transponder. RFID systems consist of three basic components: an antenna, a transceiver and transponder (RF tag).

What is a UPC (so called Barcode)?

UPC stands for Universal Product Code, which has been used to auto-identify items via machine-readable barcodes for a number of years. The use of RFID is a replacement of the traditional barcoding.

What is an EPC?

The EPC, or Electronic Product Code, is the next generation of automatic product identification.

What are the differences between UPC and EPC?

A UPC only identifies object classes or generic categories of product. An EPC uses a unique serial number to identify each individual pack of a product and makes it possible to automatically track products from manufacturer to store shelf.

How does RFID work?

Data is generated and stored by a primary host computer, similar to bar code systems. The antenna generates a magnetic field which activates the magnetic tag and enables communication between the tag and the transponder. RFID works on this simple concept: A signal is sent to a transponder, which wakes up and either reflects back a signal (passive system) or broadcasts a signal (active system).

A RFID programmer encodes information onto a tiny microchip within a thin RFID tag that looks much like a normal pressure-sensitive carton label. This tag is attached to a carton as it begins its supply chain journey from manufacturing plant to retailer. RFID readers that work on the same protocol as the tag are distributed at key points throughout the supply chain. These readers activate the tag, causing it to broadcast high frequency radio waves within bandwidths reserved for RFID usage. These radio waves transmit identifiers or codes that reference unique information about products inside the carton.

Readers relay the codes to a host computer as the carton passes through an RFID portal or moves along a conveyor anywhere in the supply chain. The computer parses this information and makes it readily available to anyone who needs to know where a product is at any given moment in time.

Are there different kinds of RFID?

There are two different kinds of RFID technology. There are systems with passive tags and active tags. Active tags have a transmitter and their own power supply. They have read-write capabilities, greater memory capacity and a much greater operating range than passive tags. The power source is used to run the microchip's circuitry and to broadcast a signal to a reader.

Passive tags are generally read-only (similar to bar codes). They have lower operating ranges and lower memory storage capacity. Passive tags have no battery. They draw power from the reader, instead, which sends out electromagnetic waves that bring a current in the tag's antenna.

What kind of tag does Toshiba Europe GmbH use?

Toshiba Europe GmbH only uses passive tags. This means that the read range is only up to 10 meters. The tag carries only product related identification number and does not contain, collect or store any personally identifiable information. The RFID technology is only used to enhance the performance of the supply chain resulting to improved availability of the products. The tag is part of the disposable package and can be removed with it.

What are the advantages of RFID technology?

The most significant advantage is the capacity of enabling electronic product surveillance. Contrary to the barcode system inventory can be tracked at any and all points all over the supply chain. The RFID technology disposes the disadvantages of barcodes which are that each item must be scanned manually, that barcodes can only store a limited amount of information and that a barcode must be changed as every time when information are modified. In addition, dirty or damaged barcode cannot be read. Another significant advantage of RFID systems is that they do not require direct contact or line-of-sight to operate properly. Tags can be read in all types of environments such as snow, fog, ice, paint, dirt, and other harsh conditions. RFID tags can also be read very quickly, in most cases responding in less than 100 milliseconds.

Are there laws governing the use of RFID?

There are no passed laws governing the use of RFID specifically. The reason for that is that the existing privacy laws cover the issues relating to RFID systems, as well as bar codes and other systems.