The RFID tag embedded in the label should be appropriate for the items inside the box. Special tags may be needed to tag difficult-to-read materials such as water, metal, and most aqueous liquids, as well as packaging or product with high carbon or salt contents. All of these materials can affect the RF signals coming from the interrogator as they attempt to energize the tag.
COMPATIBILITY WITH APPLICATOR
You must also consider the compatibility of labels with your label applicator, including the dimensions of the label and whether or not they fall within the acceptable parameters for the printer. Two main types of label media formats are used: media roll or fan-fold.
Quality is of prime importance when selecting label stock. This media has to deliver consistent and reliable results. If quality varies dramatically from one roll of media to the next—or, even worse, from one tag to the next—it will make the entire system inefficient. Sufficient time and attention to detail in selecting the proper media is critical to the overall success of any RFID implementation.
The label surface must be appropriate for the method of printing used with the particular printer. Two types of print methods are used for both industrial barcode printers and RFID printers and pros and cons exist for both of these methods.
• Thermal transfer, which uses heat to transfer ink from a separate ribbon to the label. For long-term application where the labels will have a lengthy lifecycle in the supply chain, thermal transfer printers should be used as the labels do not fade with exposure to sun or heat. These printers will typically print with a higher DPI (dot per inch), or resolution, on the label.
• Direct thermal, which uses special media in the form of a treated label stock that turns black when heated. The advantages of a direct thermal printer are a simpler design and therefore easier loading of the media, no ribbon, and easier maintenance for the printer due to fewer components that could break. However, the labels tend to be more expensive and fade quicker when exposed to heat.
Tip: Be aware that for labels that will be subjected to heat, a thermal transfer printer should be used.