SARAH W. JOINS ALL-MARKS!
Sarah W. is the newest full time member of the All-Marks team. Outstanding with communications and marketing, Sarah is a tremendous asset to All-Marks. She will be selling all of our products and job shop services which include laser marking, UID labels and related products, and all manner of product identification. She can be reached at 877.847.8076 ext. 3.
ALL-MARKS IS GROWING!
All-Marks has just been appointed the regional distributor for all Datalogic Automation laser marking products. This includes all green lasers, CO2 lasers, pulsed fiber lasers, UV lasers, DPSS lasers, continuous wave fiber lasers, and more!
Kudos to All-Marks!
ON APPROVED VENDOR LIST
All-Marks is now on the SpaceX approved vendor list for job shop laser marking. SpaceX is also a long time customer of All-Marks, utilizing our industrial laser marking equipment.Link
RFID & UID Solutions - Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
What is RFID?
RFID is an abbreviation for Radio Frequency Identification, a technology that allows for the automatic identification of objects using radio signals. An RFID system is generally made up of interrogators (readers) that send out radio signals which will read or program transponders (tags).
RFID systems have been used for decades in applications such as keyless entry for building security systems or for automatically collecting toll money on highways. The Department of Defense and several large retailers such as Wal-Mart have recently mandated that their suppliers begin applying RFID tags to boxes and pallets so that they can easily be tracked after they are received from suppliers. The RFID tags used in this scenario are passive, meaning they do not contain batteries and as such they are low-cost, disposable, and thin enough to be embedded into standard shipping labels.
Metalcraft's RFID Standard RFID Tags are ideal for asset tracking applications on non-metal surfaces that require attachment directly to the asset. The construction completely encapsulates the inlay sealing it from environmental conditions that could have an adverse effect on the performance and the life of the RFID label.
What information is in an RFID tag?
The data in an RFID label destined for the Department of Defense is usually very minimal, it won't contain much more than your DoD cage code and a serial number. No other significant information is programmed into the tag. So how does the DoD use RFID to know what is in your boxes? The answer is that you communicate information about what is in each logistic unit by sending receiving reports to the DoD Wide Area Workflow System (WAWF).
How does RFID interact with Wide Area Workflow?
The Wide Area Workflow system is a proprietary software system developed by the Department of Defense that receives invoice and shipping data from DoD suppliers in electronic form.
As you tag your RFID shipping units, you must keep track of which contract line items (and optionally which UID instances) are in each of the boxes and pallets you are tagging. When you ship your goods to the DoD you must also submit a receiving report containing all of this RFID information. When the Department of Defense RFID system interrogates your boxes with its RFID readers it will look up each RFID tag it finds in the Wide Area Workflow database and only then can it discover what contract line items and UID instances are in each shipping container.
How are UID and RFID related?
If you are shipping UID items to the DoD you must specify which UID instances are in each RFID logistic unit. This is troublesome because many DoD suppliers may have systems that allow them visibility into what serialized items are in a shipment, but they do not have systems that track serialized items down to the case or pallet level.
When is RFID required?
RFID is required when the relevant DFARS clauses are included in your contract with the Department of Defense. Though you are not required to become RFID compliant before you execute on the new contract, it is usually a good idea to implement and pilot an RFID solution well beforehand because substantial planning can be required.
The RFID mandate from the Department of the Defense is not as simple as slapping an additional label on the outside of a box. The required steps may change business processes across many organizational boundaries and buyoff on a final RFID solution will usually require input from decision makers in various departments such as IT, Manufacturing, Quality Assurance, Shipping, Contracts, and Finance.
What kind of equipment do I need for RFID?
All passive RFID tag technology used in the Department of Defense mandate must operate using technology standards created by EPC Global. At a minimum you will need an RFID enabled printer to program your RFID shipping labels. Additionally, you will likely want to use an externally mounted RFID reader to verify that your RFID tags are working after they have been applied to cases and pallets. You will also need EPC compliant shipping labels, preferably Class 1 Generation or Generation 2.
How can I learn more?
To learn more about RFID from the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Logistics & Materiel Readiness), click here.