AIDC Basics: Bar Codes or RFID? Is it time to make the switch?

We often receive questions about how RFID can increase efficiency and lower product costs. While it’s true that RFID is an amazing technology that can be extensively customized to very unique use cases, RFID is not always a better option than bar coding.

Both bar codes and RFID can be used to trace, track and keep inventory of your products or business assets. Here are some situations where RFID could be a better fit than bar codes:

1.) When you need to scan quickly, at long distances or without line of sight

Both bar codes and RFID labels/tags are read using fixed or mobile readers that scan the information contained on the label or tag. However, unlike with bar codes, with RFID you don’t need line of sight to the item you want to scan. You may have items in a warehouse or storage facility and inventory cannot always be reached physically with a bar code scanner.

RFID labels and tags can be quickly read from long distances as long as the item is in the reader’s radio frequency range.

2.) When exact item count and location is critical at all times

RFID is able to store up to 512 bits of information; this is much more information than a bar code can contain. With this extra data, you are able to know not only where items were last scanned, but also get insight into where and when the product came from the manufacturer and where It’s physical location is within the store, plant or warehouse.

RFID solutions provide more specific information than bar codes when tracking parts, assets or products as they move through the supply chain.  

3.) When normal bar code labels become unreadable during production

If you’ve ever used bar code labels on a bin, palate, container or frequently used tool you might be familiar with what can happen to the bar codes readability over time… it gets worse! Normal wear and tear or harsh environmental conditions can deteriorate bar code labels and make them un-readable.

RFID labels and tags are contained in metal or polymer casing, making them supremely more durable than normal bar code labels.

AbeTech can help you make the best choice

If any of these situations resonate with you, or you’ve struggled with bar code in the past, reach out to AbeTech. We have in-house engineers and specialists who can talk through your specific needs and provide a solution to increase your efficiency, productivity and read rates.


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