RFID Inlays, RFID Tags, RFID Labels…What’s The Difference?

RFID Inlays, RFID Tags, RFID Labels…What’s The Difference?

When designing an RFID system – a few components typically come to mind, including RFID hardware and software. For hardware, typically RFID ReadersRFID Antennas, & RFID Tags are selected based on the respective use case. Other hardware components may be leveraged including RFID printers and other accessories/ peripherals . 

In regards to an RFID tag, various terminologies are often used including RFID InlaysRFID LabelsRFID Tags, but what’s the difference?

If we look the components of an RFID Tag, there are typically the following pieces:

  • RFID Chip (or Integrated Circuit): Responsible data storage as well as handling processing logic based on the respective protocol.
  • Tag Antenna: Responsible for receiving and transmitting the signal from the interrogator (AKA RFID Reader). Typically takes up the largest amount of space.
  • Substrate : Holds everything together.

Now! When we package everything together, there are difference terms that may be used.

RFID Inlay:

An RFID Inlay is just the RFID Chip (IC), Tag Antenna and Substrate, typically on a film face.

If the substrate has adhesive it’s called a “Wet Inlay”. Otherwise, it’s called a Dry Inlay.

RFID Label:

If an RFID Inlay in embedded into paper label, it is reference to as an RFID Label or Smart Label.

An roll of pre-printed, pre-encoded RFID labels.

RFID Tag: 

If the RFID Chip and Tag Antenna are encapsulated (to protect the components or for ease of use case), then it’s referenced as an RFID Tag.

An example of an encapsulated RFID tag is the TronRFID Uniform Tracking Tag. The tag is encapsulated to protect the inner guts when garment is being laundered while still providing a form factor that can easily attach to the garment via heat seal, embedding or stitching.

TagMatiks Stitch RFID Laundry Tag (TAG-S-UT)

Do you have any questions on what RFID Tag would be right for your use case? Contact Us.

Feb 19th 2019 Archit Dua

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