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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Bringing Europe Up to Speed

Rob McGregor at TOSHIBA TEC Europe discusses the benefits of RFID technology and its potential use in the European pharmaceutical industry

Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology has been in existence for many decades, but it is only now that RFID is being used increasingly for various different applications – and the list is growing. Put simply, RFID is a technology that uses tags to receive and transmit radio signals to readers/interrogators that pick up the signal. The tags contain antennae to enable them to receive and respond to radio-frequency queries, and an electrical transponder, which stores information that can be used to identify the item to which it is attached.

There are two main tag technologies – active and passive. Active tags have a power source, typically a battery, and are normally relatively expensive. Passive tags receive power when they move into a radio field generated by the reader; this technology is cost effective when compared to active tags.

 

PASSIVE TECHNOLOGY

There are many benefits of using RFID technology over barcoding. Tags contain a read-write option which means that data stored on a RFID label can only be read or modified by authorised users. There is no limit to the data capacity of an RFID tag – whereas a barcode is restricted to 50 bytes – and they can be read again and again, with an expected lifetime of up to 10 years. Barcodes can only be read one at a time, but RFID readers can read up to 200 tags per second in an automatic process that permits fewer errors and requires fewer resources.

There are few controls as to where an RFID tag should be positioned. Unlike barcode labels, the only requirement for the RFID tag is that it must be within the field of the reader and not blocked by metals or water. Furthermore, RFID tags are not only robust, they are also very secure.


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Rob McGregor has worked as Business Development Manager for TOSHIBA TEC Europe’s Identification and Printing Division (IPD) since October 2005. Prior to this, he was based in TOSHIBA TEC Europe’s Retail Direct EPOS Division as Major Account Manager. Rob has recently been seconded to, and is a leading force in, Toshiba’s RFID European Task Force, which is setting the RFID business strategy for Toshiba. Rob has some 15 years’ experience in retail and supply chain technology, having previously worked for Sharp Electronics and Comtrex Systems Corporation.
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Rob McGregor
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