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Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

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AutoQuiz: What Is the Benefit of Industrial RFID Tags Over Barcode Systems?

AutoQuiz is edited by Joel Don, ISA's social media community manager.

This automation industry quiz question comes from the ISA Certified Automation Professional (CAP) certification program. ISA CAP certification provides a non-biased, third-party, objective assessment and confirmation of an automation professional's skills. The CAP exam is focused on direction, definition, design, development/application, deployment, documentation, and support of systems, software, and equipment used in control systems, manufacturing information systems, systems integration, and operational consulting. Click this link for more information about the CAP program.

When compared to traditional barcode systems, a primary benefit of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags is:

a) low-voltage power drawn from the battery
b) faster data transmission that can be read from farther away
c) the number of software applications that can process RFID data
d) cost savings of tags
e) none of the above

RFID tags consist of silicon chips and an antenna that can transmit data to a wireless receiver. Unlike barcodes, which need to be scanned manually and read individually, RFID tags do not require line-of-sight for reading. It is possible to automatically read hundreds of tags a second within the field of a wireless reading device.

The other answers may describe secondary benefits in some cases, but each is highly dependent upon the type and performance of different manufacturers' tags, readers, and software. In general, the physical RFID tags are more expensive than other forms of ID, such as barcodes, but RFID tags can have read/write capability as well as the ability to store many pieces of data, such as location or expiration dates.

The correct answer is B, “faster data transmission that can be read from farther away.”

Reference: Nicholas Sands, P.E., CAP and Ian Verhappen, P.Eng., CAP., A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge. To read a brief Q&A with the authors, plus download a free 116-page excerpt from the book, click this link.

About the Editor
Joel Don is the community manager for ISA and is an independent content marketing, social media and public relations consultant. Prior to his work in marketing and PR, Joel served as an editor for regional newspapers and national magazines throughout the U.S. He earned a master's degree from the Medill School at Northwestern University with a focus on science, engineering and biomedical marketing communications, and a bachelor of science degree from UC San Diego.

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Joel Don
Joel Don
Joel Don is an independent content marketing, social media and public relations consultant. Prior to his work in marketing and PR, Joel served as an editor for regional newspapers and national magazines throughout the U.S. He earned a master's degree from the Medill School at Northwestern University with a focus on science, engineering and biomedical marketing communications, and a bachelor of science degree from UC San Diego.

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