Commentary to the technical terms and technical backgrounds

This is an overview of used terms and expertise of AutoID subjects. Core issue about barcode,

RFID and others are explained clearly and coherent.

RFID (radio-frequency identification)


RFID: General

RFID: Dreams of the future or reality?
The truth is that RFID transponder already count to our daily use for over 10 years. 

Every modern vehicle has a RFID transponder in the car keys, the so called immobilizer. All modern time capturing devices up to skiing pass cards or soccer tickets work with RFID technology. All animals in zoos worldwide as well as most cows and pigs in barns have a RFID CHIP – the electronic button in the ear, in the stomach or under the skin. Especially “trendsetting” by club visitors in Spain are implanted RFID transponder in their arms for the VIP access without any contact. Every weekend a million RFID transponder fly in the air on the claws of 90% of all carrier pigeons worldwide and nobody talks about it. RFID is reality!

RFID: Transponder

The description of  transponder results out of the English word combination transfer and respond.

How does a RFID transponder work?
For example flight control: the inverted transponder in the airplane reflect the signals which are radiated from the radar devices on the ground by encrypting them with its own encoding and discloses its identity to the ground station.

RFID: Types of transponder

In the area of the contactless identification you subdivide RFID transponder in two types: passive RFID transponder and active RFID transponder.

Passive RFID transponder do not need an own power supply, the receive their power supply from the high frequency field of the reading device through induction. In this case there are a bunch of advantages like complete freedom of maintenance therefore high endurance and low dimension.  

Passive RFID transponder: they exists out of a silicon chip and another antenna. The same antenna is responsible for the data exchange between the reading device and the RFID transponder. There is no need for an own power supply which results in low dimensions and allows the assembly of passive RFID transponder in firm “cases”. Therefore objects or people can be equipped fast and uncomplicated with an electronic legible data medium. Common structure for RFID transponder tags are plastic cards, token coin shapes, key chains, glass tubes or bracelets. The possibility to capture machine-readable data of people or objects without any contact opens many new areas of application and eases the process of many industrial application. One of the special possibilities of rational capturing results in the special ability of reading a large amount of RFID transponders at once. The bulk detection makes it possible to capture a complete range of goods within a few seconds.

Active RFID Transponder: to enlarge the reading range the RFID transponder needs more energy, which it cannot get via antenna power exchange due to the existing restriction of the sending strength. That is where the RFID transponder gets a battery attached, which gives it the necessary sending power.

RFID transponder can be equipped with storage, serving as an external data storage, next to the branded unique serial number. This data base allows to store information without any connection of the device to a computer and retrieve them any time.

RFID: Frequency area

Apart from the type of power supply RFID transponder also differ in the frequency range in which they work. Here one distinguishes between two main areas: HF (High Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High Frequency).

UHF – Ultra – High - Frequency
The RFID transponder systems residing in the UHF frequency area, in Germany 869 MHz, are used specially in the retail area and are delighted by the raising demand. The advantages are particularly in the larger range and the high data rate. The metal compatibility has a postive impact on the system thanks to the reflection. Disadvantages are the incompatibility with water as well as the more complicated chip structure and the stronger activity variability.

HF – High – Frequency
The frequency area integrated in the HF transponders is 13, 56MHz. These RFID transponders are particularly used in labels as deposits, because its coil needs only a few  turns which requires a flat structure. The ruggedness and fast data transmission of such RFID transponder as well as the simple manufacture justify the widespread application in the logistic area. Supported by their bulk capability which enables them to capture several hundered RFID transponder almost simultaneously, they are strongly applied in overpacks or plastic cards. The incompatibility of the direct contact of metallic surfaces can be fixed by seperating both with a ferritin layer.


The tag is an identification brand on the basis of RFID (radio frequency identification). Sometimes the RFID tag is being equalized with the RFID transponder.

RFID: Middleware

The RFID middleware is a software which connects the hardware (read / write unit) and the systems of business process management (ERP systems, WMS). The middleware controlls the incoming RFID data to prevent a data overload. An RFID middleware consists of three segments:

RFID middleware communication: connection of the systems involved 
RFID middleware processing: processing of the data
RFID middleware database: storaging and providing the data

RFID: Bulk detection

This is the simultanously detection of several RFID transponder by the RFID reading device. Due to the annoyance of  collisons, RFID transponder are not being captured exactly at the same time, but very quickly one after the other so that no detraction of collisions arise.

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What's a Barcode?

The Barcode is the most common medium to automate, if it is at the store cashier or in the logistic flow. The 26th of June 1974 counts as the birthdate of the barcode. On that day the barcode was used for the very first time in a supermarket in Ohio. Reading a package of Wrigleys chewing gum.

Barcode: Reading barcodes

The barcode contents different width bars and gaps. Using light sending elements like laser light or light of an illuminating diode emblaze the barcodes or rather the bar elements of the barcodes. A light sensitive sensor which only recognizes the light beam (wavelength) of the sending elements continuously bounds over the bars of the barcodes. The sensor of the barcode scanner gathers the reflecting light of the subsoil. If the underground is black for example the reflection is less than it would be with a white gap. The sensor of the barcode scanner does not gather the light continuously but rather in high clock frequency whereas a counting and the legalities which are given for different barcode norms, the barcode scanner together with the reading unit and the evaluating processor unit (decoder) recognizes the barcode and describes the different formats like ASCII or keyboard simulations.  

Barcode: Laser

When barcode scanner are equipped with a laser-optic then the evaluation is extremly accurate because of the exact controllability of the laser beam. The extremly bundeled light of a laser diode is been deflected by a complex system of mirrows. The reflection of laser light on the substrate is then resumed with a light sensor, and evaluated by the decoder decoder of the barcode scanner.

Barcode: Imager modules

Barcode data capturing devices can be equipped with an image module instead of a 1D laser engine.The barcode imager allow larger application areas. Unlike scanners which capture barcodes  with laser technology, the PANMOBIL devices, with their Imager modules, take a picture of the codes. Compared to laser scanners an even more reliable data detection is possible, the advantage is to be able to capture 1D as well as 2D barocdes like DataMatrix-Codes, which apply by ordering from paper catalogues.

Barcode: Wand

Wands are the most fundamental barcode scanner. Like a pen looking barcode scanner holds on its top a light-transmitting and light-receiving diode. The transmitted light is sent with a high clock rate. When the light touches a reflective substrate, such as the white gap of an barcode, the light will be reflected and sensed by the receiving diode again. Since the light pulses and the pin is guided by the user's hand continuously over the barcode, the barcode decoder connected to the barcode scanner can now carry out the evaluation of the barcode based on the frequency and combination of the receiving light pulses.

Barcode: CCG/GS1

The organization GS1 formerly CCG (Office for Coordination) manages the allocation of universal barcode numbering as the EAN code. In the course of fractured RFID era GS1 is now also responsible for the regulation and allocation of enforcing the RFID IPC code.

Barcode: Label printer

Barcode label printer print the barcodes. The printed barcode label will be attached on the identifiying product. With the help of the barcode an the barcode scanner the products can be identified clearly in the end. Various manufacturers offer a wide variety of bar code label printers.

Barcode: CCD – Charged Couple Devices

CCDs are known from all modern video cameras and fax machines. They are the light-sensitive sensors, which convert the incident light into the d-point information. Barcode readers are used the same way as fax machines of line CCD´s. The conditions of the light-reflecting surface of the barcode are evaluated subsequently in the decoder of the reading device.

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AutoID: General

Automatic Identification = Automatic data capturing
Collective term for all types of automatic recognition of information like barcode readers, magnetic card readers, smart card transponder, OCR plain text, etc. Dedicated manufacturer of this technology are united in the global federation AIM.


The worldwide governing body of the manufacturer of AutoID products is the AIM Global. The association of "Automatic Identification Manufactor" is an association of leading companies, which deal with automatic data capture. Here global standards and regulations are developed and dealt with the introduction and implementation of new technologies. The AutoID Association is divided worldwide in continental and country-led sub-groups. PANMOBIL is a member of AIM and a founding member of the AIM-D.

AutoID: Chip card

The chip card unites the combination of compact design and complex information content. The setup is simple. Among the golden contacts conceals a more or less complex electronics. In the simplest case there is only one memory for debiting permissions like phone units. However, this application will not work without intelligence, because testing processes have to be followed and calculated. The most expensive alternative is basically a computer in pocket size, here multiprocessor system apply to increase the access garanty, just think of the time-consuming method of access permissions in high security areas or decryption or encryption of secret documents. In terms of easier handling the card with the integrated transponder is on the rise in the security environment. A combination of contact chip and transponder chip is also in use.

AutoID: Magnetic card

On plastic cards, usually made of PVC with a magnetic strip like tape / cassette recorder information are stored. The recording is usually done on three tracks, the first alphanumeric and the other two tracks are purely numerical. Track one and two are used in the area of credit cards, using your name saying goodbye (depending on the amount of tip). Track two and three are the bank tracks (this is only about the finances not the customer). In the industrial environment the so called HighCo cards are used, whose magnetic interference suggestibility is not as great.

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