How Passive RFID Temperature Sensors Work

May 4, 2021
RFID Temperature Sensors

Adding to our series of posts around Passive Sensors and Passive Moisture Sensors, in this article we take a look at another popular type of passive RFID sensor, the Passive RFID Temperature Sensor.

Metalcraft knows the effect of extreme temperatures on business processes and materials. For years, we’ve produced a range of durable RFID tags and labels made to withstand hot and cold.  

Today, we have new technology – passive RFID temperature sensors – to help you measure temperature in new and powerful ways.

Monitoring changing temperature

Temperature sensing has been used for some time across a range of materials and environments, especially in warehouses, greenhouses, laboratories, factories and other industrial uses. However, traditional sensor technologies suffer design challenges and high installation or replacement costs.

Advantages of RFID passive sensor temperature tags

Metalcraft’s new passive temperature sensing tags hold tremendous advantage over existing temperature sensors, working where active or semi-passive RFID sensors are not practical.

Metalcraft is opening a new frontier, deploying and sensing where existing technology cannot go. Metalcraft’s temperature sensing tags are much smaller, thinner and more flexible than battery-powered sensors, and they are much more cost efficient than active wireless sensing tags. In fact, their low cost makes them useful for disposable and high-volume applications.

RFID passive sensors also have advantages over other types of wireless sensing technologies. Using RFID passive sensors, readers can read many RFID tags with one reader lowering infrastructure and hardware maintenance costs. RFID sensors also can transmit data with error correction codes helping ensure accurate data. 

Putting more RFID temperature sensor tags in more places will bring a lot more quality data to materials management and quality control in agriculture, healthcare, industrial, manufacturing and new Internet of Things (IoT) markets.

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How do passive RFID temperature sensors detect temperature?

Passive temperature sensors, utilizing the RFMicron S3 chip, identify temperature based off of circuit theory and the ability of temperature to change the voltage across a diode. This affect can make a portion of the chip a temperature sensor.  Since the temperature sensor tags return simple 12 -bit code based upon what it senses, and not an actual unit of measurement, these values can be used to correlate the temperature on almost any object.  The passive sensor’s antenna design and adjustable environmental tuning also provide a highly customizable sensing solution for almost any application.

Metalcraft makes durable, flexible passive temperature sensor tags that work using standard UHF frequencies (915/868 MHz).  These tags can be affixed or embedded into most materials and have an average read range of 15-22 feet.  Impedance changes are wirelessly communicated to standard EPC Gen 2 readers and interpreted with a software application.  The tags function in a range between -40°C to +85 °C,  covering operating conditions for most equipment and environments.

RFID temperature sensor applications

The small form factor and low cost of passive RFID temperature tags open a wide range of manufacturing, retail, pharmaceutical and industrial uses, among others. Notably, passive temperature sensors reduce the cost of telemetry – deploying many sensors for real-time temperature mapping across assets and within a facility.

In all applications, the data can be logged and alarms set when temperatures fall outside a specified range. The precision and placement of the RFID sensor tags on a range of materials generates quality data at unprecedented scale.

For industrial and manufacturing environments, predictive maintenance gets easier with passive RFID sensors monitoring mechanical plant and equipment temperatures. Temperature monitoring protects motors, bearings and other parts embedded in industrial equipment or exposed to variable electrical systems. Passive sensing can support cooling equipment (HVAC) efficiency, too.

For hospitals, a wearable, disposable sensor tag can travel with the patient, monitoring and recording temperature across a campus.

For warehousing and data centers, passive RFID supports monitoring environmental and bulk material temperatures, as well as data center chiller and cooling monitoring.

For cold chain applications, RFID temperature tags can live in trucks, refrigerators or thermal bags, supporting long term monitoring of food and medicine. The combination of geolocation and temperature data is especially powerful in alerting for variances and proving that routes and allowed temperatures were observed.

For agriculture, passive temperature sensors can be combined with passive moisture sensors in greenhouses and other green spaces to monitor and regulate a growing environment. Livestock temperature can be monitored to manage breeding stock and separate sick animals from the herd.

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Metalcraft delivers passive temperature sensing

Passive RFID temperature tags can serve the existing sensor markets at much lower cost and create opportunity for new market applications – new ways to access quality-related data using large numbers of wireless, maintenance-free sensors.

Investing in passive RFID sensor tags creates powerful new efficiency and competitive advantage; it’s going to be easier to provide data that supports labs, groceries, factories and much more. This new class of battery-free and maintenance-free wireless sensor tag significantly lowers the cost of ownership.

As you consider the value of wireless sensing for your business, know that Metalcraft is ready with affordable, durable RFID temperature tags. We encourage you to contact a Metalcraft ID Specialist at 800-437-5283 to explore this new technology today.

RFID temperature sensor

Colynn Black, Metalcraft's RFID Business Development Director spacer

About the Author: Colynn Black
Colynn is Metalcraft's RFID Business Development Director. He started his Metalcraft journey as an RFID Technician, moving onto being an RFID Lead/Technician, an RFID Engineer and then his current role. He enjoys being able to utilize his technical skills and experiences to aid Metalcraft in acquiring new partnerships and customers. He's married to his wife, Allie and he has two children named Cruze and Ella. He enjoys being outside, working with his hands to build things, working on his car/boat, golfing, ice fishing, reading and wrestling with his son. 



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