Report Evaluates RFID Use on Metal

July 1, 2008
DULLES, Va.ODIN Technologies, a company that deploys RFID systems, released what it calls the industrys first scientific evaluation of passive RFID tags

DULLES, Va.—ODIN Technologies, a company that deploys RFID systems, released what it calls the industry’s first scientific evaluation of passive RFID tags designed to work on metal objects.

The Metal Mount RFID Tag Benchmark report dispels the myths that RFID does not work on metal and that only one or two tags will work reliably on metal objects, according to the company. Physicists and engineers from seven passive RFID tag vendors have been steadily improving performance on and around metal surfaces, says ODIN.

The new report is the 11th installment of ODIN’s RFID Benchmark series that evaluates RFID equipment performance based on physics. The study compares 17 UHF RFID tags designed specifically for use on metal.

Six scientific tests were conducted on each of the 17 tags evaluated. The tests include:
• Tag sensitivity: the minimum RF power each tag requires to operate;
• Power effectiveness: tag performance results from one milli-watt to one watt;
• Orientation sensitivity: tag performance over multiple power levels and orientations;
• Distance: how well tags are read at distances ranging from one to 17 feet;
• Metal proximity: tag read performance when placed next to other metal surfaces;
• Material dependency: metal mount tag performance when affixed to other materials.

“Just choosing a tag that can read on an item when it is sitting alone on a test table is insufficient,” according to ODIN. “Tags will be read in operational settings where other metal surfaces, such as other assets, shelves, server racks, cubicles and material handling equipment will be present and potentially inhibit successful tag reads.”

The vendors and tags evaluated in the benchmark include:
• Avery Dennison: AD-900, AD-902, AD-908;
• Confidex: Halo, Ironside, Steelwave;
• Emerson & Cummings: Ecopad;
• Intermec: Large Rigid, Small Rigid;
• Omni-ID: Flex, Micro, Mini;
• Sontec: C0101, P01016BT;
• TROI: MMT-3001, MMT-3004, PC-102.

"While the metal mount tag performance has improved substantially over the past two years, the benchmark reveals some vendors clearly outperform their peers," says Patrick J. Sweeney II, founder of ODIN. “RFID use is developing more rapidly than ever before with new use-cases coming of age in months rather than years. Many companies are now adopting RFID and trying to tag challenging items, such as blade servers, laptops, critical spare parts and tools for manufacturing. A mistake in tag selection can compromise the entire solution.”

ODIN has released a free, redacted version of the report, available at

The full report can be purchased at