What Makes RFID Systems Industrial Strength
The retail environments where products are sold look nothing like the industrial environments where they are produced (think of the difference between a new car dealership and an automotive manufacturing plant). Yet the same RFID products developed for retail stores and supply chain operations are heavily marketed to manufacturers for production operations. These products may have different housings or IP ratings than their general-purpose cousins and may work fine in warehouses, but that does not necessarily qualify them as industrial grade. Production environments often have their own ruggedness, performance and connectivity requirements that only purpose-built industrial equipment can reliably satisfy. For example, general-purpose RFID equipment may have the physical Ethernet port needed to connect to a PLC, but will not support EtherNet/IP, Profibus or other industrial protocols that run PLCs and other industrial automation equipment. The reader will need to be supported with additional protocol conversion, which slows system performance and adds to implementation time and expense.