When it comes to labeling parts used in the aerospace industry, radio frequency identification, or RFID, offers many advantages as compared to other methods. As the popularity of RFID grows for labeling aircraft parts, different types of RFID tags have been developed. High memory tags can store a wide range of information about a part, including its ATA Spec 2000 RFID Birth Record — which may comprise the component’s manufacturer, when it was made, part number and serial number — as well as its maintenance history. In some cases, a mechanic can even write notes onto the tag after servicing the part.
But for many parts, such a detailed record is not necessary. Life vests and oxygen generators are two examples. Buying high-memory tags for these parts, which are present in large numbers, quickly becomes expensive. And yet aerospace companies don’t want to forego the convenience of RFID tags for tracking these components.
A more practical and affordable option is RFID low memory tags. These tags are ideal when storing a part’s ATA Spec 2000 RFID Birth Record is mainly what’s needed. The low memory tags in many cases have been designed specifically to be compatible with ATA’s Spec 2000 low-memory tag requirements. The availability of low memory tags greatly increases the number of aircraft parts that can be cost effectively tagged.
But when it comes to RFID low memory tags, how much memory is enough? Aerospace companies must meet standards for Electronic Product Code (EPC) numbers, which can be as large as 422 bits. That can use up quite a bit of memory in a 1-kilobit tag. And some of the memory in the low-memory chips will be consumed by housekeeping functions such as password protection. Potential updates to tagging requirements might also add to the memory needed on low memory tags.