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6 Reasons Why Your RFID Tag Stopped Working

rfid tag stopped working

RFID technology is transmitted through radio waves, enabling one to identify almost any object wirelessly using collected data. The technology is being applied endlessly in any industry including retail, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, and more. However, for an RFID system to work, various components work together that are necessary for the technology to work including RFID antennas, cables, readers, and tags. Together they form an effective RFID system. Conversely, the tag and the reader are codependent. Therefore, what are the reasons for an RFID tag to stop working?

1) Static electricity

The RFID technology remotely stores and retrieves data using RFID tags. An RFID tag can be attached to a product, as it’s a small object such as an adhesive sticker. The tags contain antennae that enable them to receive and respond to radio-frequencies queries from an RFID transceiver. However, static electricity can damage the microchip contained in an RFID tag.

2) Bending the tag

If the tag is placed on a flexible product that causes it to bend to the point that its antenna separates from the chip, this will cause the tag to stop functioning.

3) High heat

High heat can melt the solder connecting the antenna to the chip, therefore, damaging an RFID tag. Solder typically melts at 361℉. You may require special tags that are designed to withstand higher temperatures if your transponders are subject to higher temperatures.

4) Moisture and washing

If the product onto which the tag is attached becomes wet, the water could detune the tag and absorb radio frequency energy. The moisture absorbed in the tag structure causes a temporary reduction in the tag read range. This could make it difficult to read the tag.
With a conductive thread, antennas can be seamlessly integrated into clothing by means of embroidery. Wearable antennas are exposed to various environmental conditions. The moisture absorbed in the tag structure can cause a temporary reduction in the tag read range. However, repeated washing of the tag results in permanent damage.

5) Banging products which tags have been placed on

The chip embedded in the tag could become crushed if tags are placed on products that bang into one another during shipping, rendering the tag inoperable.

6) High humidity and high temperature

Environmental stresses can affect the tag antenna impedance, radiation, and losses characteristics due to their impact on the paper substrate and ink film. High temperature and high humidity combined severely affect tag performance. This is because the backscattered power decreased, threshold power increased, and the read range was shortened. However, it is important to consider carefully using tags in combined high-temperature and high humidity conditions.


There is very little that could cause an RFID tag to stop working especially if the tag has been applied properly and read successfully. With an active system, failure to read tags is rarely an issue because tags broadcast their signal. Shadowing of tags if they are lined up one behind another can prevent other tags from being read because the first tag captures the reader’s energy but the tags behind it don’t.


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