High-performing RAIN-enabled checkout bin: Choose the Right Antenna


Recently, the RAIN RFID Alliance announced that IC shipments for RAIN tags have surpassed 44.8 billion, exceeding VDC forecasts. Approximately 74% of these tags are utilized in the apparel sector. This highlights the significant adoption of RFID technology in the retail industry, which enhances operational efficiency, inventory management, and the overall shopping experience for customers.  

As antenna experts the most sought solutions we encounter is the RAIN RFID-enabled check-out bin – a fully automated PoS solution. The selection of the correct antenna is crucial to achieving two primary objectives: 

  1. Ensuring 100% read accuracy across a variety of items, materials and orientations. 

  1. Preventing RF spillage outside the checkout bin.

In order to optimize performance, we conducted comprehensive testing and analysis of various antenna configurations for the point-of-sale (PoS) checkout bin. Our expertise in the RFID field supports the findings presented here.  

 

POS Checkout Bin: Recommended Antenna Configuration

In our testing, we constructed a mock checkout bin measuring 37 x 37 x 36 cm (L x W x H) and prepared three sets of tagged items covering various item materials and tags to assess low, medium, and high tag densities. 

The tests were conducted using two different 4-port readers and associated software: Zebra FX9600 and Impinj R700.  

More details about the set items, tags, and readers can be found in the Appendix

A grey box with legs

Description automatically generated

 

Premium Solution: For High Tag Density And Mixed Materials

This configuration reliably reads a high number of mixed retail items, including liquids and metal objects, as they enter and exit the read zone. The field is contained, with a 5-10cm keep out distance horizontally around the box to eliminate stray reads. 

Antenna

Quantity

Position

Power**

RSSI

A7030C

1

base

16 dBm

max. sensitivity

A1130NF

3

sides

18 dBm

max. sensitivity

**Recommended power settings are applicable for FX9600 and R700 

A7030C
The A703C is a circularly polarized antenna providing the main mid-high gain element, capturing tags in all orientations. 

A1130 True Near-Field
The three A1130 antennas, which are mounted on three sides of the checkout bin, are part of Times-7's True-NearField family. Leveraging the unique characteristics of our True-NearField technology, these antennas ensure accurate reading of challenging item materials often encountered in a mixed assortment of retail items, such as metallics, creams, foils, and liquids. Additionally, the surrounding antennas serve as field containment and shielding, restricting the read zone within the enclosure. Therefore, it is crucial that the three side-mounted A1130s face the aisle of the checkout area when mounted.  

 

Basic Solution: Cost-effective For Low Tag Density

This variation is the ideal solution for reading small numbers of RF-friendly items and is available at a lower cost.

Antenna

Quantity

Position

Power**

RSSI

A7030C

1

base

16 dBm

max. sensitivity

Shielding

RF reflective foil or absorbing mats

**Recommended power settings are applicable for FX9600 and R700 

The Basic Solution retains the A7030C to provide the main tag orientation agnostic reading while using shielding to contain the RF field within the bin. This also applies to a scaled longer bin utilizing the A7030C's tiling feature. 

 

 

 

Finetuning

Many Times-7 clients apply the checkout bin configuration suggested in this blog in real-world situations. However, projects and specifications vary, and this will affect the solution's RF read area, read accuracy, and unwanted reads.

When installing a new RAIN solution, we advise comprehensive testing to determine the solution’s RF read zone, read performance, and stray reads. Click here for guidance. 


Get In Touch

With these insights, you can confidently select the right antenna to build a high-performing RAIN RFID PoS checkout bin. If necessary, we can offer further support to ensure your RFID setup aligns seamlessly with your objectives. 

If you need more information on PoS checkout bin configurations or other retail deployments, please contact our team

 

 

 

 

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