Presentation on IPR & RFID -

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Project 2

Feasibility of Using RFID to Facilitate
Individual Producer Responsibility For
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Presented by: Kieran Houlihan

ID Number : 10002140

Date: 15/10/13

Paper Reviewed

The paper I studied was:

“Feasibility of Using RFID to Facilitate Individual
Producer Responsibility For Waste Electrical and
Electronic Equipment”


Maurice O’Connell, Colin Fitzpatrick, Stewart Hickey,
Maria Besiou and Luk N. Van Wassenhove

What is RFID?

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology that can be used
for facilitating WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment)

In the future, reading of the serial number will allow the operator at the civic

amenity site to connect to a database such as the “EPC Discovery Services”

and to source the manufacturer of the product and access relevant information

specific to that product, such as the brand and model and can be linked to a

database that provides information on how to dismantle the product and the

location of hazardous materials.

How RFID works is that an operator working at a civic amenity site for

example scans electronic waste that have RFID tags built into the products

using an RFID reader

What is RFID?

Shown to the left is an example of

an RFID reader.

Shown to the right is an example of an RFID


Challenges in the use of RFID

A major obstacle is the nature of the storage of electronic equipment
at civic amenity centres, where equipment is stored in open
top steel
cages, with contents placed in the cage as they are returned by
consumers (as mixed WEEE) and given the random nature of the
placement in storage cages, some unreadable tags are inevitable

Equipment mixed in large amounts proves difficult to accurately read RFID tags

Challenges in the use of RFID

Metal in the surrounding environment significantly reduces readability,
especially of UHF tags

The limitation of distance range of the RFID reader and physical limitations
require that the reader be closer than 1 m to read a RFID tag on a product.

Extremes of temperature and humidity can also impede tag detection and
undermine the reliability of the system.

Tags need to be readable regardless of their orientation

Antennas on the readers detuning from their operating resonant frequency,
most likely as a result of radio frequency variations, signal strength losses
due to metal proximity, harmonic effects and signal reflection. Studies
investigating the tagging of EEE durables have also reported reflection,
absorption and detuning effects caused by metal

Challenges in the use of RFID

The price and quality of tags to be used will need to be standardized across
manufacturers in the electronics industry.

The RFID tags that are to be used in electronic equipment will need to be
standardized in order to avoid creating perverse incentives for producers to
use unreadable tags in their products thus enabling producers to evade
paying recycling fees attributed to their products.

It is estimated that by 2022, 6 million readers are anticipated to be in use,
with 86 billion tags purchased annually.

Reading reliability must be prioritized as a short term research goal,
ensuring standardized performance between tag batches as well as reader
technology variations.

The long term economic feasibility of RFID also faces challenges. IPR that
incorporates RFID will require industry agreement on the cost, technology,
and privacy and security concerns before technology infrastructure can be
rolled out.

Important Research Findings

A study conducted by the European Committee of Domestic Equipment
Manufacturers (CECED) in 2003 concluded that no tagging system is
available now or in the foreseeable future to meet the current operational
requirements for disposal and logistics of WEEE (CECED 2003). As a
result, EOL identification is more difficult at the civic amenity site.

New research from the University of Limerick has now shown that a read
rate higher than 30% can now be achieved using RFID in a harsh EOL (end
of life) waste environment

Researchers from the University of Limerick conducted field trials at the
Mungret civic amenity site on the outskirts of Limerick, where mixed WEEE
and white goods entering the site are separated before their respective
storage and loads are weighed using a weighbridge. White goods are
housed in 20

to 40
foot containers, while mixed WEEE is stored in open
top steel cages before transport to the recycling facility.

Important Research Findings

The above table lists the different tags used and the attributes associated with these tags

Important Research Findings

The handheld reader checked an inventory of 25 white goods in a 20
container with 100% accuracy, regardless of the type of metal
mount tag
used (SARC
3, SL, E&C)


3 tags exhibited the longest read distance, providing read

ranges in excess of 3 m when applied to both plastic and steel


SL tags recorded the second longest read distance (2m)when

applied to the same materials, and exhibited improved orientation
sensitivity (+90

, −90

) when compared with SARC
3 tags



The orientation sensitivity and the maximum read distance were

determined from the experiments for each specific combination of
tag type and material.

The IT asset management and SL minitags had limited read ranges
on both metal and plastic and were therefore not used for the field


The results indicate that current RFID technology can support EEE
product identification in the business to customer WEEE
management domain, given the high read rates achieved.

From a technical standpoint, RFID can contribute to the identification
of brands and therefore support a system that allocates recovery
costs to individual producers, thereby facilitating IPR, even for mixed

In the white goods WEEE category, 100% readability was
accomplished, which meets the requirements of the ideal IPR
scenario with 100% brand recognition.

scale adoption and standardization within the white goods
industry would facilitate the identification of brands for IPR following
the incorporation of Embedded UHF RFID tags.


In the case of mixed WEEE, 100% brand identification was not achieved in
the field trials. Different tags on different products were read in each
scanning sweep.

Mixed WEEE placed into steel WEEE cages in a random fashion,

leads to a vast number of possible product placement combinations

that could not be accounted for in the testing.

When tags are densely surrounded by products in an almost enclosed

environment, the antenna’s behavior is altered, reducing the power

linked to the integrated circuit on the tag, which consequently

undermines the probability of a positive readout.

Read rates achieved varied from 50% to 73%, depending on the UHF

mount tag employed and the relative positioning of the

tags within the cage.

Overall, higher read rates than in the past were obtained

The End