Radio frequency identification (RFID) is the technology at work inside every electronic tag. What makes a superior tag is a combination of quality components and great design. Shearwell SET EID tags are always the right choice – tough, tested and trusted. (SET stands for Shearwell Electronic Tag.)
Every electronic tag contains a transponder - a microchip and a coil of copper wire as an antenna. The microchip is pre-programmed at Shearwell with a unique code that is assigned to the animal when it is tagged.
The transponder in a Shearwell SET tag is inserted into a cavity in the body of the tag. This location protects the transponder from any pressure or damage. After insertion the tag is sealed to lock the transponder in place. The EID number is then laser printed on the outside of the tag.
The transponder in a button tag is built inside the female part. The antenna circles the centre hub and is over-moulded with plastic to protect it from moisture and damage.
An ear tag is designed to survive some harsh treatment; it gets hot, cold, wet, frozen, bitten, pulled, scraped and squeezed - whatever the ear endures the tag must too.
The challenge is to keep the electronics safe, not just from the weather and animals but from the application process itself.
A one-piece EID tag is quite a feat of engineering – the plastic must be flexible enough to bend without breaking, rigid enough to punch a hole through a sinewy old ear, tough enough to protect the electronics inside, plus small and light enough for a newborn lamb to carry.
Two-piece tags may have a spike with a metal tip, or have a harder grade of plastic in the spike than in the rest of the tag, making this design more suitable for older animals with tougher ears.
The consequences of losing a tag can be serious so it's important that tag retention is as good as possible.
Tag retention is influenced by:
The size of the puncture hole can also affect the retention rates between different kinds of tags. Loop tags such as the SET tag experience very little movement if properly positioned in the ear, and are unlikely to snag on wire, twine or net.
RFID tags have no internal power source such as a battery. Instead the microchip in the tag is energized by the radio frequency of the tag reader. The electrical current is very small but just strong enough to power up the tag to transmit the ID number stored inside.
Several factors affect the read range of an electronic tag.
There are two common technologies used - FDX and HDX - for communication between the tag reader and the transponder inside the tag. The difference is in how the microchip is energized by the reader. They are functionally equivalent and any ISO compliant reader will read both seamlessly.
Low frequency tags are used for animal identification around the world. Standards for EID are set by international committees, and all EID tags sold in the UK must conform to the standards. High frequency or ultra-high frequency tags are not currently approved for use in livestock.
We are constantly exploring new technology and its possible benefits for animal identification. Working closely with our customers, as well as statutory, commercial and industry partners, helps to drive us forward with ever better management solutions to help the livestock farmer.
This page was updated: 28/2/2017This page was updated: 18/5/2017