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What is the EPC (Electronic Product Code, 96 Bit) in UHF RFID tags?

Electronic Product Code, 96 Bit in UHF RFID Tags

The Electronic Product Code™ (EPC) is a numbering system, which works with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology and global communications networks, to track and trace goods as they move through the global supply chain. When an item carries an RFID tag embedded with an EPC number, its origins, date of production and other information can be discovered simply by scanning the RFID tag and accessing a secure remote computer database.


An EPC number is comprised of various building blocks and provides information on the EPC manager (i.e the manufacturer), the EPC object class (i.e. the product type) and a serial number. Together the blocks make up a unique identification code for an item.


Now let us look how EPC numbering works.

The EPC header is used to indicate the format of the EPC code. The header identifies the length, type, structure, version and generation of the electronic product code. For instance, the header tells the reader whether the tag has a 64-bit or a 96-bit EPC.


The EPC Manager Number is the second component of the EPC. It identifies the company that has authority over a group of products or things in the supply chain and which is responsible for managing the subsequent codes (e.g. Balluff).


The Object Class is the third component of the EPC that describes a category of things in the supply chain. It is called the object class number. The object class code length allows the company (i.e Balluff) to define up to 16 Million different products (for example a Balluff Networking Interface BNI). This number is then applied for at GS1 by the company owning the EPC Manager number. The EPC header, the EPC Manager number and the Object Class number are issued by GS1 EPC global. Each manufacturer is free to assign a Serial Number to each item manufactured. It provides a unique serial number for all items within a given class and tells exactly which product it is. (for example, Balluff DeviceNet Interface BNI DNT-305-000-Z005).



Learn more about Balluff RFID system