March/April 2014
Certification Review

ISA Certified Automation Professional (CAP) Program

CAP logo

Certified Automation Professionals (CAPs) are responsible for the direction, design, and deployment of systems and equipment for manufacturing and control systems.


CAP question
When compared to traditional bar-code systems, a primary benefit of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags is:

  1. low-voltage power drawn from the battery.
  2. faster data transmission that can be read from farther away.
  3. the number of software applications that can process RFID data.
  4. cost savings of tags.

CAP Answer

The correct answer is B, “faster data transmission that can be read from farther away.”

RFID tags consist of silicon chips and an antenna that can transmit data to a wireless receiver. Unlike bar codes, which need to be scanned manually and read individually, RFID tags do not require line-of-sight for reading. It is possible to automatically read hundreds of tags a second within the field of a wireless reading device.

The other answers may describe secondary benefits in some cases, but each is highly dependent upon the type and performance of different manufacturers' tags, readers, and software. In general, the physical RFID tags are more expensive than other forms of ID, such as bar codes, but RFID tags can have read/write capability as well as the ability to store many pieces of data, such as location or expiration dates.

Reference: Trevathan, Vernon L., A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge, Second Edition, ISA, 2006.