I have been analysing our brand new RFID self-check machine that we are planning to install at our latest library to be RFID’d. It is quite interesting how the different vendors program their RFID machines to work. I know that we have some say on what screens come up and in what order, but some of the vendors offer more options than that.

We have used 3 RFID companies in our libraries. Checkpoint were our original RFID vendor, we then moved to 3M and we now use both 3M and FE Technologies. It is funny, FE are a relative newcomer to the RFID world and, probably because of this, are more than happy to alter things for us. 3M, not so much. They have a huge market share so don’t really see any point in changing software that works for the masses, I understand their outlook actually, why change something that works?

With the FE RFID self-check machines we have near total control over the interface. Each page of the sequence is an html page with javascript buttons. We can add buttons and remove them, totally revamp the interface if we want and they even have an option so we can translate everything – pages, RFID popups, even the messages coming through the SIP connector. Quite powerful actually.

Even so, there are some things with FE’s self-check that are irritating. What will be good though is their responsiveness. We’re only just starting our look into altering the interface though so I don’t know if they’ll be as quick to make changes as we’d like, but here’s hoping!

RFID self-check machines

2 thoughts on “RFID self-check machines

  • February 22, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    If you really want to be impressed with the power of the self-check machines and the service you will get, check out: http://www.LATcorp.com

    Plus, take a look at: http://www.allCIRC.com – a product that will blow your mind when it comes to libraries and CD/DVD security/management.

    3M – you have no chance 🙂

  • February 23, 2009 at 1:46 am


    Thanks for the comment.

    I had a look at the CD/DVD ‘vault’ and am a little confused. From the looks of it, it is an all-in-one unit that stores the discs from all of our DVDs. This indicates to me that all people who wanted to borrow a DVD would have to go to the one unit. We have 3 RFID self-borrow machines at one of our libraries and they still manage to have queues, I don’t know if that would work for us.

    Also, I would have some concerns about how it would work with self-returns. If it allowed the person returning the item to ‘post’ the disc back into the machine I would be highly impressed.

    Looks interesting though.

    FE Tech have provided us with unlocking machines that detect the ‘secure’ digit of the RFID tag. ie if something is secure then it hasn’t been borrowed and cannot be unlocked. If it is unsecure, the machine will allow it to be unlocked. This ties in to our RFID machines and will only be activated for items that have been borrowed to that patron (I think).

    They are also working on an enhancement to their gates which will detect:
    a) Any secure items (as these are being taken out of the library without being loaned)
    b) Any unsecure items that are still locked (as these have been loaned but are not open cases)

    If it detects either of the two above, it will do some kind of noise, a different noise depending on which one.

    It’s interesting some of the stuff that vendors are coming up with.

    That being said, 3M still have a large portion of the RFID market here and it is sometimes hard to shake such things.



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