EAS Systems SUPER MARKET ALARM SYSTEM Anti-Theft Security Tagging Systems & Accessories

SUPER MARKET ALARM SYSTEM Anti-Theft Security Tagging Systems & Accessories


Radio frequency (RF and RFID) tags

Wireless world

Radio or wireless is a way of transmitting energy through empty space—that is, instead of using a wire cable. The energy is carried by invisible waves of electricity and magnetism that vibrate through the air at the speed of light. The basic science and the practical technology of wireless communication was developed in the second half of the 19th century. During the early 20th century, “radio” came to mean audio programs beamed through the air from giant transmitters to cumbersome electronic boxes sitting in people’s homes. When inventors found a way of sending pictures, as well as audio, television was born. Today, all kinds of things work using the same wireless technology, from digital radio and television to cellphones (mobile phones), and wireless Internet.

Radio and television involve sending radio waves in one direction only: from the transmitter at the radio or TV station to the receiver (the radio or TV set) in your home. Wireless Internet and cellphones are more sophisticated because they involve two-way communication. Your cellphone, for example, contains both a radio receiver (to pick up an incoming signal from the person you’re speaking to) and a radio transmitter (to send your voice back to the other person). Radar is another technology that uses radio waves. Planes and ships fitted with radar transmitters send out beams of radio waves and listen for echoes—reflected radio beams bouncing back off other planes and ships nearby. Anti-shoplifting devices are a little bit like radar: they beam radio waves out into a store in the hope of catching a stolen book or CD as it passes by. But how exactly do they work?

An anti-theft RFID tag built into a book label

Photo: An example of the kind of RFID tag used in book labels. It helps with automated stock control and (in some systems) might double-up as an anti-theft device. You can often see these by holding library paperbacks up to the light. This tag is a UPM Raflatac RaceTrack that can hold up to 1 kilobyte (1024 characters) of information. It operates at a relatively high radio wave frequency of 13.56 megahertz.

How RF works

Imagine your mission is to design an anti-shoplifting device using some old radio sets you found in the garage. You could build something a bit like a radar (with a combined radio transmitter and receiver), sit it by the shop doorway, and point it at people passing by. Radio waves would pass out from your transmitter, bounce off people walking past, and then reflect back to your radio receiver. The trouble is, this wouldn’t actually tell you anything useful, because everyone would reflect the radio waves in exactly the same way! You wouldn’t know whether people were shoplifting or not, because there would be no way to distinguish shoplifters from ordinary customers or people who hadn’t bought anything at all. What you’d really need would be for shoplifters to reflect radio waves in a different way to everyone else. But how?

An RFID tag concealed in a price and size label from a pair of shoes

Photo: Look closely at this price and size label from a pair of shoes and you’ll see it says “RFID” on the bottom. Peel it off, turn it over, and you’ll find the tell-tale antenna pattern on the back.

Anti-shoplifting devices have cracked this problem. As well as having a transmitter and receiver at the doorway, every item in the store contains a concealed RF “tag”. In bookstores and libraries, you’ll find very discreet “soft tags,” stuck to one of the inside pages. In record stores, the plastic shrink-wrap may have an RF tag stuck onto it, or CDs may be locked into large plastic cases with RF tags built into them, which can be removed only be a special tool at the checkout. In clothes stores, there is typically a “hard tag” (a chunky, round, white plastic tag) bolted onto each item with a sharp metal spike (sometimes the tag has ink inside it so it spills all over you and spoils the item you’re trying to steal if you attempt to remove it). Some of these tags are cleverly concealed so you can’t spot them. Others are deliberately very obvious and easy to see—so they deter you from stealing. The gates on the doorway (and the frequent alarms) are another very visible deterrent to shoplifters.

If you walk through the doorway without paying for something, the radio waves from the transmitter (hidden in on one of the door gates) are picked up by the coiled metal antenna in the label. This generates a tiny electrical current that makes the label transmit a new radio signal of its own at a very specific frequency. The receiver (hidden in the other door gate) picks up the radio signal that the tag transmits and sounds the alarm. Why doesn’t the alarm sound when you pay for something? You may have noticed that the checkout assistant passes your item over or through a deactivating device (sometimes it’s incorporated into the ordinary barcode scanning mechanism, and sometimes it’s completely separate). This destroys or deactivates the electronic components in the RF label so they no longer pick up or transmit a signal when you walk through the gates—and the alarm does not sound.

What’s the difference between RF and RFID tags?

It’s all a bit more complex than I’ve made it sound so far because there are, in fact, two quite different types of RF tags and they work in a slightly different way. Often the term “RFID” is loosely used to describe both, but there’s a big difference between them: RF tags all send the same, simple signal and simply tell the receiver that something is present; RFID tags send more complex signals that uniquely identify whatever they’re attached to.

RF tags

These are the simplest RF tags and they’re used mainly in what’s called electronic article surveillance (EAS)—the anti-shoplifting technique I’ve described above. All the tags are exactly the same and none of them identify the articles to which they’re attached. So in a store, RF tags set off the alarm when you try to steal something, but the alarm mechanism doesn’t know what you’re stealing, only that you’re stealing something: there’s no way of telling any one item from any another.

One of the most popular RF technologies is called acousto-magnetic (AM). A pulsed beam of radio waves from the transmitter strikes the tag, making it give off a precise frequency radio signal. The receiver picks up the signal, verifies that it’s at the correct frequency, and then sets off the alarm. One big advantage of AM tags is that they can be scanned at quite a distance and at speed, making them popular in antitheft systems (which have only seconds to pick up a signal from someone walking or running through a shop doorway).

RF tags are sometimes known as transponders or chipless RFID tags.

RFID tags

These are more advanced and differ from simple RF tags in that they uniquely identify the article to which they’ve been attached: the radio signal that zaps from the article to the receiver contains a digitally encoded identifier. That’s how self-checkout machines in libraries work: they beam radio waves into the RFID tag in the back of the book, receive the radio signal back from the book, and decode this to figure out a digital code that uniquely identifies which book you want to check out. A computer attached to the scanner does the rest (so in a library, the self-checkout machine communicates with the library’s computer to update the main database whenever you check out or return a book). Unlike RF tags, RFID tags tend to work over much shorter distances. Some actually have to be held right next to a reader device, while others operate at a distance of 10cm (4 inches) or less.

Simple RFID tags are described as passive. Instead of containing batteries, they work entirely by responding to the incoming radio waves from the scanner or transmitter. There is just enough energy in those radio waves to activate the RFID chip. Passive tags typically send and receive signals only a few centimeters, but not much more. An alternative form of RFID technology, known as active tags, contain more advanced chips and tiny batteries to power them. They can send and receive signals over much greater distances.

An RFID tag held in someone's hand

Photo: Passive RFID: You can see the metal tracks of the antenna in this RFID tag quite clearly. This is the sort of tag used in library self-checkout systems.

Passive RFID tags contain just three components:

  • The antenna—catches incoming radio waves and sends them back out again.
  • The chip—generates a unique identifier code for the particular tag.
  • The substrate—the backing material (typically paper or plastic) to which the antenna and chip are fixed.

As you can see from this photo, most of the space in an RFID tag is occupied by the antenna: the oval-shaped tracks around the edge. The antenna needs to be this big both to pick up radio waves from the transmitter and (because there are no batteries) to convert them into energy to power the chip. The chip itself is tiny—sometimes as small as the point of a pencil. Anti-shoplifting RF tags are often smaller and simpler than this: instead of needing a chip to generate a unique identifier code, all they have to do is receive the incoming radio waves and retransmit the same electromagnetic energy at a different frequency.

How EAS anti-shoplifting systems work

Artwork showing how an active RFID chip is detected as a stolen book moves through the shop door gates

Picture a shoplifter trying to steal a book from a store. What he doesn’t realize is that the store’s using electronic article surveillance (EAS): the book has an RF tag stuck just inside the back cover. Here’s the sequence of steps that triggers the alarm:

  1. The gate on one side of the doorway contains a radio transmitter. This constantly beams out radio waves to the gate on the opposite side of the doorway, which contains a radio receiver.
  2. A shoplifter walks through the doorway carrying a stolen book.
  3. The book contains a hidden RF tag stuck to a label inside, which picks up the radio waves.
  4. Once activated, the RF tag transmits a radio wave of its own at a very precise frequency.
  5. The receiver gate picks up the radio waves and identifies their frequency.
  6. If the frequency is correct, the gate figures out that a stolen item is moving through and sounds the alarm.

Other uses for RF tags

Military poster advertising RFID technology

Photo: The US military is now using RFID tags to track its huge reserves of equipment. Here a military technologist is holding up some examples of RFID tags in front of a poster advertising the benefits of the technology. Photo by Vicky Falcon courtesy of US Navy.

You can’t blame stores for wanting to install systems like this—especially when you hear that around 10 percent of all “shoppers” commit theft. But stopping shoplifters is only one of the things for which we can use RF technology—especially RFID technology, which is much more sophisticated.

Some cities are already using active RFID tags embedded in car windshields to collect tolls automatically on bridges or highways as people drive by. This saves drivers having to slow down, stop, or fumble for the right change. Smartcards used on buses, subways (the underground or metro), and other forms of public transportation also contain RFID chips. As you touch your smart card on the reader, the card automatically debits your account with the cost of the journey. Smartcards fall into two categories known as contact and contactless according to whether you have to hold your card to the reader or a short distance away (and that depends on the type of RFID technology it’s using). While some contactless credit and debit cards use RFID, others use a rival technology called near-field communication (NFC), which is briefly explained in the box below.

Libraries make extensive use of RF and RFID: RF tags to secure their stock and RFID tags to make it possible for people to use self-service checkout machines. When you check books in or out of a library using one of those machines, you’ve probably wondered how it knows which book you’re borrowing without you having to scan a barcode. The answer is that there is an RFID chip stuck inside the book’s cover. When you place your book on the glass plate, the machine reads the book’s details instantly and automatically by sending a radio signal to the chip. Since radio waves pass straight through cardboard and paper, you don’t even have to open up the book!

RFID tags are likely to become even more popular in the future. Soon, you might have an RFID chip embedded in your passport to speed your passage through ports and airports. An RFID chip implanted under your skin might save your life in an accident by transmitting your medical information to an emergency team. Doctors would simply wave a reader over your hand (or wherever the chip was implanted) to gain immediate access to your medical records. Systems like this obviously raise huge concerns about people’s privacy. Implanted identity chips would mark the arrival of the Big Brother state, capable of monitoring everything we do and everywhere we go. Although there might be enormous benefits, most people would need a great of persuading to accept such a drastic invasion of their privacy!

NFC versus RFID

Just when you’re getting used to one technology, something new comes along instead! RFID has been around for years and, as its name suggests, it’s generally been focused on identifying things (and people) using radio waves. But it was never really designed for the 21st-century world where people need to identify or connect to things in a very ad-hoc way, often by going online to authenticate data or make payments. And anyway, now most of us carry smartphones, why should we also need a bunch of RFID smartcards that we have to keep charging up with credit? Why not just carry one device that does everything using a set of secure apps and connects to the Internet whenever it needs to?

For this, we have near-field communication (NFC), which allows smartphones (or other devices) with embedded chips to read, write, and connect to other nearby NFC devices (card readers on buses or access turnstiles at sports stadiums, for example). Using 13.56 megahertz-frequency radio waves over distances of 10cm (4in) or less, it’s a bit like a cross between RFID and Bluetooth “pairing” (the way two nearby Bluetooth devices connect together).

NFC-enabled notification icon on an LG smartphone

Screenshot: Android Pay works using NFC. When NFC is enabled on an Android phone, you see a little “N” icon appear at the top of the screen alongside things like the battery and signal status. You can switch off NFC completely to make your phone more secure. On my LG phone, I do this under Settings→ Networks→ Share&Connect→ NFC.

So far, the best-known use of NFC is in contactless smartphone payment systems like Android Pay, but there are likely to be many more applications in future, from smart house keys (where you unlock your door with a phone app) and public transportation passes to electronic rock concert tickets and ATM cards. One of the advantages of NFC over RFID is that it can be used much more intelligently by automated devices like smartphones to do a whole range of different things more or less automatically. Sony, for example, has fitted NFC chips into many of its new products so they can talk to one another and swap data more easily. That makes it easier to upload photos from your digital camera to social media or to view photos from your camera on your TV. Just as NFC brings more convenience, so it brings extra problems of security and privacy. What if other people’s NFC devices start reading data from the smartphone in your pocket when you’re standing nearby? What about malware (viruses and other malignant code) passing into your smartphone from someone else’s? Ah well, it seems every new technology has to bring drawbacks as well as benefits!

How many times have you walked through a store’s doors and—to your extreme embarrassment—set off the anti-theft alarm? It’s surprisingly easy to do, even when you’ve paid for your item and had it “deactivated” at the checkout. Anti-shoplifting alarms use a technology called RF (radio-frequency), while a similar (but more advanced) technology called RFID (radio-frequency identification) has many other uses, from tracking pets and public library stocktaking to collecting fares from bus passengers. Let’s take a closer look at this cunning technology and find out how it works!

We offer the lowest prices on new and refurbished retail loss prevention equipment. Get the best prices around on refurbished security tags from Checkpoint, Sensormatic and others.

Distributed exclusively by Abiru Holdings, Checkpoint RF security systems represent a complete selection of radio-frequency detection systems for libraries. From detection systems to theft-detection tags and detuning products to patron self-checkout stations, Checkpoint RF components are designed to work together to provide maximum detection and performance while integrating easily into library operations.
These turn-key solutions can be used alone or in conjunction with other Checkpoint products for unparalleled protection with a host of advantages like:

  • Proven-reliable security performance
  • Superior detection through advanced Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technology
  • Compatibility with print, digital and magnetic media
  • Comprehensive range of accessories
  • Excellent wide-aisle detection

Anti-thief project for Supermarket

A. Requirements analysis

The multiple shops and optional supermarkets are becoming more and more popular with us, at the same time the loss of the merchandises is becoming increasingly serious, too. Shopkeepers have been concerned about the stealing prevention of merchandises and the security of the shops more and more. EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) system has changed the traditional staring ways by technological prevention. The system can prevent the loss of the merchandises and can increase economic benefits. This high-tech system has been accepted by most of the merchants and it has been applied to Chinese market widely.

Most of the large-scale retail enterprises have used the electronic anti-thief system. EAS system has been used in many developed cities such as Beijing , Shanghai , Guangzhou and Shenzhen. EAS has become the mainstream anti-thief system in the markets.

The sorts and capabilities contrast of marketplace electronic anti-thief system:

There are four main technologies of EAS system. They are RF, EM, AM and Smart ID. RF and EM products are cheaper and their labels are usually pasted in the packaging or in the merchandises permanently. Microwave and AM labels are more expensive. Most of the markets prefer to the EM and RF products and their system introductions are followed.

RF system

The system is composed by sensor deactivator and electronic label/tag and the detacher as the assistant equipment.

There are soft labels and hard tags. Soft labels are cheaper and they can be pasted in the “hard” merchandises directly but they cannot be reused. Hard tags are more expensive but they can be reused. There must be some expert detachers matching with the tags that are more used in the soft and easy penetrable objects like clothes. The detachers are non-contact equipments with a high decoding capacity. When the cashiers are checking the merchandises out the labels/tags can be decoded without contacting the degaussing areas. There are equipments that composed by deactivator and laser bar code scanner. They can do the gathering and decoding at the same time to increasing cashiers’ working efficiency. But this need laser bar code scanner suppliers’ cooperation to rule out the interference of the equipments and increase decoding sensitivity. The sensor is a detecting device at the passageways of the markets or at the cashier channels. After the right payments the cashiers can neutralise the labels/tags to let the merchandises leave legally. The merchandises without normal decoding will make the door detectors alarm when they are passing the channels. The alarm will remind the cashiers, customers and the guards to deal with the situation immediately.

EM system

This system is composed by detecting antennae, EM deactivator/reactivator, EM strips and EM strip check equipment as the assistant equipment.

Capacities contrast:

1. Detecting rate:

Detecting rate refers to the alarm efficiency when numbers of effective labels/tags are passing the detecting areas from defferent directions to different positions.

RF system: to the commodities, the soft labels of the RF system is round circular coils style, so if the commodities have some metal parts or have tinfoil with them the system may lose its alarm function. So its general alarm rate is lower between 68%~80%.

EM system: the tinfoil and small metal won’t have so much influence on the EM strips so the system has a higher alarm rate about 95%.

2. Anti-metal interference:

RF system will be influenced most among them by metals. That could be its main limit in actual use. Em system will be influenced by metal objects, too. When there are some large metal objects pasing into the detecting areas the system will “stop”. When the metal shopping carts or baskets are passing the merchandises inside them with effective labels/tags won’t make the system alarm because of shielding action.

3. Protecting width:

Marketplaces need to consider the protecting width of the anti-thief system for fear that the width is too narrow to pass. All the marketplaces wish their passageways be wider.

The setting width of the EM system is 75~120 cm and the setting width of RF system is 90~200 cm.

4. The sorts of its protecting merchandises:

To the whole emporium, many merchandises of it has tinfoil packages or metal parts that will have serious influence on RF system, so RF system could protect less number of merchandises and EM system could protect more kinds of merchandises than RF system.

5. Price

The price of EM detecting antennae is higher than RF system.

The price of EM materials is much less than RF system.

B. Compare with CCTV system. The advantages of the EAS system are obvious:

1. High efficiency. The EAS system can catch the thieves when they are passing the detecting channels and this system have a huge warning effect psychologically. The CCTV system could see the stealing behaviors, too, but the guards could check them only after they go out. It has a longer tracking time and it won’t be effective every time.

2. Save manpower.

The CCTV system need the workers to staring at the screens all day long which increases the salary cost and makes the management more different, whereas the EAS system could be part-time managed by guards.

C. The working modes and equipments selection of EAS system:

Detecting steps:

1. Set the anti-thief labels/tags on the merchandises.

2. Set the detectors at the passageways of the marketplaces.

3. After the payment, decode the soft labels or take the hard tags away with expert equipments.

4. When the merchandises without payment (that has label/tags inside) are passing the channels the door detectors could fine them and alarm to stop them.

Anti-thief equipments selection:

RF system: detecting antennae + deactivators (used for soft labels only) + soft labels + detachers (used for hard tags only) + hard tags

D. Checking project and layout:

According to different requirements we have two constructive projects.

1. Separate the persons and goods:

I. Set the detectors at the cashiers;

. Set the detachers at the cashiers;;

. . Set the soft labels on the commodities, set the hard tags on the clothes and shoes and hats, set the wine lock on the winebottles and set the milk lock on the milk boxes.

This project has many advantages:

Customers and their commodities are separated to pass the different channels. Customers pass the detecting channels and the commodities pass the cashing table and they are passed to the customers by the cashiers later. In this way you needn’t to buy deactivator. The system is cheaper with the same anti-thief function and it reduces the staff’s workload and makes them work more efficient. ( Defects: the total cost is higher; advantages: avoid the contradictions between merchants and customers caused by the system alarm because the commodities are not degaussed enough, create a more comfortable shopping atmosphere. )

2. Protecting modes in exits:

. Set detectors at the main exits ;

     ? . Set deactivator and detachers on the cashier tables ;

. Set the soft labels on the commodities, set the hard tags on the clothes and shoes and hats, set the wine lock on the winebottles and set the milk lock on the milk boxes.

If a market separates the entrances and exits then they just need to set detectors at the exits. Comparing with A, it could reduce the number of the equipments and save investing costs (reducing the number of the detecting antennae). (Defects: higher requirements on cashiers. When there are large number of customers the cashiers may be so busy to miss some commodities, which will cause the contradictions between workers and customer, and at this time it’s hard to distinguish whether the commodities are missing degaussed ones or being stolen ones. Advantages: the total costs for equipments are lower and the location will not impact the setting generally.)

E. The function of the anti-thief system:

1. Preventing thefts. The system changed the old ways that the workers have to gaze at the customers or the workers have to take good care of the merchandises in case that someone would steal them. The system makes each of the merchandises protects themselves and solves the stealing problem totally. That would reduce the loss of marketplaces.

2. Simplify management. The system could effectively prevent inner thieves, ease contradictions between managers and staff, exclude the staff’s psychological barriers and let them work absorbedly and increase working efficiency. Also the system could reduce the number of employees and optimize employees at the original basics to save operating costs and improve service level.

3. Alarm. The system could stop the customers stealing with a tough and polite way. It could avoid the disputes between persons and it could protect the profit of the shopkeepers, meanwhile respecting the human rights. The system could warn and stop the thieves psychologically.

4. Improve the shopping atmosphere. Many people hate the old gazing way. The system could create a better atmosphere that customers could select merchandises freely, and it could improve the relationship between the merchants and the customers which makes the circumstance more comfortable and help the merchants to attract more customers.

5. Beautify the circumstance. The system is a high-tech and pretty product, it could beautify the circumstance when protecting the merchandises. The system is a new trend for all the marketplaces.

F. Engineering setting rules:


Spot rules:

1. The special power outlets are set at the cashier and there are earth wires.

Setting form rules:

1. Pre-embedded pipelines: pre-embed 25PVC pipes. Detecting doors and host use dual-core shielded wires.

2. Cut ground: the cutting is behind the shielded wires. Make sure the ground surface and the metal u-shaped groove are in the same level and guarantee the leakage lines and collapsing holes won’t appear.

3. Arc metal groove: insure it’s clean before sticking on the ground and then fix it and put the groove and the two detecting antennae as the ” ? ” shape.

Remark: insure the grooves are straight as a beeline and relatively connect the step lines according to 45 degree at the corners.

Training after the setting:

Training aimed at staff:

1. Correct sticking way and attention note about the system.

2. Normal operations of the additional equipments: such as the normal use of the EM deactivator/reactivator or common queations.

3. Normal operations and attention notes of equipments.

4. Troubleshooting of common faults and simple faults.

5. Correct operation after alarm.

G. Products Description


RF anti-thief system

RF anti-thief system works according to the passive LC resonance reflection principle. The mainboard uses digital circuits and its setting and regulation are intelligent without too much manpower. Its appearance is pretty and its sensitivity is high, the misreporting rate is low and the anti-thief capacity is reliable. Its steel tubes are thickening high quality tubes that can prevent impacting damage effectively. Our products are excellent in quality and reasonable in price. Our products are the best anti-thief systems for all the domestic marketplaces, cloth stores and supermarkets.

• Particular TRIMMER-ADI technology

• Higher sensitivity and detecting rate

• Multiple anti-interference technology and double insurance

• Solid detecting

• Be static-free

• Sound-light alarm

• Its combination is flexible and you could use them by couples or many together.

Technological Parameters

Detecting Range


Detect 8.2MHz hard tags and soft labels

Power: 220VAC/400mA ± 10%

Normal detecting distance

Power Consumption: 12W

Standard big hard tag: standard distance is 1.2 m, the maximum distance is 2.0 m.

Center frequency: 8.2MHz

Standard small hard tag: standard distance is 1.2m, the maximum distance is 1.4 m.

Frequency: ±600KHz

Standard soft labels: s tandard distance is 1.2m, the maximum distance is 1.4 m.

Anti-thief soft labels


• Anti-medium matched with RF anti-thief system.

• They are mainly used to the nonmetal merchandises without tinfoil paper. (Metal objects could screen the transmitting electronic waves from soft labels. It is limited by the present technology of RF system which has no solution.)


• Turnoff the inner circuits by deactivator to decode.


EM Reactivator

? EM Reactivator is a equipment to decode the soft labels. It is specially used for RF system.

Its detecting height is 30cm. Any 8.2MHZ soft labels will be decode in this area.

You could trust in its unique decoding and alarming function (sound-light information).

• Completely digital technology and high speed signal processing.

Hard Tags Winebottle & Milk lock

? This product with special alarm coils and super strong ABS engineering plastics is firm and durable and it has very high sensitivity.

? This product could be widely used to clothes, shoes & hats, sports things, boxes & bags, drinks, milk and so on.

We have many styles and sizes, black/gray/milk white and we can make for your special orders.

Hard tag detachers:

( prevent inner thieves )

Super power hard tag detacher

• It’s the special equipment used to the hard tags and audio-video locks.

• It’s made of whole steels with powerful magnetic cylinder.

• Pretty and firm.

• It’s an expert anti-thief lock and can prevent inner thieves efficiently.

Anti-thief boxes:

Cigarette lock CD ? DVD lock

Other products:

Digital camera protecting seats and automatic backing device

Digital camera protecting assembly

Cell phone seat ( SK-005 ) & cell phone back care ( SK-N980 )

Mobile sensor (with rechargeable devices)

Cell phone protecting assembly

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