Manufacturing Cost Simulations for Low Cost RFID

22 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2020

See all articles by Gitanjali Swamy

Gitanjali Swamy

PCRI, Harvard Business School; IoTask; University of California, Berkeley; Auto-ID Center, MIT

Date Written: September 10, 2020


In a previous Auto-ID publication, “Towards a 5¢ Tag”, we speculated on manufacturing and system methods to approach the elusive goal of a 5¢ Radio Frequency Identification (or RFID) tag. We extend our cost analysis in this paper and simulate manufacturing and assembly processes to examine the feasibility of the 5¢ tag. We do so assuming that large volumes are being manufactured achieving which is, of course, another challenge entirely. We experiment with variations in process, throughput and component variables to estimate what will be required to approach the 5¢ goal. As part of this experiment, we examine both the semiconductor manufacturing and the assembly of RFID tags. Our approach consists of two steps: bench-marking the processes employed and the equipment used, and 2) cost model simulation using this benchmark data. Our simulation models are inspired on earlier work on semiconductor costing at SEMATECH and at the University of California at Berkeley.

Suggested Citation

Swamy, Gitanjali, Manufacturing Cost Simulations for Low Cost RFID (September 10, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Gitanjali Swamy (Contact Author)

PCRI, Harvard Business School ( email )

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IoTask ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02142
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University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Auto-ID Center, MIT ( email )

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