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RFID News Roundup

Columbus McKinnon embeds InfoChip RFID tags in shackles, hoists; Convergence Systems Ltd. fixed reader includes 3G, GPS; TeleTracking, Hill-Rom integrate RTLS, hand-hygiene monitoring; Murata announces availability of RFID tag module with I2C interface; Motorola Solutions intros Workabout Pro 4 mobile computer with new RFID options; Palace Resorts implements InvoTech's RFID-enabled laundry system; Xerafy, Censis Technologies partner on RFID for sterilization of surgical instruments; IDTechEx expects RFID market to grow 17 percent this year.
By Beth Bacheldor
Mar 27, 2014

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Columbus McKinnon, InfoChip; Convergence Systems Ltd.; TeleTracking, Hill-Rom; Murata; Motorola Solutions; InvoTech; Censis Technologies, Xerafy; and IDTechEx.

Columbus McKinnon Embeds InfoChip RFID Tags in Shackles, Hoists

A tagged Columbus McKinnon shackle
Columbus McKinnon (CM) a designer, manufacturer and marketer of material-handling products, has introduced its CM Smart ID RFID technology on hoists and rigging products. When integrated with a complete inventory- and inspection-management system, CM Smart ID can enable faster inventory tracking and serialization, more efficient safety inspections and improved inventory and inspection data accuracy, CM reports. The RFID option has been developed through a partnership with InfoChip. According to CM, the integrated RFID technology means that before the product leaves the factory, each chip is associated with detailed product information that is uploaded and stored on the CM Smart ID Cloud. This allows for easy access to the information by anyone, anywhere, at any time, the company explains. All that a user needs is a free InfoChip mobile application running on a Near Field Communication (NFC)-equipped smartphone, tablet or handheld reader. The product and service information can be added to or updated after the product leaves the factory. CM Smart ID is available standard on all CM Bandit ratchet lever hoists for the U.S. market, and will also be offered as an option on select CM shackles as small as 1/2 inch. CM is using InfoChip's DuraDisc on the CM Bandit hoists. Initially, the firm is utilizing InfoChip's 8-millimeter (0.3-inch) DuraPlug on the shackles, with plans to transition to InfoChip's 6-millimeter (0.2-inch) DuraPlug sometime next month. CM intends to add CM Smart ID technology on other hoists and rigging tools in the near future as well. Currently, the company is not offering RFID readers to customers, and will be directing them to InfoChip if they wish to purchase one.

Convergence Systems Ltd. Fixed Reader Includes 3G, GPS

CSL's CS208-3G RFID fixed reader
Convergence Systems Limited (CSL), a global provider of passive RFID products and active real-time location system (RTLS) equipment, has announced the availability of its CS208-3G fixed RFID reader with 3G connectivity and GPS technology. It is particularly suited to stationary check-in/checkout asset-management solutions, the company reports, as well as large area continuous scanning solutions in access control, event management and inventory management. According to the company, applications include highway toll stations, bus stops, container ports, warehouse docks, parking lots and more. It supports the EPC Class 1 Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID protocol, and is available with support for Dense Reader Mode. The fixed reader is ruggedized, with an IP 68 rating (meaning it is dustproof and waterproof). It measures 300 millimeters (11.82 inches) in length and width, and 100 millimeters (3.94 inches) thick, and weighs 3.5 kilograms (7.7 pounds). With its integrated high-powered, circular polarization antenna (with a choice of left- or right-hand polarization), the CS208-3G can provide a read range of up to 13 meters (42.7 feet) with DogBone tags (the FCC version) from Smartrac and features a wide selection of connectivity options: 3G/GSM/GPRS, SMS, Ethernet, USB and serial. The CS208-3G reader can be deployed outdoors or indoors for mobile or stationary applications, CSL reports, using either remote or local networks. Thanks to its built-in GPS, the reader's location can be identified when used outdoors. It employs the Win CE operating system and has application programming interfaces (APIs) ranging from high-level HTTP to C# to low-level C. The CS208-3G is being used in conjunction with the company's CS9010 battery-assisted passive (BAP) RFID ID card for a high-security child-tracking solution. The BAP ID card, according to CSL, which can be read consistently and reliably when hanging from a person's neck or embedded in a wallet, backpack or purse, is tracked via the CS208-3G fixed reader, which then sends a wireless confirmation message to mobile devices to provide peace of mind for parents and school officials. The CS208-3G will be demonstrated at the RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, being held in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 8-10, at CSL's booth (738).

TeleTracking, Hill-Rom Integrate RTLS, Hand-Hygiene Monitoring
TeleTracking Technologies has announced a partnership with Hill-Rom Co., a hospital and medical products provider, and GOJO Industries, which manufactures' Purell hand sanitizer. According to TeleTracking, he partnership is designed to help hospitals use the company's real-time locating system (RTLS) to track, measure and report hand hygiene compliance, a critical tool in the fight against hospital-acquired infections, which claim up to 100,000 lives and cost hospitals an estimated $45 billion annually. The integrated solution includes Hill-Rom's RTLS-enabled Hand Hygiene Compliance Solution software, GOJO's Smartlink technology for hands-free dispensing and TeleTracking's AssetTracking RTLS system, which relies on infrared-based location positioning and a 900 MHz communication backbone. The TeleTracking RTLS solution will monitor and record each time that a staff member uses, or does not use, a hand-hygiene station, the company explains. The RTLS-linked compliance system works by first alerting caregivers with a gentle reminder as they enter a care environment. When a worker uses the hands-free dispenser, an internal wireless transmitter lights up an external window confirming use, and data about that use is recorded. That information provides hospitals with the information they need to measure staff compliance and establish accountability, according to TeleTracking. The system can also benefit hospitals faced with reimbursement penalties and possible lawsuits due to infection, the company adds.

Murata Announces Availability of RFID Tag Module With I2C Interface

Murata's LXMS2HACNF-165 RFID tag module
Murata Manufacturing Co. has announced the availability of its LXMS2HACNF-165 RFID tag module that features an NXP Semiconductors Ucode I2C RFID chip that supports a wired I2C interface. Conforming to the ISO/IEC 18000-6C and EPCglobal Class Gen 2 standards, and operating in the 900 MHz frequency band, the device is the latest addition to the surface-mount Magicstrap family of RFID chips. Magicstrap RFID tag modules employ a printed circuit board's ground plane as a tag antenna (see Electronics Factory Uses RFID to Manage Assembly of Cisco Circuit Boards). According to Murata, the addition of an I2C interface to the ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag module means that the data of an IC mounted on a customer's equipment, and connected to it, can be interrogated using an UHF RFID reader, and can be read by an IC. This extends the possible applications far beyond the use of previous Magicstrap RFID chips, the company reports, which have been in the areas of process management, commodity management or traceability. Potential applications for this new RFID device include the management of memory settings of consumer appliances prior to shipping. For example, the settings of equipment can be changed even when it is packaged in a carton box immediately prior to shipment. Other examples include holding appliance error log data or recording environmental data, such as temperature changes in food service supply chain logistics applications. Using an I2C Magicstrap module makes it possible to achieve lower power consumption compared to other RF technologies, Murata claims, since the power necessary for communication is supplied by an RFID reader. Access to the RFID module is even possible when the power of the device equipped with the Magicstrap is turned off. In addition, with the I2C connection, a wireless interface can be implemented at a lower cost than Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and ZigBee, as use of UHF RFID does not require certification on the tag side, according to the company.

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