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RFID News Roundup

Zebra Technologies debuts new solutions and IoT applications; William Frick & Co. introduces two new SmartMark RFID tags; Murata expands HF RFID tag family for tracking, certification and authentication applications; Q-Track unveils near-field RFID tag that weighs less than 2 ounces; RFTrail announces new RFID cart auditing tool for auditing assets; Xtreme RFID, Vizinex announce new mount-on-metal tag; Alien Technology launches European commercial four-port fixed UHF reader.
By Beth Bacheldor

RFTrail Announces New RFID Cart Auditing Tool for Auditing Assets
RFTrail, has announced its SmartAudit Cart, an RFID-enabled tool designed for auditing assets in industrial or commercial environments. The cart, which can be used to replace RFTrail's handheld RFID SmartMobile, provides real-time auditing metrics on a mobile platform, resulting in audit and productivity reporting for decision-support. The SmartAudit Cart was designed for rapid auditing within data centers, but can also be used in technology labs, tool rooms and other high-audit areas. The SmartAudit Cart is a battery-powered, ruggedized cart with integrated RFID data-collection equipment and components from leading RFID manufacturers, RFTrail reports. The SmartAudit Cart can be deployed with high-performance antennas for mass-auditing, according to RFTrail, and an optional handheld wand accommodates auditing at a granular level (such as tools in bins or boxes, or on shelves) or container contents (such as assets in boxes, servers in a rack, files on a shelf and so forth). The cart's graphical user interface features a touchscreen for ease of use, and incorporates real-time metrics. Simple configuration tools allow the cart to be adjusted to fit various settings and performance requirements.

Xtreme RFID, Vizinex Announce New Mount-on-Metal Tag
The partnership of Xtreme RFID, a custom manufacturer of one-piece, fully encapsulated RFID tags for asset tracking, and Vizinex RFID has announced the Allied Series VX-Mid HT, the second product in the companies' growing series of RFID tags for harsh industrial environments. A mount-on-metal RFID tag designed for high-temperature applications, the VX-Mid HT combines Vizinex's ViziCore RFID tag technology, Xtreme's proprietary plastic injection-molding process and the new Fortron ICE polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) material from Celanese Corp. Celanese's Fortron PPS is a semi-crystalline polymer that features high-temperature performance for temperatures up to 240 degrees Celsius (464 degrees Fahrenheit) and resistance to fuels, oils and solvents, according to Xtreme RFID. The polymer also provides hardness, stiffness and dimensional stability, the company reports, and is inherently flame-resistant. According to Xtreme RFID, this new material has enabled it and Vizinex to expand the line of Allied Series of encapsulated RFID tags and build on the existing VX-Mid RFID tag engineered for yard management, returnable transport items, and other industrial environments (see Xtreme RFID and Vizinex Jointly Market Rugged Passive UHF Tag). The new mount-on metal VX-Mid HT tag offers a read range of more than 25 feet and is rated IP 68 (signifying it is dustproof and waterproof). According to Xtreme RFID, the VX-Mid HT is suitable for use in oil and gas environments, where assets such as drill bits, collars, borehole liners and so forth spend thousands of hours underground, at temperatures of up to 464 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures up to 30,000 psi; medical applications, in which sterilization processes such as autoclaving are utilized; and for tools used in industrial autoclave and high-temperature fabrication operations. The Allied Series Tag was showcased at the RFID Journal LIVE! 2014 conference and exhibition, held this week in Orlando, Fla., in Xtreme RFID's booth.

Alien Technology Launches European Commercial Four-Port Fixed UHF Reader
Alien Technology has introduced the Alien ALR-9680-EMA commercial-grade ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 reader for the European, African and Middle Eastern markets. The company unveiled versions for North America and China a year ago (see Alien Technology Unveils New 4-Port Fixed UHF Reader). Housed in a metal chassis, the reader features 4 monostatic antenna ports that Alien Technology says lend themselves to low-cost antenna systems; Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) functionality that takes power from any existing Ethernet infrastructure and eliminates the need for external power supplies; and autonomous mode of operation that reduces network traffic and minimizes central processing, thereby helping make large rollouts more scalable. In a prepared statement, Pat Ervin, Alien Technology's VP of sales and marketing, said the reader "brings the flexibility of 4-antenna ports and Alien Reader Protocol, which adds local intelligence and processing inside the reader and reduces the processing overhead required elsewhere in the system." The ALR-9680, Alien adds, is suitable for small, cost-sensitive rollouts, the company reports, or—due to the on-reader processing—it can be used in large-scale implementations seeking to minimize the amount of central processing consumed by each reader. Customer samples of the ALR-9680-EMA are scheduled to be made available on May 1 of this year, with production units scheduled to ship on June 1.

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