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Avery Dennison Looks Beyond Apparel

The company's seven new passive EPC Gen 2 tags are designed to expand the use of item-level RFID to other products, such as cosmetics, jewelry and shoes.
By Claire Swedberg
May 02, 2014

Avery Dennison's Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS) division has released a broad range of new EPC ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags intended to expand the use of item-level RFID to products that have not previously been tagged, such as cosmetics, jewelry and cookware. The company also aims to broaden the use cases for apparel, by providing tags with smaller form-factors than existing UHF Gen 2 RFID apparel labels.

The new tags are part of Avery Dennison's approach to helping retailers, manufacturers and logistics providers adopt RFID at the item level to better manage all of their goods, not just those that are easy to tag, explains William Toney, Avery Dennison RBIS' head of market development for global RFID. He calls the approach "category enablement."

The AD-160u7 was developed for another product category that is challenging for RFID tags: cosmetics narrow in width, such as lipstick tubes and eyeliner pencils.
The tags were released just prior to last month's RFID Journal LIVE! 2014 conference and exhibition, held in Orlando, Fla.

In the long run, Toney says, Avery Dennison expects to provide tags that are more universal and can be placed on nearly every apparel item, as well as some other retail items within a store. The AD-320u7—which the company released last year (see Avery Dennison's New Tags Target Challenging Use Cases)—is one example of such a tag, but it still cannot be applied to every apparel item. As the firm continues to work on developing a truly universal apparel tag, he adds, it will also offer a range of specialty tags in a variety of form factors, with the goal of bringing RFID-tagging to most of a store's goods.

The AD-320u7, Toney reports, is a tiny tag designed for apparel items that may be too small to be easily tagged via standard UHF tags already on the market. Measuring 1.63 inches by 0.63 inch (41.4 millimeters by 16 millimeters) as an inlay and 1.75 inches by 0.75 inch (44.5 millimeters by 19 millimeters) as a converted label, the tag is made with NXP Semiconductors' Ucode 7 chip, and was designed to meet the University of Arkansas RFID Research Center's categories for denim, polybagged apparel and hanging apparel. The AD-320u7, Toney says, is the smallest tag to gain approval from the center's Arkansas Radio Compliance (ARC) laboratory across such a broad spectrum of categories.

Aimed at the cosmetics and jewelry markets is the new AD-172u7 tag—which, according to Toney, was developed for high performance when interrogated by a handheld reader, and has been optimized, tested and qualified by customers to meet that requirement. This tag is currently in use in retail environments for fashion and fine jewelry. Its inlay size is 0.87 inch by 0.49 inch (22 millimeters by 12.5 millimeters), while the label is sized at 31.75 millimeters by 15.49 millimeters (1.25 inches by 0.6 inch).

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