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SML Opens U.S. RFID Technology & Innovation Center

The facility features a simulated factory, warehouse and store where end users can view how RFID technology is used, as well as a laboratory for testing and innovating, and a production facility for new inlays.
By Claire Swedberg
May 14, 2014

SML Group, a supply chain and retail technology solutions provider based in Hong Kong, has opened its new RFID Technology & Innovation Center in Clayton, N.C.—its first such facility based in the United States—for demonstrating radio frequency identification technology, testing solutions and enabling new innovations. Its opening occurs on the tails of a similar launch in Corby, England (see SML Group Adding New RFID Test Centers, Tag Manufacturing Capacity), and will be followed by the unveiling of a third center, in Hong Kong, scheduled to take place in spring 2015. The Clayton facility is located at the site of SML's North American inlay manufacturing plant, which recently expanded its production capacity fourfold, according to Philip Calderbank, SML's VP of global RFID.

The U.K. RFID Technology & Innovation Center has been serving SML's existing and potential customers since its opening approximately six months ago, Calderbank says, by demonstrating the technology and enabling the companies to test RFID in the configurations they require for their own use cases.

The Clayton center is intended to further SML's efforts to showcase its own innovations to existing and potential customers, Calderbank explains, and also serves as a location for the development of new ones. The firm opened its inlay production plant at the same site in February 2013 (see SML Group Announces New Tags, Production Center), to better meet the North American retail industry's growing appetite for item-level tags. Since then, it has renovated the 34,000-square-foot, one-story building to not only expand production capacity but also house the technology center. There, it can display and test solutions through a replicated factory, distribution center and model storefront and backroom.

The center features a natural supply chain flow, by enabling the easy movement of visitors from one room to the next, thereby simulating the entire supply chain process. Though larger than the U.K. facility, Calderbank says, it is designed to provide the same functions as its British counterpart.

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