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True Health Clubs Use RFID to Shape Up Towel Management

The Singapore-based company can better track the towels it loans to patrons, as well as those that are picked up or returned by its laundry service provider.
By Claire Swedberg

EPC Solutions provided its L30 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) laundry tag, which was sewn into the edge of each towel used at the Taiwan facility. Each ID number encoded in the tag is unique and indicates that specific towel. EPC Solutions then installed an Alien Technology ALR-9900+ UHF reader in the club's lobby, with two antennas flanking the turnstiles through which members must pass when entering or exiting the facility. In addition, EPC Solutions installed an Alien ALR-9650 fixed reader at the box in which used towels are placed.

RFID reader antennas flank the turnstiles in the club's lobby, enabling True to identity any towels that members remove from the site.
Upon arriving at the facility, a member first presents his mag-stripe member card to the receptionist. She swipes the card to collect that individual's ID number, then lends him two towels and uses an EPC Solutions SME-101 desktop reader to interrogate the towel tag IDs, thereby linking that member to those towels in the software.

True Group's Patrick Wee
Once finished with his workout, the member throws the wet towels into the 55- by 39-inch return box. The reader built into the box interrogates the tag IDs and updates the software to indicate that those towels have been returned. To accomplish this, EPC Solutions wired the reader to the company's Flexant cable antennas circling each of the box's four towel "drop holes."

When the number of towels returned reaches 200, the EPC Solutions software sends a text message to the appropriate employee, indicating that the box has reached its maximum capacity. While emptying the box, the worker also updates the software to indicate that it is now empty.

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