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RFID Cage Frees Up CYBRA's Customers

CYBRA says its reader portal is helping apparel companies to quickly accomplish a range of tasks, such as disabling unneeded RFID tags, tracking seasonal workers' performance and identifying merchandise's country of origin.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 11, 2016

Several years ago, CYBRA began marketing a mobile ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID reader portal surrounded by a cage of metal mesh and mounted on removable wheels so that it could be easily moved to a user's existing conveyor systems. Not only does the cage protect the RFID reader hardware from being damaged though contact with boxes, individuals or equipment, but the mesh's half-inch by half-inch spacing is sized to keep the RF energy inside the cage. This enables it to prevent stray reads, the company explains, while still allowing users to see inside the cage to confirm that all is working properly.

The unit, known as the RFID Cage, can be pre-configured for each use case, CYBRA reports (in fact, its exact dimensions and shape vary according to the needs of a particular user's conveyor system), and is designed to be fast, providing 99 percent read accuracy when conveyor lines move at speeds of up to 600 feet per minute. The cage comes with an Alien Technology F800 or Impinj R420 reader, says Mike Shabet, CYBRA's sales and marketing VP, though it is hardware-agnostic, so other reader products would work with it as well.

One customer is using CYBRA's RFID Cage at its distribution center.
Although Shabet declined to name customers that are using its RFID Cage, citing nondisclosure agreements, he was able to describe many of the ways in which they are doing so. In one case, an undergarment brand is utilizing the cage not only to meet retailers' RFID-tagging mandates, but also to ensure that the EPC Gen 2 passive UHF tags do not conflict with those used for goods shipped for military use. Having two UHF tags attached to the same item can create a variety of errors during read processes, Shabet explains. It takes twice the amount of energy to activate both sets of tags, and twice as many responses are received and would then need to be filtered. In addition, tags touching each other could result in misreads. CYBRA's RFID Cage takes the labor out of disabling some tags, while a handheld reader would require an individual to manually undertake the tag-disabling process at each carton.

The undergarment company, at times, ships batches of product to U.S. military branches, and must then comply with a different set of UHF RFID tag rules. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) requires that its suppliers use RFID labels that meet its specifications and employ a proprietary DOD-96 encoding scheme.

Without the RFID Cage, this has typically meant that the company would either need to set up a separate packaging line for DOD-destined garments, or remove the RFID tag it places on all products to meet its retailer customers' requirements.

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