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Company Boosts Sensitivity and Shortens Length of Its RFID Yarn

Primo1D's E-Thread is being tested by industrial and textile companies to track parts and products that do not lend themselves well to an affixed RFID tag.
By Claire Swedberg
May 09, 2017

French technology company PrimoiD is commercially scaling its passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID yarn for textile manufacturers, as well as the industrial market, to enable the embedding or RFID tags directly into garments or materials. The technology is not only intended for use in apparel and retail, but is also being trialed on industrial products that do not lend themselves well to the attachment of an adhesive or hanging tag.

Since the technology was introduced, the company has further developed it to create improved impedance-matching techniques. This means that the E-Thread can be read at twice the distance, from 7 meters (23 feet) to 12 meters (39.4 feet). It can also be shorter than its predecessor, depending on the application.

Primo1D's E-Thread
The E-Thread is an RFID yarn for which the antenna is built into the yarn strand itself (see E-Thread Provides Discrete Anti-Counterfeiting or Tracking Solutions). The company uses standard RFID chips which typically measure 445 micrometers (0.018 inch) by 490 micrometers (0.019 inch) or smaller.

The company—which launched in Grenoble, France, in 2013—says it has reached a throughput of 5 million units with the launching of its new production equipment. "This is largely due to investments over the last two years in the industrial phase of ramping the manufacturing and production technology and related equipment," says Alain Papanti, Primo1D's chief sales and marketing officer.

The company is a spinoff from the efforts of French institute CEA-Leti CEA-Leti. At that institute, researchers developed the RFID-enabled thread or yarn as part of a European project known as Platform for Advanced Smart Textile Applications (PASTA), to develop intelligence in textiles.

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