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Companies Testing On-Metal Tag With 20-Meter Read Range

Xerafy's Container Trak tag is being tested by several companies to identify the locations and movements of metal containers or trailers in such areas as outdoor storage yards and distribution centers.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 10, 2017

RFID technology company Xerafy has begun taking orders for its new Container Trak tag, designed to provide visibility into the locations of containers in outdoor storage yards and warehouses. The passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag offers a read range of 65 feet (20 meters) when applied to a metal item, such as a shipping container, so that it could be read as a container is being driven through a gate, for instance. Xerafy released the tag in September 2017, and currently has pilots under way with several companies, the company reports.

The Container Trak tag, according to Xerafy, was designed to provide a long read range from moving containers, trailers or chassis, in a relatively small form factor. The tag allows companies to meet the 20-meter read range that Xerafy's customers have been asking for, primarily for moveable equipment and containers, says Dennis Khoo, the company's CEO. With the tags, he says, readers could capture up to 400 reads per second. The new tag, designed to be easily attached to most metal form factors, measures 139 millimeters by 42 millimeters by 12 millimeters (5.5 inches by 1.6 inches by 0.5 inch) and can be mounted via a rivet, a cable tie, a metal insertion or an adhesive.

Xerafy's Container Trak tag
The new Container Trak tag is targeted to companies in the manufacturing, logistics, industrial supply chain, warehouse-management and yard-management industries, Khoo says, as well as in oil and gas.

Some logistics and manufacturing companies already employ on-metal RFID technology to track the movements of containers and trailers around a storage yard, distribution center or manufacturing facility. However, reading tags as they drive through gates, or from a forklift or yard vehicle driving around the trailers, can be challenging, Khoo reports, due to the relatively short read range on UHF tags, especially when the tags are mounted on metal. In addition, harsh environments—such as outdoor storage areas, rail yards or ports—can pose a challenge for many on-metal RFID tags that could be damaged by weather or impact.

Some competitive tags on the market, Khoo says, were too bulky to be attached to containers or chassis and assure users that they would stay there, while others performed poorly. "We felt we needed to add another tag to the Trak family," he states, "to meet the 20-meter read range that serves the market for asset management and container tracking."

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