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DOD Grants BPAs for Printer-Encoders

Ten companies were granted Blanket Purchase Awards to provide RFID printer-encoders to the government.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Aug 25, 2005The U.S. Department of Defense's Information Technology, E-Commerce and Commercial Contracting Center (ITEC4) has 10 awarded Blanket Purchase Awards (BPAs) allowing government agencies to contract specific vendors for the purchase of passive EPC Class 1 RFID label printer-encoders. The ITEC4 supports the Product Manager Joint-Automatic Identification Technology (PM J-AIT), which is responsible for supplying, customizing and installing RFID and other automatic-identification technology to the DOD, the U.S. Coast Guard and several federal agencies.

The vendors granted the BPAs are CDO Technologies, Cheval Rouge, Culver Group, Intermec, Lowry Computer Products, RSI ID Tech, SCLogic, Avery Dennison subsidiary Security Printing, SYS-TEC and WFI Government Services. Intermec and Security Printing/Avery Dennison are authorized to sell RFID printer-encoders made by their respective firms. Each of the other eight BPA winners will resell RFID printer-encoders made by Datamax, Printronix and/or Zebra Technologies. All 10 BPAs will expire on June 30, 2007.

This is the fourth group of BPAs announced this year, though it was originally scheduled to be the third such announcement. The delay resulted from a protest filed by Zebra. Seven of the 10 vendors granted BPAs resell Zebra printer-encoders. However, Zebra also applied for a BPA directly. When the government rejected Zebra's quotation on the grounds that the company turned it in four days after the government's deadline, Zebra filed a protest, saying the deadline should have been waived. The protest was denied, and Zebra was not granted a BPA directly.

In addition to providing printer-encoders, as well as cables and other components, vendors earning a printer-encoder BPA can also supply passive EPC smart labels, label design software, printer ribbons, maintenance kits, replacement printheads and Ethernet network interface cards with TCP/IP protocol support.

In March, BPAs were granted to five tag suppliers (see DOD Awards Contracts for EPC Tags); in May, five manufacturers of fixed readers were named in BPAs (see DOD Awards Reader Purchase Agreements); and last month, 17 BPAs were awarded to firms that will supply RFID technical engineering services. Some of these BPAs named other firms as subcontractors of these services (see DOD Awards 17 BPAs for RFID Services).

The U.S. Army’s CECOM Acquisition Center has posted information on the BPAs on its Awarded Contracts Web page.
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