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Confidex Launches Reusable Gen 2 Tag

The Finnish RFID startup's first product is an EPC Gen 2-compliant tag designed to track reusable assets such as trays and dollies.
By Jonathan Collins
Feb 15, 2006Finnish RFID startup Confidex has launched its first product—an EPC Gen 2-compliant tag designed to be used multiple times. Although the company was founded to provide design services to printing, packaging and labeling companies looking to develop the ability to manufacture RFID tags (see Startup to Help Companies Make Tags), it also aims to develop a range of specialty RFID tags for specific applications.

"When we looked, there was no EPC-compliant reusable tag on the market, and existing reusable UHF tags were all priced in the $4-to-$6 range," says Timo Lindstrom, partner and CEO at Confidex.

The Survivor, a reusable Gen 2-compliant tag from Confidex.

In response, the company has launched its Survivor tag, designed for attachment to trays, totes, dollies and other reusable assets. To function well in such applications, Confidex created a hard case to protect the tag from physical damage. The tag is also designed to operate in RF-challenging environments, such as high humidity or around metal, where RF signals can be distorted or weakened.

According to Confidex, the Survivor is the first reusable hard tag in the market to comply with EPCglobal's Gen 2 standard, and to reach the price level of less than $1 in volumes of hundreds of thousands. For orders in the tens of thousands, pricing would be $2 to $3 per tag.

The new tag uses an Impinj 96-bit IC attached to a Confidex-designed antenna. Embedded in high-impact polystyrene casing that measures 223 by 23 by 8 millimeters, the inlay operates in the European-designated UHF RFID spectrum of 865 to 868 MHz, as well as in the U.S.-sanctioned spectrum of 902 to 928 MHz. Spectrum regulations limit the tag's read range to 7 meters in the United States and 5 meters in Europe. The tag can be affixed to assets using ties, glue or screws. Confidex has turned to contract manufacturers to produce the Survivor, promising it can deliver tags to customers within six weeks of order placement.

Confidex reports that several customers have tested the tag over the past few months. Although it plans to sell the Survivor to customers around the world, the firm expects the bulk of the interest to come from companies in Europe, not the United States. There is less focus on using RFID on reusable assets in the U.S. supply chain than there is in Europe’s, the company explains.

The startup says it eventually plans to create a variety of other tags. "The Survivor is the first in a family of special tags we will develop for specific applications, and where there are no real existing tag alternatives available in the market," says Lindstrom.
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