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Hyan and Parelec Teaming on Tags for Products, Mass Transit

The tag maker and conductive-ink manufacturer say their combined products are being used for product authentication and in single and multiuse mass-transit cards.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Sep 07, 2006Hyan Microelectronics, a Chinese maker of RFID antennas and tags, has teamed up with conductive-ink company Parelec, based in Rocky Hill, N.J., to develop RFID products. Thus far, the companies have created an anticounterfeit product label and an RFID-enabled ticket designed for mass-transit systems.

The anticounterfeiting smart label is placed as a seal on a product package and contains a high-frequency (13.56 MHz) inlay compliant with either the ISO 14443A or ISO 15693 standard. The 14443 inlay has a user-programmable memory of 512 bits, while the 15693 version can hold 1 kilobit. The memory can hold an item's product code and any other identifying data chosen by the manufacturer. The inlay uses a printed antenna, made of Parelec's Parmod silver-based conductive ink, which is printed onto the label substrate. When the label is removed from the product, the antenna breaks and the inlay is no longer readable, says Geva Barash, CEO of Parelec.

A manufacturer of consumer goods could apply the tag to a product it suspects may be subject to counterfeiting. Retailers would use RFID interrogators to verify the product's authenticity by reading the label prior to selling the item. If the label's factory-issued ID did not match a database of verified products, or if it could not be read, the retailer would then return the item to the manufacturer.

According to Barash, an undisclosed cell-phone manufacturer will soon begin using the anticounterfeit labels to authenticate its products. The labels are now available for purchase from Hyan at a cost of 30 cents apiece. Edmond Teng, Hyan's managing director, says label orders of 100 million or more lower the price to 20 cents per label, with orders exceeding 1 billion dropping it to 10 cents.

The anticounterfeit labels can be used to authenticate pharmaceutical products. Hyan is also experimenting with a number of different form factors for the label, including one designed for wine bottles or other bottles carrying high-value items.

The RFID transit ticket, manufactured by Hyan with a printed antenna made of Parelec's Parmod ink, is currently being utilized in mass-transit systems in China, where the inlays are used in multiuse cards; in Singapore, where they are used for single-ride tickets; and in Brazil. According to Barash, one benefit of the printed Parelec antenna used in the paper-based cards and tickets is that the ink bonds to them in such a way that creasing or bending will not disable the antenna. Such bending, he says, can damage an etched antenna.
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