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RFID News Roundup

Tagsys launches Six Sigma program; Mobile Aspects adds new features to RFID cabinet; Impinj signs agreement with MD Soluciones de Identificación; MasterCard, USA Tech announce vending partner; Omnitrol, Ekahau form partnership; SATO announces new printer-encoder.
By Andrew Price
Mar 23, 2007The following are news announcements made during the week of March 19.

Tagsys Launches Six Sigma Program
RFID systems provider Tagsys has announced it is offering its pharmaceutical customers a Six Sigma quality-of-service performance guarantee through a subscription service that includes a maintenance program and hardware upgrades. The offering promises that pharmaceutical products tagged at the item level with Tagsys' high-frequency tags will be readable upon reaching the pharmaceutical company's distribution center, at a Six Sigma level of accuracy. The program, says John Jordan, Tagsys' president of worldwide operations, is designed to enable drugmakers interested in item-level tagging their products to launch such a program without concerns over tag readability and performance. The subscription service covers only high-frequency labels containing Tagsys HF inlays, converted into labels by one of Tagsys' certified converter partners, and encoded and read using Tagsys interrogators (which can be integrated into packaging lines). Jordan explains that Tagsys will hold up its Six Sigma guarantee by promising certain levels of performance at each step in the packaging process. For example, the company will make sure no more than 5 out of every 1,000 tags are non-functional when put into the packaging system, and no more than 5 in 10,000 after the RFID-enabled labels are applied to bottles and encoded, and have moved through the packaging line. If quality levels fall below these metrics at any stage, Tagsys will work to bring the quality levels back up to the promise levels, by tuning equipment and weeding out any problem tag stock. The readers will again check that the inlays are still functioning as the bottles are being cased, and as they move through an inspection zone while leaving the packaging facility headed for the pharmaceutical's distribution center—where, Jordan says, no more than 3.4 failures in each million tag reads is acceptable. Tagsys has not released its subscription rates for the quality-of-service program.

Mobile Aspects Adds New Features to RFID Medical Cabinet
Mobile Aspects has announced an updated version of its RFID-enabled cabinet system, designed to help health-care organizations track, store and manage medical devices and supplies. The iRISupply 4.0 system, available now, includes cabinets with adjustable shelving and reconfiguration features, enabling organizations to more easily create or change each cabinet's layout to best suit their needs. In addition, Mobile Aspects has increased the storage capacity of the cabinet by 13 percent. The Pittsburgh-based company has also increased the system's RFID reading capabilities by embedding more antennas into the cabinet. The antennas feature a new design allowing for three-dimensional scanning of the RFID-tagged items within the cabinet. With three-dimensional scanning, the antennas scan the tag on three different planes (above, below and from any side), allowing the tag to be read at any position on the item in the cabinet. The cabinet also features embedded lighting so organizations can more easily see into it. iRISupply 4.0 is part of Mobile Aspects' One System of Care product portfolio, which also includes a real-time locating system (RTLS), a portable workstation for tracking drugs, a patient-tracking system and software that organizations can use to access all the data collected. Mobile Aspects' products use Texas Instruments' Tag-it HF-I high-frequency (HF) RFID tags, which support the ISO 15693 standard.

Impinj Signs Agreement with MD Soluciones de Identificación
MD Soluciones de Identificación and Impinj have inked a deal in which MD Soluciones will resell Impinj's RFID readers in the Spanish and Portuguese markets. MD Soluciones is a provider of codification, identification and industrial labeling systems in Spain, Portugal and Germany, and also serves as a systems integrator in RFID projects. MD Soluciones is the lead integrator on an RFID project with Grupo Leche Pascual, a Spanish producer of packaged foods, which is testing RFID to track goods as they are produced and packed at a dairy production plant (see Leche Pascual Plans to Use RFID to Pack and Track Food Products). The agreement with Impinj, the company says, is the first in a series of international alliances on which MD Soluciones plans to embark. To date, it has invested more than €1.2 million euros ($1.6 million) on RFID and expects that to increase to 6 million over the next four years.

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