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Intelleflex Demos Long-Distance Cattle Tags
At the Calgary Stockyards, the systems provider showed that its battery-assisted passive RFID ear tags could be read on roaming animals inside a 30-by-15-foot auction ring.
Nov 26, 2007—Santa Clara, Calif., RFID systems provider Intelleflex recently demonstrated its battery-assisted passive (BAP) RFID technology at the Calgary Stockyards in Canada. The demonstration, conducted in early September and announced this week at the RFID Journal LIVE! Canada 2007 conference in Toronto, consists of Intelleflex's BAP UHF inlays, which operate at the 902-928 MHz ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) band and comply with EPCglobal's proposed Class 3 standard. The demonstration system was designed so that multiple tags could be read as the cattle entered and moved across the auction ring, a 30-foot by 15-foot area where the cattle can be viewed and auctioned.
Tracking cattle and other livestock with RFID tags is not a new practice. In fact, hundreds of thousands of animals are currently tracked using the technology. But for the most part, culling the unique ID numbers off the cattle tags has involved reading the tags individually using handheld devices because the majority of tags in use operate at low frequency (125 or 134.2 kHz) and, therefore, have a very short read range. Now, Intelleflex says it's come up with a solution that will enable ranchers, auctioneers and others to scan multiple tagged cattle—even when they're moving.
The Intelleflex inlays demonstrated at the stockyards were molded into plastic livestock RFID tags from the Destron Fearing division of Digital Angel and attached to cows' ears. The demonstration included one Intelleflex RFID interrogator and two pairs of RFID antennas. One pair was placed just below the stand, and other at the opposite end of the ring from the stand.
Twenty-four cattle were tagged for the demonstration. For part of the testing, the cattle were moved into the ring, and the tags were read when they settled. The demonstration also tested whether the tags could be read as the cattle were moved through the ring; according to the company, the system was able to read all the tags during each phase of the trial.
The system has the potential to help track animals from their point of origin, and as they change hands between buyers and sellers at the "speed of commerce," says Steve Smith, senior VP of worldwide sales at Intelleflex. Such visibility would improve traceability so that, for instance, in the event of a disease breakout, all animals that could have come into contact with an infected cow could be located.
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