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Tego Launches 32-Kilobyte EPC RFID Tag

The company's passive UHF TegoTag can be read by any standard EPC Gen 2 reader. Aircraft maker Airbus is testing a prototype.
By Beth Bacheldor
Feb 02, 2009Startup tag maker Tego has taken the wraps off its first product, the TegoTag, a passive RFID tag with 32 kilobytes of memory—far more than current UHF EPC Gen 2 tags. The extra memory, the company reports, will enable companies to encode large amounts of information to the tag, as well as access that data directly from the tag, without the need for battery power and using a standard EPC Gen 2 interrogator.

According to Tego, the TegoTag is compliant with aspects of Spec 2000, an aviation industry standard administered by the Air Transport Association that defines methods for sharing information among airlines, manufacturers, suppliers and repair agencies.

What sets TegoTags apart from other UHF EPC Gen 2 tags, says the company's CEO, Tim Butler, is the amount of data they can store. "Typically," he explains, "the UHF tags can store license plates, in terms of the information, and we are essentially making it so that you can put a whole novel on the tag."

Tego believes its TegoTag is the first EPC Gen 2 tag on the market to offer 32 kilobytes of memory. Most UHF tags, Butler says, can store only 96 to 512 bits of data. In January 2008, Fujitsu announced that it had developed a 64-kilobyte passive UHF tag, compliant with the EPC Gen 2 standard, and that the tag would become available sometime in 2008 (see Boeing Approves Intelleflex Chip, Weighs Higher-Memory Fujitsu Tag). That tag, however, has yet to become commercially released. "The tag is not commercially available at the moment," says Aya Kagawa, a spokesperson for Fujitsu, "and we are still in the preparation process; thus, the expected date for the availability is not yet determined either."

There are plenty of applications that could make use of the high-memory tag, Butler says. For instance, the aviation industry could utilize the memory to record the lifecycle and history of a specific part on an airplane, from its point of manufacture, through all inspections and repairs, including the component's entire maintenance history, and on to its disposal. The data can be accessed by any party—be it the part's maker, the manufacturer of the aircraft on which that component is installed or an airline that purchases that particular aircraft—as long as that party has a standard EPC Gen 2 reader.

Both Boeing and Airbus have committed to using EPC Gen 2 RFID tags on aircraft parts, and the two manufacturers have collaborated extensively on standards regarding the use of RFID technology in aerospace applications. The firms have been working together to create a common specification for the RFID tags they'd like to use for tracking and maintaining maintenance records on aircraft parts (see Boeing Outlines Tagging Timetable).

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