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Updates in Pharma, Retail, and Library Systems

This week has seen a handful of stories about RFID's steady and global march into the pharmaceutical, retail, and library management sectors. This article from recaps the developments.
Jan 26, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

January 26, 2006—This week has seen a handful of stories about RFID's steady and global march into the pharmaceutical, retail, and library management sectors.

Merck Invests in Advancing RFID Technology

in-PharmaTechnologist.com reports that pharmaceutical giant Merck will invest EUR1 million (about US$ 1.2 million) in a research laboratory at the Technical University of Darmstadt in Darmstadt, Germany. The goal of "Merck Lab" will be to create cheaper RFID technology for application in the fight against drug counterfeiting. Ten people will work in the lab, researching the "novel inorganic composite materials that could be used as printable components in the development of new RFID chips," according to the report. While situated in the university's Chemicals Department, the lab will draw on multi-disciplinary expertise, from materials science to inorganic chemistry to printing machinery design and technology.

RFID Update predicts pharma will be one of the hot stories in RFID this year, as roll-outs continue (Pfizer started shipping RFID-tagged Viagra earlier this month) and the US Food and Drug Administration's electronic pedigree regulations kick in toward year-end.

Wal-Mart Gives Gen2 Thumbs Up

According to DC Velocity, Wal-Mart's chief RFID strategist Simon Langford made a number of positive remarks about RFID at this week's RFID Academic Convocation at MIT. Most significantly, he affirmed that Gen2 technology is demonstrating desired improvements in performance, a "real step change" over Gen1. He also said that the giant retailer may deploy up to 100 RFID reader-equipped forklifts at Sam's Club stores around the country before the end of 2006. Evidencing a strategy to capture and react to RFID data as often as possible, he envisioned wearable readers. Such technology would allow supply movement at the retail level to be so intelligent as to give employees directions and actionable information in true real-time.

UPM Raflatac Goes to China

In its first announcement since rebranding as UPM Raflatac last week, the company previously referred to as Rafsec has landed a deal to outfit the Jimei University Library in Xiamen, China, with an RFID book-tagging solution. The technology will allow the automation of currently labor-intensive tasks like book locating, sorting, and checking in and out. The contract calls for 300,000 tags, which the company says are specially designed for library applications. The initiative will expand later in the year with installations at other libraries on the campus.
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