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Weyerhaeuser Snaps Up Printed RFID Startup

Weyerhaeuser, the $22.6 billion conglomerate known to most as a timber company, today announced that it has acquired OrganicID, a developer of printed RFID. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Aug 31, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

August 31, 2006—Weyerhaeuser, the $22.6 billion conglomerate known to most as a timber company, today announced that it has acquired OrganicID, a developer of printed RFID. Financial terms were not disclosed.

OrganicID is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was founded in December 2003 with seed capital from ITU Ventures. (GDBA Investments is also cited as an investor on the investors page.) The company's stated mission is "to develop a low-cost organic electronic process technology that will enable the production and commercialization of printable electronic RFID tags for bar code replacement."

Printed RFID, also referred to as "organic" or "plastic" RFID, is a method of producing tags by printing electronic inks that have characteristics similar to those found in the standard silicon microchips produced by the likes of Impinj, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, and Philips Semiconductors. The advantage that printed RFID offers over silicon is cost. Potentially, printed RFID technology could yield RFID chips that cost under one US cent. Such technology would revolutionize item-level tagging, making it economically justifiable for a vast array of consumer goods beyond the high-value products like pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, and DVDs that are individually tagged today. At this point, however, the technology has years before it will be able to produce EPC-compliant tags that offer the functionality of silicon.

That's not to say there hasn't been considerable progress. Last April, OrganicID announced that it had achieved standard 13.56 MHz high frequency using organic material. PolyIC, another printed RFID company that is a joint venture between conglomerate Siemens and hot stamping technology supplier KURZ, recently reaffirmed its commitment to bring the first printed RFID tags to market next year. Called "PolyID", they will be standardized high frequency tags.

While Weyerhaeuser offered very little detail in the announcement about why it purchased OrganicID or its intentions for the company, the 4,000-employee giant has businesses in a number of areas that could benefit from cutting edge printed RFID, including packaging, shipping, and paper. Regardless of its intentions, the mere fact that the company snapped up the printed RFID intellectual property lends major weight to the technology's potential.

Read the announcement from Weyerhaeuser
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