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Converter Licenses Innovative RFID Antenna Technology

Label converter Nashua signed an exclusive license to use patented, non-traditional RFID antennas from Fractal Antenna Systems. Fractal designs feature repeating geometric patterns to produce compact antennas that reportedly have more range and precision than traditional designs. Nashua intends to include Fractal's antennas in Gen2 tags.
Tags: Labeling
Jun 15, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

June 15, 2007—Smart label converter Nashua is bringing an innovative tag antenna technology to the RFID industry through an exclusive licensing agreement with Fractal Antenna Systems. (Recall that an RFID tag antenna is the component used to send and receive data from the tag's chip. Examples include the set of concentric metallic lines that wrap around the tag perimeter in familiar designs such as these, or the squiggly part of Alien's distinctive Squiggle tag.)

Tag antennas made with fractal designs feature a series of intricate, connected geometric shapes. Fractal Antenna Systems holds several patents for the technology, and claims its antennas are typically 50 to 75 percent smaller than traditional designs but provide more range and accuracy.

"Initial testing has shown increased read efficiencies compared to tag antenna designs of the same or larger size," Bob Pernice, Nashua's director of RFID marketing and sales, told RFID Update. "Potential applications likely would be those that require an efficient antenna in a smaller form factor."

Pernice said Nashua plans to use the technology for passive UHF smart labels, including EPCglobal Gen2 and ISO 18000-6C versions. Encoders and readers that support those protocols do not have to be modified to process RFID tags with fractal-style antennas, according to Pernice.

Fractal Antenna Systems gave Nashua exclusive manufacturing and distribution rights for passive RFID smart labels using its antenna technology. Nashua will continue to offer RFID inlays from its other partners, who include Alien Technology, Avery Dennison, Motorola (formerly Symbol Technologies), and UPM Raflatac.

Pernice told RFID Update that Nashua hasn't determined specific markets and applications where it will recommend fractal antennas for its customers, beyond those requiring small labels.

"Nashua was looking to differentiate itself among the large pool of RFID label converters that collected following the retail and DoD mandates," he said.

Fractal Antenna Systems also provides antennas used in mobile phones, wireless PDAs, telematics devices, and wireless networks, and it has a large portfolio of products for the defense industry. Numerous frequencies and wireless protocols are supported. The company was founded in 1995 by Dr. Nathan Cohen, then a university professor who applied the geometric principals of fractals to antenna technology.

Read the announcement from Nashua & Fractal
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