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New Component to Simplify RFID Tag Production

Murata announced a new RFID tag chip which it says enables simpler and lower cost tag production. The company's new Gen2-standard MAGICSTRAP is available in sample quantities now and is scheduled for full production later this year.
Jul 01, 2009This article was originally published by RFID Update.

July 1, 2009—Japanese electronics manufacturer Murata introduced MAGICSTRAP, a small new Gen2 chip component it says is easier and less expensive to convert into tags and labels than other RFID chips on the market. The MAGICSTRAP assembly enables the chip to connect to an inlay antenna by inductive coupling, which Murata says requires much less placement accuracy during the conversion process than traditional techniques. The reduced need for accuracy results in reduced manufacturing complexity, which in turn reduces overall cost.

"MAGICSTRAP is inductive-coupled to the antenna, so there is no need for a conductive electrical contact between MAGICSTRAP and the antenna. Millimeter accuracy of placement is enough," Alex Schmoldt, business development engineer at Murata Europe told RFID Update.

MAGICSTRAP combines Murata's proprietary circuitry with a Gen2 chip it obtains from another manufacturer into a component ready for attachment to an inlay antenna and conversion into a tag. A typical MAGICSTRAP construction would consist of the chip glued to a thin conductive foil antenna pattern on a paper tag or inlay. Murata provides an antenna reference design. The placement flexibility and inductive coupling method create production cost advantages, according to the company. It says MAGICSTRAPs can even be mounted to the antenna by hand, and that expensive placement machinery is unnecessary.

Target markets for the chip include PCB manufacturers who want to track their products with RFID, plus RFID tag and inlay producers. The tag measures 1.6 by 1.2 by 0.25 millimeters and has a read range of up to 5 meters. It conforms to the Gen2 standard and can be produced with different ICs to provide multiple memory and feature options. More details are available in the announcement.

Sample chips are available now. Murata plans to begin mass production of the MAGICSTRAP chip later this year at its facility in Fukui, Japan. This is Murata's second generation MAGICSTRAP component. It is 80 percent smaller and costs 25 percent less to produce than the original.

There have been relatively few new UHF chip and tag releases this year compared to years past. Notable developments occurred in February when Tego released samples of its high-memory TegoTags (see Memorable Development: Tego Releases 32K RFID Tags) and in January when Chinese firm Invengo Technology entered the North American market (see Invengo Drops Gen2 Inlay Price to 5.8 Cents).
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