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RFID News Roundup

TagMaster gets million-dollar order for railway project; Ceitec develops RFID chip, livestock tag for Brazilian market; Arygon launches high-speed NFC reader; Germany to issue RFID-enabled national ID cards.
Dec 24, 2009The following are news announcements made during the past week.

TagMaster Gets Million-Dollar Order for Railway Project
TagMaster, a Swedish manufacturer of RFID solutions for rail and transportation applications, has announced it has received an order for its RFID readers and tags valued at three million Swedish kroner (approximately $1.3 million), from reseller Generale Sistemi. The RFID equipment will be used to automatically identify rail vehicles on a mainline vehicle condition monitoring system. "In Italy, the technologies and diagnostic systems are very advanced," said Adolfo Deltodesco, the GM of Generale Sistemi division TagItalia, in a prepared statement, "and major companies such as MERMEC, Tecnogamma, Sirti, Ansaldo, Delta Sistemi and others are now heavily engaged in the development of so-called multifunctional train condition monitoring portals." These portals, Deltodesco explains, are placed along the line to automatically measure bearing temperatures and other essential diagnostic parameters necessary to ensure rail safety. The system is expected to be deployed in early 2010, according to Richard Holt, TagMaster's director of transportation solutions, and will ultimately be employed to identify more than 20,000 train cars. The order includes the company's LR-6HD interrogator, a 2.45 GHz RFID reader with a read range of up to 6 meters (20 feet), that will be installed alongside railroad tracks, as well as the 145500 HD ID-Tag, a read-only 2.45 GHz heavy-duty RFID tag, for which the tag ID is set to a unique eight-digit number. The tags will be installed on each car or wagon. The interrogators, able to read the tags at speeds of more than 300 kilometers per hour (186 miles per hour), will be connected to the condition-monitoring system, with the reader identifying each train car that passes. The RFID system allows a real-time analysis of the measured conditions to be directly associated with the precise identity of each carriage or wagon examined.

Ceitec Develops RFID Chip, Livestock Tag for Brazilian Market
Ceitec S.A., a Brazilian firm focused in the development and production of products for the RFID, wireless communications and digital multimedia market segments, has announced a new RFID tag designed for identifying and tracking livestock. The company first developed the DO BOI livestock-identification chip, a passive 125 kHz RFID chip complying with the ISO 11784 and 11785 standards, and then created an RFID tag using that chip. The tag is designed to electronically track and collect data about a herd, thus enabling farmers to monitor cattle from birth through slaughter, including information about vaccinations and health records. According to the company, the chip can be read while cattle are moving, and the data collected from the tags can be sent from interrogators (either handheld or fixed in portals, or gates) to back-end systems via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or serial cable connections. The city of Minas Gerais launched field trials of the Do Boi RFID device, the final step before sample production. The RFID tags were applied to 500 cows on the Santa Rita Experimental Farm, a unit of the Agricultural Research Corporation of Minas Gerais. The farm is the first to receive the RFID tags. In all, Ceitec indicates it plans to test 10,000 RFID tags on other farms in various regions of Brazil. "The completion of Ceitec's first chip design offers proof of Brazil's ability to produce advanced microelectronics within our borders," said Sergio Rezende, the nation's minister of science and technology, in a prepared statement. "After chip production starts to ramp up in the company's state-of-the-art semiconductor fab, it will help to fulfill our goal of making technology a more prominent part of our country's economy." The company plans to produce the chip at its Porto Alegre plant, where its engineers developed all of the intellectual property for this RFID chip design.

Arygon Launches High-Speed NFC Reader
Arygon, a Mainz, Germany, developer and manufacturer of advanced RFID reader modules for personal identification and payment, has introduced a customizable high-speed Near Field Communications (NFC) reader platform for authenticating, interrogating and writing NXP Semiconductors' Mifare and Sony's FeliCa families of transponders. The reader module will be offered in partnership with sister company Multicard Australia, a provider of identification technology. The Arygon NFC reader is a customizable hardware and firmware platform for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and includes options for contact card and secure access module (SAM) slots, custom printed circuit board (PCB) sizes and host interfaces (USB, RS232 and so forth), as well as environment-specific antenna designs or application-compliant firmware solutions for various EEPROM sizes (64 kilobytes up to 512 kilobytes). "It offers OEM RFID providers the opportunity to grow with their evolving customer infrastructure and application needs: e.g., it already complies with all major existing payment infrastructures and card standards offering full interoperability, and in addition also offers sufficient reserves to implement future system enhancements in regard to higher security and NFC usage without exchanging reader infrastructure," said Scott Austin, president of Multicard Australia, in a prepared statement. "This will save costs for servicing, upgrading and maintaining RFID reader infrastructures."

Germany to Issue RFID-enabled National ID Cards
Germany's interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, has announced that the country's Federal Ministry of the Interior will begin issuing national ID cards containing RFID chips beginning in November 2010. Identification information printed on the card will also be digitally stored on the RFID chip inside the card. In addition, the chip will store two fingerprint scans, which German citizens can opt out of, and the ID will contain a digital signature, accessible by a six-digit PIN, that can be used to complete official business with government offices. All old identification cards will be valid until they expire, though German residents will have the option of trading up for the new ID early, if they so choose.
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