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RFID News Roundup

Motorola unveils bar-code-RFID point-of-sale reader; Metalcraft announces universal RFID tags; Airbus extends RFID service contract with OATSystems; Impinj and Digilogics partner on RFID solutions for Mexico; Ubisense RTLS to manage buses, trams in Berlin; UPM Raflatac rolls out DogBone with Impinj Monza 4QT chip.
Apr 16, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Motorola Unveils Bar-code-RFID Point-of-Sale Reader
Motorola's Enterprise Mobility Solutions business has unveiled what it claims is the world's first point-of-sale (POS) device that can read both RFID tags (EPC Gen 2) and bar codes (1-D and 2-D). According to Motorola, the hybrid device, known as the DS9808-R, enables RFID usage for POS checkout, price checking, new inventory commission, separated inventory identification (e.g., items taken to fitting rooms) and returns processing. It also enables instant translation of the RFID EPC tag data to UPC bar-code data, allowing retailers to implement RFID information into existing bar-code-based inventory applications, the company reports. The device can function as both a hands-free and handheld device. The DS9808-R continually reads RFID tags in the working field, and emits a beep as a tag's data is captured. Filtering, however, prevents multiple entries of the same tag. The DS9808-R's imager incorporates an array of data-capture technologies, Motorola indicates, including PDF417 bar-code format and the ability to read bar codes and images from a mobile phone display. The firm has also introduced its MC9090-G RFID ER handheld interrogator, which leverages the existing MC9090-G and adds extended range (ER) bar-code scanning. It has the ability to capture 1-D bar codes from as close as 4 inches to as far away as 40 feet, Motorola reports, thereby eliminating the need and associated costs of using multiple devices for disparate and specific work tasks. The device supports U.S. and Asia-Pacific ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID frequencies, as well as Europe's ETSI EN 302 208 regulation. What's more, the company adds, it is constructed to withstand rigorous use in extreme environments and a wide variety of working conditions, so it can be used on a manufacturing floor, in a warehouse, on a loading dock and out in a yard. The device also includes modular keypads, a rugged touch panel and an easy-to-read display. The DS9808-R and MC9090-G RFID ER readers are expected to be available from Motorola and its partners in the second quarter of 2010.

Metalcraft Announces Universal RFID Tags
Metalcraft has announced the availability of its Universal RFID tags, designed to deliver long read ranges regardless of the mounting surface. Both Universal tag models can be custom-printed with bar coding and other information. The Universal RFID Asset Tag—which measures 2.9 inches long by 1.4 inches wide by 0.09 inch thick—is a metal-mount tag with a read range of approximately 15 feet. The patent-pending inlay adheres to a durable, flexible label with subsurface printing that protects bar codes, logos and other information from chemicals and abrasion. The Universal RFID Hard Tag—which measures 4.25 inches long by 1.75 inches wide by 0.07 inch thick—has a read range of approximately 15 feet. The tag's impact-resistant housing is combined with an ultrasonically welded seal that protects the subsurface printed label and the RFID inlay from harsh environments, including harmful UV rays. It is designed to withstand heavy impact, the company reports, and can be read after resurfacing from submersion in more than 20 feet of water. The housing comes standard with two holes for mechanical fasteners, and permanent pressure-sensitive adhesive is also available as an optional affixing method. The Universal RFID Hard Tag's clear housing enables customers to read its customized label. "Metalcraft's Universal RFID Asset Tag is the closest to a one-tag-fits-all solution," says Steve Doerfler, the company's president. "Our Universal RFID tags represent Metalcraft's strongest effort to date in creating low-cost, durable products for asset tracking with RFID." The Universal RFID Asset Tag and Universal Hard Tag are being showcased in Booth 502 at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010, being held this week in Orlando, Fla.

UPM Raflatac Rolls Out DogBone Tag With Impinj Monza 4QT Chip
UPM Raflatac has introduced a new DogBone passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID product that, according to the company, is optimized to deliver greater global performance over a wide range of challenging materials, and is equipped with new security features. The new offering debuted at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010, being held this week in Orlando, Fla. The new DogBone tag incorporates Impinj's Monza 4QT chip. The Monza 4 family of chips, announced this past February, offers increased read range, orientation insensitivity, memory and innovative privacy features compared with previous Monza versions (see Impinj Launches New High-Performance RFID Chips). The new DogBone tag features QT technology, designed to safeguard the confidentiality of data stored on tags that cross public spaces, without compromising easy accessibility to the information. According to UPM Raflatac, the tag supports frequencies in use worldwide; has an antenna size of 86 millimeters (3.4 inches) by 24 millimeters (0.9 inch); offers extended user memory up to 512 bits, EPC memory up to 496 bits and a serial tag ID (STID); and is suitable for challenging supply chain management and industrial applications.

Airbus Extends RFID Service Contract With OATSystems
OATSystems, a division of Checkpoint Systems, has announced that Airbus has extended its contract for OATSystems' auto-ID and RFID software services for three additional years. The contract extension was announced at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010, being held this week in Orlando, Fla. In early 2008, Airbus selected OATSystems and its partners to provide a multimillion-dollar, multiyear auto-ID software platform for RFID device management and asset tracking (see Airbus Trials Showing Strong Results). In parallel, Airbus also entered into an initial two-year service contract with OATSystems to deploy its software platform, which is part of Airbus' auto-ID standard corporate architecture. Since then, OATSystems says it has delivered a variety of solutions to help Airbus streamline its operations across the supply chain, manufacturing and assembly domains. In 2007, Airbus launched a pilot project at an assembly plant in Hamburg, Germany, in which an RFID interrogator, mounted on a cargo loader, collected the unique identifier encoded to a passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tag attached to large metal frames used to transport aircraft sections between manufacturing and assembly facilities. The firm decided to permanently roll out that application in 2008, and continues to expand its use of RFID today.

Impinj and Digilogics Partner on RFID Solutions in Mexico
Impinj and Mexico-based label-stock converter Digilogics have announced that the Mexican government has certified Impinj's UHF EPC Gen 2-compliant Speedway Revolution reader for purchase by state agencies and the automotive industry, in compliance with the electronic vehicle registration initiative of the country's public vehicle registry, Registro Publico Vehicular (REPUVE). All cars, trucks, buses and other public vehicles, as well as automobile manufacturers and importers, must participate in the countrywide vehicle identification program. The Speedway Revolution reader will be used to encode required data onto REPUVE-sanctioned EPC Gen 2 tags that the initiative requires on all new vehicles by July 2010. In addition, the two firms indicate, Digilogics is developing software to exploit the unique capabilities of the Speedway Revolution to allow use beyond the REPUVE program, including in warehouse-management systems (WMS) and other critical business processes. Other companies supporting REPUVE include Neology (see RFID News Roundup: Mexican Border Patrol, State Governments Leverage RFID Vehicle Registration).

Ubisense RTLS to Manage Buses, Trams in Berlin
The Jena Transit Authority (JNV), in Berlin, Germany, is employing an RFID-based real-time locating system (RTLS) from Ubisense at two depots, to help manage buses and trams. Ubisense's system is based on ultra-wideband (UWB) active RFID tags. The company worked with Verkehrsautomatisierung Berlin (VAB) on the implementation. The solution is designed to help the transit authority track its fleet of 80 buses and trams in real time; location tracking for an additional 30 vehicles, owned by another organization and housed at a JNV depot, will be added in the near future, according to Ubisense. At the Burgau depot, the system is installed over an area of more than 40,000 square meters (430,560 feet), and covers the outdoor yard area, where the buses are parked, as well as the indoor halls, housing trams, buses and workshop areas. The RTLS covers an outside parking area, in a large, open area at JNV's north depot. The solution consists of a number of sensors that continuously provide real-time location positions, accurate to 1 meter (3.3 feet) or less. This positioning, according to Ubisense, allows vehicles to be assigned to a particular track or parking place. The RTLS also supplies information for the VAB's depot-management system, providing alerts when vehicles arrive or leave the depot. Each vehicle is equipped with a Ubisense tag, and Ubisense readers are located at various positions around the facility, monitoring the signals emitted from the tags. Using this information, the system determines the vehicles' locations, which are then displayed in real time, thus ensuring the efficient management of maintenance, cleaning and other routine processes. In 2009, Minneapolis and St. Paul's Metro Transit, which provides public transportation for a seven-county area around Minnesota's Twin Cities, announced it was using Ubisense's RTLS within its five bus depots (see Twin Cities' Bus Garages Increase Visibility).
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