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RFID News Roundup

Tagsys-Dreamydress solution tracks garments in hundreds of nursing homes; iGPS intros RFID pallet rental service for pharmaceuticals, life sciences; University of Chicago Medical Center tests Proventix hand-hygiene system; DAP Technologies debuts rugged RFID-enabled PDA; German foil manufacturer unveils ultra-thin passive RFID antenna.
Oct 21, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Tagsys-Dreamydress Solution Tracks Garments in Hundreds of Nursing Homes
Tagsys, a provider of item-level RFID infrastructure, and its partner Dreamydress, a provider of software and logistics solutions for the traceability of textile products, have announced that they have deployed more RFID-enabled tracking solutions in more than 200 nursing homes in France and Italy during the past two years. The RFID solutions, the two companies say, are designed to automate the tracking of employee uniforms and the personal garments of nursing home residents, thus eliminating the manual handling and lack of reliable identifiers that often lead to errors in the distribution process and to productivity losses for staff having to spend more time sorting and searching for items rather than caring for patients' needs. The goal is to automatically sort the clean items by nursing home, floor and room and accurately deliver them to the right patient. The solutions leverage Tagsys' rugged Ario 370L-DL tags made with high-frequency (HF) RFID chips complying with the ISO 15693 standard. The Tagsys button-shaped RFID tag is sewed directly onto each garment or piece of linen, and the ID number encoded to the tag is linked to the patient or establishment to which that item belongs. The solution also includes tunnel readers for rapid check-in and checkout of tagged items, a smart-shelving system with LEDs to ease the sorting of residents' garments, and portable RFID readers for rapid control of cabinet contents to ensure that each patient's lot is complete and accurate, the companies say.

iGPS Intros RFID Pallet Rental Service for Pharmaceuticals, Life Sciences
Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS), a provider all-plastic pallets with embedded RFID tags, has announced a pallet-rental service specifically designed specifically to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. The new service—iGPS bios—follows a year of research and provides a level of pallet hygiene and security that cannot be achieved with pallets made of wood or other organic materials, the company says. The iGPS bios program consists of RFID-enabled rental pallets that have won NSF International Food Equipment Sanitization Certification. Before being leased out, each pallet is individually washed and sanitized at an iGPS facility, then immediately enclosed in protective wrapping to maintain its hygienic condition. "This wrapping will prevent bacteria, pathogens, and chemical contaminants, whether airborne or on supply chain surfaces, from contaminating bios pallets," said Bob Moore, iGPS chairman and CEO, said in a prepared statement. "The iGPS bios pallets delivered to our customers will be ideal for their purposes—lightweight, robustly constructed, hygienic, made of inorganic material and discretely traceable across the supply chain. Pharmaceutical companies that utilize the iGPS bios program can be confident that the pallets they receive from iGPS are new or like-new and are free of paint and toxic pesticides and fungicides, like TBA. This level of hygiene and platform quality is impossible with pallets made of wood." Each iGPS pallet has four EPC Gen 2 passive UHF RFID tags embedded in its frame, which enables tracking and tracing throughout the supply chain (see IGPS Rolls Out RFID-Enabled Plastic Pallets). In addition, iGPS also begun equipping its fleet of pallets with Enfora Spider AT battery-powered GSM/GPRS/GPS wireless tags. The Spider AT, the company says, can transmit critical information about iGPS pallets, including iGPS-defined alerts, specific events and highly accurate pallet location.

University of Chicago Medical Center Tests Proventix Hand Hygiene System
Proventix has announced that the University of Chicago Medical Center will begin testing the firm's RFID-enabled nGage touchless hand-hygiene system at one of the hospital's clinical units, as part of its initiative to improve hand-hygiene quality and compliance monitoring. "We have done extensive research in this field on the products that are available for radio-frequency identification badge-based hand-hygiene compliance monitoring, and we are interested in finding a system that could become a part of our clinical culture," said Emily Mawdsley, a medicine instructor and an associate hospital epidemiologist at the University of Chicago Medical Center, in a prepared statement. The nGage system includes customized RFID readers and battery-powered tags that operate at 2.4 GHz and utilize the IEEE 802.15.4 (ZigBee) specification to monitors hand-hygiene around the clock without any disruption to workflow. Each staff member wears a 3.5-inch-long plastic badge containing an RFID tag encoded with a unique ID number linked to that individual's name, position and other details in the Proventix standalone software system. When a caregiver approaches the hand-washing station, an RFID reader identifies that person and a LCD screen above the sanitizer dispenser can display information specific to that doctor or nurse and the patient being treated. Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala., has also deployed the nGage system (see RFID-based Hand-Hygiene System Prevents Health-care Acquired Infections).

DAP Technologies Debuts Rugged RFID-enabled PDA
DAP Technologies has introduced its M2000 series PDA, a rugged handheld computer built on the Windows CE operating system. The M200 is available with a high-frequency (HF) or ultra-high frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 reader as a plug-in module that can be upgraded to include other RFID technologies in the future. The PDA has 128 megabytes of SDRAM and 1 gigabyte flash ROM in a device measuring 6 by 3 by 1.25 inches and weighing 13.4 ounce. It communicates wirelessly via 802.11b/g, Bluetooth and the optional GPRS/EDGE and features a user-accessible SD slot and hot-swappable battery. It has IP65 rated, which signifies that it is protected against dust and low-pressure jets of water from all directions and is engineered to withstand multiple 1.5 meter (5 foot) drops to concrete and to operate at temperatures between -4 degrees and +122 degrees Fahrenheit, the company says. "Equip it with an RFID reader and it can inventory an entire truck or pallet's passive or active RFID tags in seconds," Khalid Kidari, DAP's director of product management and marketing, said in a prepared statement.

German Foil Manufacturer Unveils Ultra-Thin Passive RFID Antenna
Leonhard Kurz, an international manufacturer of decorative and functional foil and coatings, has announced a new passive smart card inlay equipped with a very thin RFID antenna. Called Secobo, the copper antenna is just eight to 12 micrometers in thickness, and its architecture includes antenna windings on both the front and rear side of the carrier foil, thereby creating an antenna with a high reading range yet low material usage, according to the company. Kurz will present the new Secobo inlay at Cartes & Identification 2010 symposium this December in Paris, France. The new antenna design can be tailored to all commonly available microchip types, according to Kurz. The company supplies the antenna and chip as a passive RFID inlay that can be directly further processed, and the big advantage of this inlay, according to Kurz, is its minimal thickness of just 250 micrometers. It can optionally be supplied with an additional protective layer, in which case the thickness is 400 micrometers. The small thickness of the inlay provides card manufacturers with more flexibility in card construction because it allows them to select thicker PVC layers as the cover layer, the company says, adding that the collation of Secobo inlays into complete card bodies can be performed at exceptionally high speeds. The MWS-750 Web Collator, which Kurz developed especially for high-speed applications in the card industry, can process up to 1,200 inlay sheets per hour.
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