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Tego Offers New 2-Kilobit Chip

The TegoChip 2000 enables the aerospace industry to use a smaller, less expensive UHF passive RFID tag with greater data storage capacity than that of traditional EPC Gen 2 tags.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 17, 2011In response to the aerospace industry's interest in acquiring higher data storage space in a low-memory tag, Massachusetts RFID chip and tag manufacturer Tego Inc. has released its TegoChip 2000, a 2-kilobit EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) chip that will allow aerospace industry users to encode more than just the standard serial number and other required identifier data. A tag made with the TegoChip 2000 chip, the company reports, would be cheaper and smaller than tags produced with higher-memory chips.

An RFID tag used by aerospace customers—aircraft parts manufacturers and aircraft companies—must meet the Air Transport Association (ATA) Spec 2000 standard, which requires that specific information be encoded on the tag, including a serial number, a part number and the product's manufacturer. Most EPC Gen 2 chips currently on the market have a maximum of 512 or 1500 bits of memory, however, and can thus store only that data, and nothing more, according to Tim Butler, Tego's president and CEO.

The TegoChip 2000's 2 kilobits provide four times the amount of memory available on a 512-bit chip, while being smaller and less expensive than Tego's high-memory 4- or 8-kilobyte chips (A Flurry of High-Memory Tags Take Flight). Typically, Butler says, RFID tag manufacturers sell tags made with Tego's 4- or 8-kilobyte TegoChip XL chips for between $10 and $18 apiece, while the company expects a tag produced with the TegoChip 2000 to cost between $3.50 and $8. Currently Airbus and its suppliers are attaching tags made with the high-memory chips to components for the A350 XWB wide-body aircraft.

Butler says Tego had learned from its aviation customers about the need for a lower-memory chip that could enable them to save more data than just the basic serial number and other identifiers. The TegoChip 2000's memory can accommodate not only extended EPC codes up to 496 bits, he notes, but also such information as a part's birth record—which standard low-memory tags can not do.

Jon Andresen, the president of Technology Solutions LLC, which provides consulting services to Boeing and other aviation customers, says end users would like to be able to store maintenance scheduling and other data, in order to track when parts are inspected or maintained. What's more, he says, his customers have indicated an interest in tracking expiration dates and ensuring that products are put to use in the order that they are made, thereby reducing an item's risk of reaching its expiring date before use. However, Andresen adds, "this is all a little premature," since few aerospace companies are yet prepared to purchase and use the RFID technology in this way, until the economy improves. "We're still early in the adoption cycle," he states. "The airline industry is still adjusting to the economic situation." However, he notes, he expects that companies in that sector will adopt RFID technology, and that there will be a demand for chips such as the TegoChip 2000, even if it takes more than a year for that to occur.

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