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Are There Any ATEX-certified RFID Products?
If so, who offers them?
Yes, there are.
Tectus Transponder Technology and Kathrein partnered in 2012 on a complete line of ATEX-certified ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID products. ATEX certification products comply with two European Union (EU) directives describing which equipment is allowed within an environment containing an explosive atmosphere. The new products—which include a variety of low-, mid- and wide-range antenna types and two different reader versions—are certified for ATEX zones 2 and 22. Zone 2 is an atmosphere in which a mixture of air and flammable substances in the form of gas, vapor or mist is not likely to occur in normal operation—but in the event that it does occur, it will persist for only a short period. And zone 22 is an atmosphere in which a cloud of combustible dust in the air is not likely to occur in normal operation—but if it does occur, it will persist for only a short period (see RFID News Roundup: Tectus, Kathrein Team Up on RFID Readers and Antennas for Use Within Explosive Environments).
The new ATEX UHF RFID Long Range Reader (model TPF-80-INT-ETHER) has an integrated antenna, according to Tectus and Kathrein, and is designed for single-read points. The second new Long Range Reader (TPF-80-EXT-ETHER) is suitable for controlling up to four external antennas, the partners report. The antenna-integrated TPF-80-INT-ETHER version is suitable for single-read points, in order to reduce the complex installation of antenna cable. Both units are based on Kathrein's RFID reader, and comply with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards. The units feature an Ethernet port and are equipped with up to four digital inputs and four digital outputs for additional control tasks. In addition, both models are IP 65-rated, meaning that testing has confirmed them to be dustproof and waterproof. The long-range TPA-UHF-270-LR model is housed in plastic, measures 270 millimeters by 270 millimeters by 45 millimeters (10.6 inches by 10.6 inches by 1.8 inches), and is IP 65-rated. The mid-range antenna is IP 67-rated, which means it is dustproof and waterproof, and is able to withstand submersion in water for brief periods of time. And the short-range TPA-UHF-90-SR model also has an IP 67 rating.
HID Global's IN Tag portfolio is ATEX-certified as well. These industrial RFID tags, which include water-, chemical- and shock-resistant disc tags, are available in low-frequency (LF), high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) versions, as well as the company's new HF IN Tag 200 OM and 500 OM 13.56 MHz transponders, designed for metal assets. The company's entire Glass Tag line of industrial transponders is also ATEX-certified (see RFID News Roundup: HID Global Achieves ATEX Certification for Tags).
William Frick & Co. offers the ATEX-certified Armored 300C Tag, a UHF tag based on the EPC Gen 2 standard. This model tag was designed for extreme high-temperature applications (see William Frick Intros Armored 300C RFID Tag for Extreme, High-Temperature Applications).
Confidex's Ironside portfolio of passive UHF RFID tags are also certified for compliance with the ATEX 94/9/EC directive regarding the operation of equipment in areas containing potentially explosive atmospheres. According to Confidex, its Ironside, Ironside Slim and Ironside Micro tags have received the most stringent level of protection certification, signifying that they are suitable for use in areas categorized as zone 0—in which an explosive gas mixture is present, either continuously or for long periods. This means that Ironside tags are intrinsically safe and compliant for both surface industries and mining. In addition, the firm reports that its manufacturing and quality-management processes have been successfully audited for ATEX compliance (see RFID News Roundup: Confidex Ironside UHF RFID Tags Gain ATEX Certification).
And if you are looking for a longer-range active RFID system, Zebra Technologies offers ATEX-certified ultra-wideband (UWB) active RFID tags and a UWB Vision presence reader (see RFID News Roundup: Zebra Technologies, IBS Team Up on RFID-enabled Safety and Logistics Planning).
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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