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Tagsys Releases Two Small Long-Range Passive UHF Tags

One of the new tags is designed to harvest RF energy from the products to which it is attached, thereby boosting performance; the other, measuring 7 millimeters, is built to withstand laundry and sterilization process.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 26, 2012French RFID solutions provider Tagsys RFID is marketing two new ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags designed to be smaller than standard RFID tags, for use on textiles, garments and other items with small form-factors. Tagsys developed the AK Tag and MuTrak tags in cooperation with RFID hardware developer and supplier Impinj. Both tags, commercially available now, come with a built-in Impinj Monza 5 chip.

At present, some potential users of passive UHF tags have not deployed RFID systems due to their inability to find tags small enough to meet their particular requirements. The solution that Tagsys has developed with Impinj, the companies report, is intended to provide some of the smallest tags on the market to reach those end users.

The read range of Tagsys' AK Tag can be boosted by attaching the tag to a metal object that serves as a secondary antenna.

The AK Tag measures 10 millimeters by 12 millimeters (0.4 inch by 0.5 inch) as an inlay, and 20 millimeters by 20 millimeters (0.8 inch by 0.8 inch) when converted into an RFID label. Despite its small size, the tag provides read ranges similar to those of much larger tags, by harvesting RF energy from the goods or packaging to which it is attached. The AK Tags can be placed over or attached to a metal object that serves as a secondary antenna to boost read distance.

Traditional long-range UHF tags are manufactured with an RFID chip attached to an antenna that totals 15 centimeters (6 inches) in length—typically, by zigzagging or looping in such a way as to minimize the tag's footprint. However, says Christophe Loussert, Tagsys' RFID integration VP, the use of a 6-inch antenna is impractical for several reasons. Even when it is looped around the chip to create as small an inlay as possible, he explains, it still consumes space—enough so that most UHF tags have been too large, in some applications, to be considered practical. In the garment industry, for example, it is difficult to sew a UHF tag into an aesthetically pleasing label, since the tag is generally too big. Moreover, Loussert adds, an antenna's zigs and zags cause a loss in performance by reducing read range.

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