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SML Group Announces New Tags, Production Center

The Hong Kong-based company has opened a new facility in North Carolina, and has released three new EPC RFID inlays designed for fast encoding and read sensitivity.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 01, 2013SML Group Ltd. has opened a new inlay production center in Clayton, N.C., that is producing three new radio frequency identification inlays designed to enable the rapid growth of the company's business in supplying RFID tags for the apparel industry. The family of three new EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags feature antenna designs intended to make the tags not only more sensitive to reads, but also faster to encode, thereby enabling SML Group to encode millions of tags in a very short span of time at its service bureaus worldwide.

The Maze inlay, manufactured with an NXP Semiconductors G2iL chip, measures 68 millimeters by 14 millimeters (2.75 inches by 0.55 inch) and has a sensitivity of -16 dBm (decibels per milliwatt). With a relatively long antenna, this model is designed for use on densely packed products.

SML's new EPC UHF RFID tags consist of the GB1, GB2 and Maze models (from top to bottom).
The GB1 and GB2 inlays both come with an Impinj Monza 5 chip. The GB1 version measures 50 millimeters by 30 millimeters (1.97 inches by 1.18 inches), has a sensitivity of -17 dBm, and is designed for midsize label applications, such as those for sweaters or blouses. The GB2 model—the smallest inlay, at 40 millimeters by 15 millimeters (1.57 by 0.59 inches)—is designed for items requiring small tags, such as bras or shoes, with a sensitivity of -13 dBm, somewhat lower than that of the other two inlays. The Maze and GB1 versions have been tested and approved by the University of Arkansas' RFID Research Center, while the GB2 has not yet been tested.

All three inlays are designed to meet the retail supply chain's rapid growth in apparel tagging, says Philip Calderbank, SML Group's VP of global RFID. The company, which acquired U.S. label manufacturer CPG Labels in July 2012 (see SML Group Buys CPG Labels), has been increasing its capacity for item-level RFID tag development and production, with a focus on the retail market. The new production center, which opened last month in Clayton, and a U.K. design and production center slated to open this summer in Corby, Northamptonshire, will help the company meet two goals: increasing its fast production of EPC tags for the apparel industry, and developing innovative designs for embedded woven tags, as well as tags for use on jewelry, cosmetics and bakeware. All projects are managed from the firm's Hong Kong headquarters.

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