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RFID News Roundup

Indian sugar manufacturer tracks raw materials via RFID; Datalinx, Dunlop test RFID on tires used in motorcycle race championships; Hong Kong RFID unveils new active RFID reader; SML Group, Nordic ID partner on RFID for apparel retail and supply chain markets; Memorial Hermann Health System expands deployment of Stanley Healthcare's infant-protection solution; Zebra Technologies delivers one millionth RTLS tag; NFC Netstore to supply tags to German transit agencies.
By Beth Bacheldor
Mar 28, 2013

The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Indian Sugar Manufacturer Tracks Raw Materials Via RFID

At a Shree Renuka sugar mill, a tracker and a trailer fitted with Essen's Metallica tag pass an Xtenna antenna-reader.

Mumbai-based Essen RFID, which produces radio frequency identification software, antennas, readers and other products, has announced that Shree Renuka Sugars, one of the world's largest sugar manufacturers, is employing Essen's vehicle-tracking system to monitor sugarcane deliveries. The implementations at Shree Renuka's sugar mills include the installation of Essen RFID's Xtenna readers with integrated antennas. During the harvest season, each mill has a continuous flow of vehicles carrying fresh sugarcane for crushing onsite. Prior to adopting RFID, the company used a cumbersome manual system for maintaining a record of all these vehicles, according to Essen RFID. This required one person at the gate to record the number of vehicles entering, along with the number of trailers attached to each vehicle. A second individual at the gate issued tokens to each vehicle, while a third was required to issue receipts. Due to the heavy traffic volume, the manual entry system was extremely time-consuming and inefficient, causing higher processing and queue times, overpayments, delays and more, the company reports. The Essen RFID solution automates the vehicle tracking and data updates in near-real-time, and generates receipts at the point of entry for farmers bringing in their sugar cane. For the implementation, an Xtenna reader was installed and mounted at the entry gate. Essen's Metallica ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 RFID tag was affixed to the side of each tractor or trailer, and the company's EPC Gen 2 Parka tag was affixed to each truck's side window. According to Essen RFID, the system has streamlined the entry process, reduced the number of labor and manpower requirements, and greatly reduced the incidence of errors during the manual processes of recording the amount of sugarcane each farmer delivered. Essen RFID has also completed implementations of its vehicle-tracking system at Larsen & Toubro's modular fabrication facility in Hazira, India, as well as at the Hiranandani Residential Complex, in Powai. For the Larsen & Toubro facility, the RFID system is designed to track vehicles entering and exiting the parking lot, and includes Xtenna integrated antenna-readers installed at the lot's entry and exit gates. Parka tags were issued to every approved vehicle, and were affixed to the windshield. The tags were registered using an Xtenna antenna-reader, and the tracking system incorporates a signal light, triggered via RFID at the entry gate, to manage vehicle flow. When a vehicle enters the company's parking lot, its tag is detected at the entry gate by the Xtenna, which reads that tag and verifies that it is registered and has been assigned to an authorized vehicle. It then logs the entry time and transmits this data to the server, which triggers the switch controlling the gate's signal light. If the tag is verified, the signal light (which is red by default) turns green, and the car is allowed to proceed inside. As the car's tag is read at the entry gate, its time log is stored in the database. Similarly, the Xtenna integrated antenna-reader mounted at the exit gate detects the exiting vehicle's tag, and its departing time is logged in the server database. A similar system was implemented at Hiranandani to accurately identify residents, automate the vehicle entry and exit process, and supply accurate identification regarding authorized vehicles at the residential complex.

Datalinx, Dunlop Test RFID on Tires Used in Motorcycle Race Championships
Dunlop Motorsport has announced a new RFID trial that tests the use of EPC Gen 2 tags embedded in the tires of the motorcycles raced during MotoGP, a premier motorcycle racing World Championship featuring 18 races held in 13 countries. The goal is to make the tires more intelligent and enable them to provide real-time information, according to Datalinx, a U.K.-based software company that is providing the race-tire-management system. Dunlop is the official tire partner of the Moto2 and Moto3 championships, which form part of MotoGP. The trial got underway this month at Spain's Circuito de Jerez. The goal, according to Datalinx, is to introduce a production-ready RFID technology at the start of the 2014 MotoGP season. Dunlop Motorsport has teamed up with MotoGP organizers Dorna Sports and the International Road Racing Teams Association (IRTA) on the initiative. The RFID tag—which is programmed with a unique code that identifies the tire and correlates it with data regarding its type and size—is built into the tire on the assembly line at Dunlop's plant in Birmingham, England. When used at the races, the RFID technology identifies which tires a team utilizes, and ensures that no tire is overlooked. The RFID tag data is collected using Motorola Solutions RFID readers. The data will provide the Moto2 and Moto3 organizers with an accurate log of each tire's activity. The hope, Datalink explains, is that in the future, it will be possible to expand from identifying data at a static point in time to include more dynamic, intelligent information that a racer could use in real time. Dunlop and Datalinx have worked together on previous races, including the British Touring Car Championship, in the United Kingdom, and the FIA European Truck Racing Championship (see British Touring Car Championship Tracks Tires). Datalinx and Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe also worked together on field trials of RFID-enabled bus tires in 2012 (see Goodyear Dunlop Europe Plans RFID Trials for Bus Tires).

Hong Kong RFID Unveils New Active RFID Reader

The Empress EM02-ETH reader

Hong Kong RFID Ltd., an RFID hardware manufacturer, distributor and consultancy firm operating in Hong Kong and South China, has added a new 2.4 GHz RFID reader to its Empress product family. The new model (EM02-ETH) is designed to be a low cost, easy-to-install active RFID reader that connects with a PC via a local area network (LAN) cable, according to Hong Kong RFID. The EMO2-ETH reader supports received signal strength indication (RSSI), a technology that measures the strength of a signal, which the company says enables the creation of more sophisticated RFID applications. The device can read more than 150 tags within seconds—a performance that, Hong Kong RFID claims, is faster than that of other Empress family readers. In addition, its reading range is 20 to 30 percent greater than those of other Empress models. The EMO2-ETH reader features three configurable input-output (IO) ports that can be used to control external devices, like light-emitting diode (LED) lights and alarms, as well as for inputting commands to the reader to perform certain functions. Moreover, the reader's plastic casing is designed to make the device light in weight—only 180 grams (6.3 ounces)—but durable. Remote firmware upgrades are expected to be supported in the future that will make it easier for users to add additional functions and logic to the reader easier. Finally, the EMO2-ETH reader features a new 16-bit platform (compared with the 8-bit platform utilized in other Empress reader models).

SML Group, Nordic ID Partner on RFID for Apparel Retail and Supply Chain Markets
SML Group, which supplies brand-identification labels and RFID data solutions for apparel, has teamed up with RFID technology specialist Nordic ID to deliver a range of RFID applications designed for apparel retailers and brand owners. The two companies report that they have developed bundled RFID solutions including Nordic ID RFID handheld readers configured to run with SML's ViziT retail and supply chain applications. Unveiled in July 2012, ViziT is an end-to-end RFID solution comprising labels, printing and encoding functionality, reader infrastructure, installation and software (see SML Group Buys CGP Labels). The Nordic IT readers, offered as part of a complete package that includes RFID labels, are specifically tuned to achieve the best possible read-write performance, according to the two companies. The initial package is designed for in-plant applications, allowing RFID labels to be printed and encoded at the garment manufacturers' site. In-plant Electronic Product Code (EPC) printing and encoding enables fast delivery of RFID labels to meet tight manufacturing schedules, the companies add. Additional supply chain and retail applications are planned for release this year. Nordic ID built software applications on its readers that interface with the SML ViziT program, says Jorma Lalla, Nordic ID's CEO, in order to create a simple solution that is easy to install and simple to operate.

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