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NXP Releases Ucode 7, a Faster and More Sensitive Chip

The new chip promises to be the highest-functioning EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID IC on the market, the company claims, enabling the development of smaller, more versatile tags.
By Claire Swedberg

Mark Hill, Avery Dennison RBIS' VP and general manager for global innovation and solutions development, says his company has been working closely with NXP for more than a year, as the chip maker developed the Ucode 7. Avery Dennison RBIS plans to release new inlays made with Ucode 7 chips next month. "There are a couple of things that excite us about these products," Hill says. One of its Ucode tags, the AD-235u7, measures 3 inches by 1 inch and can be designed for use on jeans or other apparel, while another, the AD-370u7, is designed for smaller items. All of the Ucode 7 tags will offer greater read sensitivity, Hill notes, and even the smaller tag will be easy to read globally, rather than being focused for the North American or European market.

Although no customers are yet using the new tags, Hill says, several have tested them. "We've had very good feedback on the performance," he states. One key benefit of the tags, he adds, will be that store employees will have the required sensitivity increase to make it easier to perform inventory checks on shelves. "It's a new level of performance that will help our customers meet their needs" with RFID.

Avery Dennison RBIS' Mark Hill

The chip measures 445 microns by 490 microns (0.018 inch by 0.0l9 inch), and could be smaller, Palliparambil notes—though to date, the industry cannot work with chips smaller than that size. It comes with 128 bits of memory. Pricing for the chip is expected to be equivalent to that of the G2iL model.

According to Vega, the new chip's greater sensitivity and write speed will make it possible for tags to be used in ways in which they have not been previously utilized. For example, he says, it will now be easier for companies to apply very small tags to such items as cosmetics and jewelry. The chip is commercially available now, he reports, and is being sampled by "the major players" in RFID tag technology.

Because the chip has already been tested by multiple RFID companies, Palliparambil says, users can be confident that the technology will work as promised.

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