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Tego Releases 8-kilobit Dual-Memory RFID Chip and Tags

The new EPC UHF chip, designed to exceed the new ATA Spec 2000 requirements and be attached to aircraft parts, has lockable memory for birth record data, and rewritable memory for storing a variety of other information.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 29, 2013

RFID technology firm Tego has released a new dual-memory (DM) 8-kilobit EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID chip, as well as tags made with the new chip. The company has also modified its TegoView software to manage the chip and tag data, timed with the announcement of the new ATA Spec 2000 standard. The new chip allows users in the aerospace industry to attach a tag to an aircraft part and permanently write that item's birth record data on one section of the chip's memory, as well as write and rewrite data on the other section, in order to help track the component as it is manufactured, shipped and maintained. The dual-memory chip, according to Timothy Butler, Tego's president and CEO, was designed to enable users to exceed the new ATA standard for dual-memory tracking at a reasonable cost, by providing more memory space than required to simply meet the standard's specifications.

Airlines for America (A4A), formerly known as the Air Transport Association of America (ATA), announced on Wednesday, Apr. 24, that it had ratified and published the new standard—specifically, ATA Spec 2000, Chapter 9-5, 2013, which lists standard formats to exchange information regarding aircraft parts between airlines and their suppliers. The goal is for an electronic system with mobile data records to enable those in the aircraft part supply chain to view or share data without the need for paperwork.

The Primo tag, measuring 0.50 inch by 1.96 inches, is designed for use in high-temperature, pressurized and nonpressurized areas.

Tego co-authored the standard with the ATA for the records management of parts used on and in aircrafts. Aerospace parts are often tracked via high-memory passive EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID tags that store data beyond a unique identifier, such as maintenance and inspection records. This new standard spells out which types of data are necessary, including a birth record that should be locked and unalterable, and a lifecycle record consisting of data tracking the life of a tagged item as it is inspected, repaired and exposed to varying environmental conditions. This information, stored in the tag's rewritable memory, is intended to indicate that item's condition throughout its lifespan. There are some 2-kilobit chips available that offer dual-record or DM functionality, the company reports, but these would just meet the standard and not provide users with the ability to write and store additional data beyond what is required. For example, the locked memory would typically consume half a kilobit, and additional data stored on the tag by the manufacturer could require most of the remaining 1.5 kilobits. So if an industry member wished to add additional data, such as a life vest's intended seat location or inspection record, the memory limit would have already been reached. Therefore, Tego has designed its new dual-memory chip specifically to allow users to meet and then exceed those requirements.

"Tego is the only company with a dual-memory chip designed to meet the ATA Dual Record standard," Butler explains. "Other companies have chips, but they... simply have up to 2 kilobits of birth record and user memory that may or may not hold all the information required in the dual-record specification."

Tego produces high-memory chips used in multiple industries, as well as for tagging flyable parts in the aerospace sector. These include a high-memory 8-kilobyte chip, released in 2011, that features multi-record memory (MM) capacity to allow multiple parties to write to it. However, the cost of Tego's 8-kilobyte chip, as well as that of a tag made with that chip, is still relatively high for some items that may be of lower value, but still need to be tracked, such as life vests or oxygen canisters. In contrast, Butler says, Tego's 8-kilobit dual-memory chip can allow users to do more, because it has a greater amount of memory than the other versions, yet is less expensive than the 8-kilobyte model, which contains more memory than would be necessary for most aerospace applications and is more frequently utilized by other industries for storing data, such as sensor recordings.

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