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Rug Company Tracks Its Wares Via New UHF Seal

A U.S. importer of fine rugs is using Cybra's new Lock & EnCode passive UHF RFID seal to identify, authenticate and locate its high-value merchandise.
By Claire Swedberg

With regard to retailers, Reich says, the Lock & EnCode seal would be used not to clasp the tag to an item itself, but rather to seal a reusable container shut. In this case, the seal tag would be placed on a closed tote or other such container of products that a company wishes to secure. For example, many chain drug stores utilize totes to ship goods to specific stores, rather than cartons of goods delivered directly from a manufacturer. In that way, a store will receive the plastic totes—which come in a variety of sizes—filled with multiple items that could include anything from medical devices and toiletries to food.

Once a tote is filled at a distribution center, a worker could scan the bar-coded labels of all items loaded within. He or she would then attach the RFID seal and encode and read the tag ID, thereby storing a record of which items are in that sealed container. If anyone attempted to open the container, that person would need to cut through the seal's wire, and users would thus know that it had been tampered with. Because an RFID inlay is embedded in each seal, a retailer's staff could employ a handheld reader to quickly identify which tote held which products, and thereby locate the totes that needed to be unpacked first.

Cybra's Sheldon Reich

According to Reich, the Lock & EnCode seal is being released now, and already has multiple end users, though he declines to name any. The company is selling two versions of the solution: the custom seal, for end users such as the rug company—for which Cybra will encode the RFID tags in advance, specific to that firm's needs—and a basic seal that comes without encoding, and which customers can encode as needed, linking data to a bar-code scan, and enabling them to use the identifier of their choice. Cybra is also marketing the solution for use by the tobacco industry. In this case, bundles of tobacco leaves would be tagged and tracked as the product moves through a grading process, by which the tobacco's characteristics are identified and a grade is assigned to each bundle.

"This is the merging of two technologies," Reich states: locking seals and RFID technology. The devices could enable users to not only ensure that the containers arrive with the goods initially packed within, but also reduce the amount of time workers spend locating specific totes or items packed inside them.

The seals can be read at a distance of up to 19 feet, Reich says, depending on the RFID reader deployed. Users can also purchase the EdgeMagic software and readers for a full solution, he adds.

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