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GlueLogix Introduces Narrow-Field Antenna to More Efficiently Identify Nonworking Tags

When used in conjunction with Tamarack equipment for converting or encoding RFID labels, the new antenna can enable more labels to be printed within a smaller space, thereby saving time and material costs.
By Claire Swedberg
Tags: Labeling
Nov 20, 2013

When companies print RFID labels in large volume, ensuring that they all operate prior to shipping them to customers can be a manual process. Businesses may test sample tags, such as the last few tags of every roll, or test a small number of completed rolls of labels, by using an RFID reader to ensure they can all be interrogated. Since 2005, GlueLogix has been providing its LineLogix solutions to label converters and service bureaus, to automate the identification of any inoperable labels. The LineLogix product line consists of several devices used independently or in tandem, including one that reads each tag and marks any that are found to be inoperable in the label press machinery. Other LineLogix products include rewinders or rewinder retrofit technology for identifying inoperable tags during the rewinding process (which follows the manufacturing stage in the press). GlueLogix equipment also encodes tags as needed by a customer.

This month, GlueLogix is introducing a new narrow-field antenna to help its customers read tags within an area comprising 1 square inch, enabling them to test tags that are smaller and more tightly arranged on a roll, and to thereby print a greater quantity of labels, faster, within a narrower roll. Next year, says Larry Martin, GlueLogix's CEO and founder, the company also plans to release a conveyor system for testing and identifying inoperable tags in other form factors, such as hard labels or key fobs.

The LineLogix system can encode, read or test UHF or HF passive RFID labels on a press at a rate of about 20 inlays per second.
For the past several years, GlueLogix's solutions have been sold by Tamarack Products, which manufactures specialty equipment for affixing materials such as RFID inlays to labels and cartons. Tamarack also sells the LineLogix product line as part of its own solution, to be used on presses or during the rewinding process, says David Steidinger, the company's president. Tamarack's RFID inlay inserting equipment (which has been available for approximately 15 years) can be retrofitted onto its customers' existing presses.

Martin founded GlueLogix after working at RFID hardware and consulting firm SAMSys Technologies, which was purchased by Sirit (now part of 3M's motor vehicle services and systems division) in 2006 (see Sirit to Buy SAMSys Technologies). According to Martin, GlueLogix was incorporated, and began selling embedded system firmware products, in 2005 for the printing industry. The company found a niche in RFID almost right away, he says, and has since been offering tester, rewinding and encoding solutions.

Many label converters that are GlueLogix customers have traditionally been in the paper-printing business, with a limited background in RFID technology. When RFID labels are converted using equipment designed simply for paper, Martin explains, things can go wrong for. For instance, he says, the static electricity generated from paper can damage RFID inlays, while the press and rewinding machinery can put excessive pressure on inlays and break a chip or antenna. If a company wants to ensure that it does not sell ineffective labels, it must either develop its own reader solution to identify each unreadable label during post-production, or run scans on samples of labels in the hope of identifying any potential problems.

LineLogix solutions are designed to ensure that ineffective labels are identified before rolls are sent to customers. The company's press-based system can be fitted into a label press itself. Here, the label is printed, the adhesive is attached along with the label backing (a strip of release liner, typically made with silicon) and an RFID inlay is mechanically attached to the label. If a LineLogix device is installed in the press, each label is read after the inlay is attached; in the event that a label fails to respond to the interrogator, the LineLogix system paints a black mark on that label.

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