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ADT Unveils RFID Label Applicator

Tyco’s ADT Security Services unit announced its first automatic RFID label applicator, a machine that can read and write to EPC Class 0+ and Class 1 UHF tags.
By Jonathan Collins
Sep 16, 2004Tyco Fire & Security’s ADT Security Services unit announced its first automatic RFID label applicator, which the company says uses a unique antenna design to speed the throughput of the machine to up to 100 labels per minute.
Tyco's Reynolds

The new Quadrel T applicator, which will be sold under ADT’s Sensormatic brand, was jointly developed by ADT and Quadrel Labeling Systems, which is based in Mentor, Ohio.

According to ADT, the Quadrel T system features a new antenna design that enables the applicator to write to a tag, verify that data was correctly written and reject any faulty tags prior to application in a way that pinpoints each label being processed.

“The antenna can program a single label not by shielding other labels but by specifying the read-write characteristics of a single label,” says George Reynolds, vice president of RFID for Tyco Fire & Security, which is based in Boca Raton, Fla.

The read-write function, however, slows down label throughput. When just reading and applying preprogrammed labels, the machine operates at a rate of 100 labels per minute, but if machine needs to program the labels as well, the throughput drops to around 75 labels per minute.

For labels that fail the verification test, the unit features what ADT calls an accumulator. This is a flat plate that comes between the applicator and the object to be tagged to collect the nonfunctioning label. The software controlling the applicator then automatically programs the next label with the same information that had been encoded on the label that failed.

The ADT applicator supports EPC Class 0+ and Class 1 UHF tags. The first machines support only 3- by 3-inch labels on 6-inch diameter spools from ADT label partner UPM Rafsec (see Rafsec Debuts EPC UHF Tags, but ADT maintains it will develop support for other label sizes and manufacturers in the future, as customers require them. The company also says it has plans to integrate a printer into its applicator, although no date has been set for the release of that product.

The company said it went with tags on 6-inch-diameter spools to reduce the curvature that is created on labels on a roll, especially those nearest the spool. Each spool can hold up to 2,500 labels.

The new machine, which was launched at the Frontline Solutions Conference and Exposition trade show held this week in Chicago, is set to start shipping in November, when pricing details will be available.

In addition to its new Quadrel T applicator, Tyco Fire & Security also manufactures RFID readers, marketed under the Sensormatic brand, that can read tags that operate at different frequencies and use different protocols. The readers are based on a design that Tyco licenses from ThingMagic (see ThingMagic Bets on Smart Readers).

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