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RFID News Roundup

MAINtag announces deployment of over 1 million flyable tags, new deliveries of FLYtag skin; Kit Check releases new RFID scanning station; new DOD rules for electronics parts contractors could spur RFID use; Lab ID introduces two new RFID inlays; IDTronic unveils new UHF RFID reader module; NXP releases Android development kit for Mifare, Icode and NTAG products; Smartrac and Confidex partner on U.S. distribution agreement; Tecsys Buys Logi-D.
By Beth Bacheldor
Jun 05, 2014

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: MAINtag; Kit Check; the U.S. Department of Defense; Lab ID; iDTronic; NXP Semiconductors; Smartrac, Confidex; Tecsys and Logi-D.

MAINtag Announces Deployment of Over 1 Million Flyable Tags, New Deliveries of FLYtag Skin

FLYtag skin on metal
MAINtag has announced that it delivered more than over 1 million flyable tags to more than 60 tier-one suppliers in the aerospace industry to date, with new deliveries of its FLYtag skin RFID labels to aerospace tier-one original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) planned for this month. "The FLYtag skin family will support RFID expansion in the aerospace industry by substantially simplifying and improving the tracking of chip-equipped parts at an affordable cost," said Dominique Garreau, MAINtag's managing director, in a prepared statement. "Since 2010, the cooperation between Airbus and MAINtag has facilitated value creation for both parties. Within terms of an existing multi-year contract, Airbus and MAINtag continue fruitful collaboration.'' MAINtag unveiled its first FLYtag skin RFID labels in 2012 (see MAINtag Beefs Up Its RFID Offerings, to Meet Demands in Aerospace). The FLYtag skin integrated RFID label—which is only 1 millimeter in thickness and is available in three sizes—is designed for use on parts (metal or non-metal) installed in an aircraft's non-pressurized areas, as well as in cabin interiors. The label is made with the company's FLYchip, a silicon chip available with either 2 kilobits or 64 kilobits of memory. The FLYchip complies not only with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID standards, but also with the SAE AS5678, ATA Spec 2000 Chap. 9 and TDS 1.7 specifications. An aircraft company can print part information directly onto the label by means of Zebra Technologies' R110Xi4 RFID printer. "Ten years ago, MAINtag was founded and named for 'MAINtenance tagging' based on the invention of RFID hybrid label technology to be used for aircraft," said Bruno Lo-Re, MAINtag Group's president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "Our patented RFID aircraft maintenance solutions remain at the core of our R&D."

Kit Check Releases New RFID Scanning Station

Kit Check
Kit Check has released a new RFID scanning station that is used to verify hospital pharmacy kits in five seconds and reduce total restocking time from 30 minutes to just 3 minutes. The new scanning station, known as the Little Blue Box, is a smaller version of the company's enclosed RFID reader designed to identify medications in pharmacy kits, which are used throughout hospitals for critical care procedures, including operating room anesthesia, crash carts, pediatric emergency, labor and delivery, and many others. The kits typically contain up to 200 medications each. Kit Check's solution is designed to eliminate the manual processes associated with hospital pharmacy kit replenishments and expiration verifications. Kits are placed on trays tagged with EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags, and are put into the Kit Check enclosed reader. Every item is also tagged with a similar tag. Kit Check installs Zebra Technologies printers at each hospital. To date, Zebra printers have been used to add RFID tags on more than a million medication vials. Each tray's tag ID number is married to the tag IDs of all items loaded onto it. A user presses the Scan button, thereby triggering the device to interrogate any tags within. The reader is wired to a PC that transmits read data to a cloud-based server, hosted by Kit Check. Software on the server displays the results on the PC's monitor. Once a read is accomplished, Kit Check's software displays which items are missing, which are present in extra quantities and which are soon due to expire. Workers can then use that information to restock the tray. Several hospitals, including the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore (see Hospital Pharmacy Keeps Emergency Medication Kits in Check) and CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia, N.C., (see North Carolina Hospital Identifies Recalled Drugs Via RFID), are utilizing Kit Check's solution. The new Little Blue Box weighs about 100 pounds less than the company's initial solution, and measures 23 3/8 inches deep by 34 ¼ inches wide by 25 inches high (also available is a larger version, measuring 25 inches by 39 inches by 30 inches). "We chose lightweight materials to make the new scanning station easier to move, shrunk the dimensions and even tested a variety of different magnets to ensure the doors make a satisfying 'thunk' when closed," said Nick Petersen, Kit Check's director of product management, in a prepared statement. "Although we are officially announcing two new scanning station sizes, the new materials also allow us to build custom sizes that are smaller or larger based on need." The new Little Blue Box will be provided free of charge to all new and existing Kit Check users. Kit Check also supports using Zebra's new Zatar solution for remotely managing and supporting printers through a cloud-based infrastructure (see Zebra Launches Zatar 'Internet Of Things' Service for RFID Readers, Networked Devices).

New DOD Rules for Electronics Parts Contractors Could Spur RFID Use
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has amended the rules for its suppliers, as part of its Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Detection and Avoidance of Counterfeit Electronic Parts (DFARS Case 2012-D055). That regulation is designed to combat the counterfeiting of electronic parts, by requiring that contractors verify the authenticity of the products they supply to the federal government. According to a blog post from Xerafy, the amended rules are tougher and require DOD suppliers to put processes in place to detect potentially counterfeit electronic parts. According to Xerafy, the new rules do not require any specific technology for verifying product authenticity (just like all other U.S. government identification and traceability program policies), but they do create "a new opportunity to apply RFID part identification and traceability solutions, similar to those that are required and being put in place in the commercial aviation industry" (see New DOD Rules a Reminder of RFID Opportunity). The new rules took effect early last month.

Lab ID Introduces Two New RFID Inlays

Italian RFID firm Lab ID has introduced two new ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Class1 Gen 2 RFID inlays, known as the INSKYL7 and UH4411_7. Both inlays are available with either NXP Semiconductors' Ucode 7 chip, or EM Microelectronic-Marin's EM4124 or EM4126 chip. The INSKYL7 is designed for apparel applications, logistics and item-level tagging, and can operate at a range of -40 degrees to +85 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees to +185 degrees Fahrenheit). According to Lab ID, the INSKYL7 is designed to work in environments containing a high density of tags, is suitable for item-level logistics and apparel applications, and can also operate at a range of -40 degrees to +85 degrees Celsius.

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