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Radley adds Omni-ID RFID technology to its solutions for manufacturers ••• Metalcraft expands RFID label service ••• Thinfilm, Jones to develop smart packaging for pharmaceuticals ••• Jadak acquires SkyeTek ••• DNP, Phoenix Solution announce new on-metal RFID tags ••• Swedish grocery retailer ICA Nära Norrviken tests NFC price labels ••• Gentex to integrate TransCore's Universal Toll Module in rearview mirrors.
By Beth Bacheldor

Thinfilm, Jones to Develop Smart Packaging for Pharmaceuticals

Thin Film Electronics (Thinfilm), a provider of printed electronics and smart systems, has announced a commercial partnership with Jones Packaging Inc., a provider of packaging solutions for health-care and consumer brands. The two companies are collaborating to integrate Thinfilm's NFC OpenSense technology into paperboard pharmaceutical packaging and establish key manufacturing processes for production on Jones' high-speed lines. Jones and Thinfilm are engaging leading global pharmaceutical companies to integrate the smart technology into product packaging and deliver the solution to market, the two companies indicate.

Jones and Thinfilm are initially focusing on integrating the NFC OpenSense technology into packaging solutions, such as paperboard cartons that house prescription and over-the-counter medications. As part of this initiative, the companies report, Jones has placed a six-figure unit order for NFC OpenSense tags.

Jones' packaging products
NFC OpenSense tags are thin, flexible labels that can both detect a product's "factory sealed" and "opened" states and wirelessly communicate contextual content with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone. The tags were initially designed for use on bottles, to authenticate a bottle's contents or to indicate (when the tag is read) if its seal has been broken (see Thinfilm Launches OpenSense Printed NFC Sensor Label for Bottles). The tags contain unique identifiers that make it possible for pharmaceutical companies to authenticate products and track them to the individual item level using powerful software and analytics tools. In addition, according to Thinfilm and Jones, the tags remain active even after a product's factory seal has been broken, empowering brands and medical personnel to extend the dialogue with consumers and patients.

A key feature of the NFC OpenSense tag is Thinfilm's "Tag Talks First" protocol, which, according to Thinfilm, enables a read-speed that is up to 20 times faster than that of conventional NFC solutions. This makes it an ideal technology for use within the high-speed, high-volume production lines found in Jones' manufacturing facilities, the two companies note. The work conducted by Jones and Thinfilm will also include the integration of ferrite shield labels with the NFC OpenSense tags. This will enable the NFC technology to function on metalized packaging, such as blisters commonly used for cold and flu medications.

The companies expect to complete much of the development, prototyping and testing by mid-year, and to commercially launch products during the fourth quarter of 2016. The Jones and Thinfilm smart packaging collaboration will be funded, in part, by grants from both the Swedish and Canadian governments.

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