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MWT Materials Brings RFID Shielding to Fish-Processing Plants, Airports

The company's isolation curtains and RF-blocking pads enable users to better control where RFID reader transmissions go, as well as prevent inadvertent tag readings.
By Claire Swedberg

MWT Materials recently has added RF-absorbing tag pads (model MAS-310) to its RFID product line. These pads can be mounted around or behind a tag to enhance signal-to-noise ratios and prevent metal from interfering with tag reads, or to focus the read area to directly in front of the tag rather than the entire surrounding space.

The company's customers include RFID systems integrators and end users, Grun says, while at least one RFID antenna manufacturer is recommending that its customers use MWT Materials' products to ensure the effectiveness of their RFID system.

The company's MAS-310 pads are available in sheets or rolls, as well as in various shapes cut to size.

The RFID Portal Isolation Curtain has metal-infused material on the outside to reflect—and, therefore, block—transmissions from tags outside the reader tunnel. In addition, the curtain's interior includes a layer of RF-absorbing ink to stop transmissions from leaving the tunnel's confines.

Marel provides solutions for the fish-processing industry, including the equipment and software required to enable fish processors not only to process and ship their products, but also to gather food-quality data about the fish as it moves through the process—to ensure that it is fresh, for example (see RFID to Boost Quality and Yield at Fish-Processing Plants). The company's Seattle division, formerly known as Carnitech U.S., began offering RFID technology to its customers a few months ago, so that those companies could track when fish were offloaded from vessels, and when they were then processed, frozen and shipped.

Andy Cloyd, a Marel technician, says the RFID system is installed for one customer, a fish-processing plant in Kodiak, Alaska. When pollock, salmon, cod or other fish are brought in by vessel (a typical load is about 40 tons of fish), the catch is trimmed, cleaned and packed in plastic bags that hold 20 kilograms (44 pounds) apiece. Every bag is then tagged with an adhesive passive UHF RFID tag (Marel uses off-the-shelf tags and readers, Cloyd says, though he declines to name specific makes and models). Each tag's ID number is stored in the Marel software, along with data about the fish itself, the species, the date and the location where it was caught.

The bags are then transported to conveyors that move them to a freezer, where they are stored and covered with a paper layer. The bag tags are again read through that layer, in order to record when the fish has been frozen. When the bags are loaded onto trucks for transportation to retail stores, the tags are interrogated once more, creating a full history in the software of that product's movements. To date, Marel has installed 14 fixed Impinj Speedway Revolution RFID readers.

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