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Rafsec Set to Produce Gen 2 Inlays

The Finnish company says it plans to start production of Gen 2 tags in July, using a newly designed antenna to lower costs.
By Jonathan Collins
Jun 28, 2005UPM Rafsec, a Finnish designer and manufacturer of radio frequency identification inlays, says it will start production of its EPC Generation 2 inlays next month. The ultra high frequency (UHF) tags will be made with a newly designed antenna—the OneTenna—that will replace four existing designs.

"There are five different places to place the IC [chip] on the OneTenna, giving it a 100 MHz range in which it can operate," says Samuli Strömberg, vice president of marketing at Rafsec.

UPM Rafsec's new Gen 2 Inlays

According to Rafsec, the OneTenna design will help lower the cost of producing RFID tags. "It is a way of getting economies of scale earlier," says Strömberg. "Now demand is fragmented by region, and [by] what a specific product to be tagged requires. With OneTenna, we have a single antenna design in stock that can quickly be used to produce products for any region."

Depending on the IC placement on the OneTenna, Rafsec can manufacture the UHF RFID inlay to operate in the frequency range used in Europe (868-870 MHz), the United States (902-928 MHz) or Japan (950-956 MHz). The two additional IC placement positions on the antenna enable the finished inlay to operate embedded in plastic for either the European or U.S. market. "Putting an inlay in a plastic container has a detuning effect that can be compensated for with the OneTenna," Strömberg explains.

In July, Rafsec will start producing its Gen 2 inlays at its Finnish production plant in the "tens of thousands." Those initial volumes will be sufficient to meet demand from customers looking to pilot Gen 2 technology and get their Gen 2 RFID infrastructure deployed and operating.

Later in the year, as demand for Gen 2 tags picks up, Rafsec says its planned U.S. factory in Fletcher, N.C., will become the center of its high-volume UHF EPC inlay production, although its Finnish plant will continue to manufacture high-frequency (HF), as well as Gen 1 and Gen 2 inlays. The Fletcher plant is scheduled to open in the last quarter of 2005, but the company expects production to start there in September.

Rafsec says it will initially use Gen 2 ICs from Impinj, a Seattle-based semiconductor company and manufacturer of passive RFID tags, but that it will utilize other manufacturers' ICs as they become available.

Earlier this week, Texas Instruments announced it is ready to begin volume manufacturing of Gen 2 tags, with more than 1 million inlays set for July (see TI to Begin Production of Gen 2 Inlays, Straps).
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