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Pinnpoint, Smartrac Team Up With Lexmark for RFID Printing

The resultant on-demand printing solutions allow shippers to automatically view the status of returned goods via RFID tag reads, enabling the growing reverse logistics model for online shopping.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 08, 2018

Laser printer manufacturer Lexmark has expanded its RFID tag encoding and printing system, and is partnering with companies such as Pinnpoint using Smartrac inlays, as well as its Print, Ship & RFID Return solution. The expansion is part of Lexmark's effort to provide a variety of solutions for what it calls a growing number of potential clients seeking solutions for logistics, as well as work-in-progress (WIP).

Pinnpoint provides forms and labels for use in the new RFID-enabled printer, as well as offering a full solution that includes software and integration services. The labels, typically sheets measuring 8.5 inches by 11 inches, with embedded RFID tags, are designed to be affixed to cartons, pallets, shipping containers or goods being shipped to a customer, or to be packed loose with a product during assembly. Lexmark printers can also support forms from 4 inches by 6 inches up to 8.5 inches by 14 inches, which Pinnpoint can also accommodate.

Pinnpoint has many years of online adhesive label coating experience, says Forrest Steely, the company's CTO and a former Lexmark executive, with proprietary label materials, including face paper as well as adhesive and liners to meet requirements for high-speed laser printing in Lexmark devices. When it comes to the plans with Smartrac, Pinnpoint and Lexmark, "The partnership creates a very cost-efficient industrial solution for printing forms and encoding RAIN RFID inlays," says Amir Mobayen, Smartrac's group CRO.

Forrest Steely
Lexmark first released its color RFID printers in December 2017 (see Global Printer Manufacturer Adopts RFID for Color Laster Printing). Since that time, the growing demand for the printer has been fueled by several trends, according to John Linton, Lexmark's retail and manufacturing industry director.

The most notable trend is reverse logistics. Brands, logistics providers and retailers are increasingly contending with the return of shipped goods, especially as sales models change. In many cases, Linton says, companies ship multiple product options to customers, such as several sizes or styles of a product. The customer can then make a selection and ship the other products back.

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