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New On-Metal UHF Tag Measures Just 5 Millimeters in Length
Aerospace and health-care solution providers are testing Kyocera's ceramic tags on tools to track their movement during surgical procedures or assembly processes.
Sep 11, 2018—
Japanese electronics company Kyocera Corp. has released an ultra-small ceramic tag designed for tracking the smallest of tools—those used during surgery or aircraft assembly, or at nuclear sites. The tag measures just 5 millimeters by 2 millimeters by 1.5 millimeters (0.2 inch by 0.08 inch by 0.06 inch). Samples are being provided to potential customers in multiple industries across Japan, North America and Europe.
The new tags were developed in cooperation with tool manufacturers earlier this year, says Alexa Pristl, Kyocera's new business-development specialist for Europe. However, she notes, the company has kept other industries in mind as potential users. "We see a lot of potential in demanding applications where asset management or sample identification is critical," she says, such as aerospace, automotive or in the cryogenic biological sample market. "The ceramic package is capable of enduring harsh temperature extremes and the small size gives users flexibility on mounting locations."
The aerospace sector also uses tools of all sizes, including very small ones. In the case of small tools, tracking is especially challenging because they can be misplaced in large assembly areas. However, it's critical that they be accounted for. In fact, if a tool cannot be located after a worker leaves, all assembly may have to stop until that tool can be found, even if that means contacting the employee at home to check his or her pockets. What's more, Pristl says, even large aerospace tools can benefit from small RFID tags to ensure an optimal placement on the tool. For maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services of aircrafts and spaceships, she states, "any object that is not where it is supposed to be provides a high risk to safety."
These foreign objects include metal tools used for maintenance services by MRO service providers which may be forgotten after they service the aircraft. Metal tools left behind in an aircraft can cause potential foreign object damage (FOD) to a plane. The firm sells its ultra-small ceramic package with a built-in UHF RFID chip and antenna that it claims offers a longer read range than other tags of the same size.
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