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RFID News Roundup

Smartrac intros RFID tags for luggage, supply chain, automotive and industrial use ••• Savi receives orders for active RFID tags from two U.S. defense agencies ••• Guardhat partners with technology, consulting and software firms to commercialize smart safety equipment ••• Bluepyc, RFID Canada form distribution partnership for IoT, BLE technologies ••• CYBRA, Sewio Networks announce RTLS partnership.
By Rich Handley
Nov 01, 2018

Presented here are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Smartrac; Savi; Guardhat; Bluepyc, RFID Canada; CYBRA, and Sewio Networks.

Smartrac Intros RFID Tags for Luggage, Supply Chain, Automotive and Industrial Use

Smartrac has announced its new Wings tag, which offers a read distance of up to 18 meters (59 feet) and a compact footprint. The tag comes with NXP's UCODE 8 IC, a new RFID tag designed for luggage tracking and also suitable for apparel and supply chain management applications.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA)'s Board of Governors mandated, in June 2018, that the IATA address passenger expectations for the real-time tracking of baggage. The first step was to develop a global development plan that would see IATA-standard RFID inlays in all baggage tags issued after Jan. 1, 2020.

The Wings tag
The Wings tag, Smartrac reports, was approved under the Auburn University RFID Lab's category U, which relates to luggage tagging in aviation. The university measures tag performance on materials like cardboard, plastic or rubber; at present, it lists only four inlays from three manufacturers as approved.

The Wings inlay is equipped with NXP's UCODE 8 IC that comes with 128 bits of Electronic Product Code (EPC) memory and features a unique 96-bit tag identifier (TID), a pre-serialized EPC and an auto-adjust function for automated tag performance optimization. UCODE 8 enables a long read distance and fast inventory of dense RFID tag populations. Wings has an aluminum antenna measuring 30 millimeters by 72 millimeters (1.18 inches by 2.84 inches) and operates in the UHF band (860 to 960 MHz). The IC and antenna jointly enable a high read sensitivity in two directions.

The tag incorporates Smart Cosmos, Smartrac's Internet of Things (IoT) platform, which records and manages unique transponder data at the production level in a controlled and secure manner. Smart Cosmos enables full traceability of RFID products and is designed to provide reliable quality assurance.

"With our new Wings tag, we are demonstrating our continued ability to respond to market opportunities in a very timely manner—and with a more convincing product than others," said Matti Tavilampi, Smartrac's global product-management director, in a prepared statement. "We expect Wings inlays to be well accepted by our systems integrator partners and end customers, and to play a major role in the upcoming rollout of RFID-based baggage tracking systems."

Smartrac has also announced its Midas FlagTag, featuring NXP's UCODE 7xm IC. The Midas FlagTag UCODE 7xm is suitable for applications such as asset tracking, inventory management and process optimization in the automotive industry, the firm reports, as well as for other industrial environments.

The Midas FlagTag design uses the metallic surface as part of the antenna structure, to improve performance in demanding physical environments. According to the company, it costs less than foam-based inlays and hard tags typically used in industrial environments. It provides up to 2 kilobits of user memory to store data specific to customers or products, along with brand-protection features using digital signature technology, long read and write ranges, and reliable operation in signal-dense or noisy environments, the company reports.

The Midas FlagTag
The Midas FlagTag utilizes RAIN RFID technology, based on the UHF protocol standard developed by GS1 and ISO. The tag and IC comply with the German Association of the Automotive Industry's recommendations for RFID implementations used in the tracking of parts and components in the automotive sector.

The tag has a small form factor, with a total size of 72 millimeters by 21 millimeters when used as a standard flat paper tag. A flag can be created at the end of the tag with a final paper tag size of 50 millimeters by 21 millimeters after folding, and with an exposed area of 22 millimeters by 21 millimeters. Read distances of up to 6 meters can be achieved, the company reports, depending on the geometry and size of the metal object. The tags are compatible with RFID printers for easy printing and encoding. The Midas FlagTag UCODE 7xm incorporates the Smart Cosmos IoT platform as well.

"Right from the start, Midas FlagTag provided a superior—and highly successful—solution for tagging consumer goods and industrial components with metallic, plastic and cardboard surfaces," Tavilampi said in a separate prepared statement. "With Midas FlagTag UCODE 7xm, we are now taking that success story to the automotive industry and other industrial environments."

Sample Wings tags are now available in dry format. Midas FlagTag UCODE 7xm product samples are available now as well.

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