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UHF RFID Reader Systems Capture Laundry Tags in Motion

Datamars' new UHF Portal Plus is designed to read up to 500 tags on textiles as they are transported at average walking speed, without requiring users to stop or open and close cabinet doors, while the UHF Open Tunnel reader fits directly on top of a conveyor to interrogate tags as they move through the packing process.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 11, 2019

Identification solutions company Datamars has released two new RFID readers for its laundry-management solutions that are intended to make the reading of linen or workwear tags faster, as well as provide greater accuracy, for large-scale laundry businesses. Both serve the clean textiles management process, after laundry has been washed and dried and needs to be sorted and shipped to a customer. The Open Tunnel and UHF Portal Plus follow the 2017 release of a small UHF RFID tag known as the FT401 Laundry Chip.

The new technology is being used by industrial laundry companies in Europe and the United States, according to Julien Buros, Datamars' textile product and service director, in order to gain a faster and more accurate view of the cleaned textiles that they pack and deliver to customers: hotels, hospitals and elder-care facilities.

Datamars' Open Tunnel
Datamars, a Swiss technology firm, has provided laundry-management solutions for workwear since the firm launched 30 years ago. More recently, with the adoption of UHF RFID tags by the laundry industry, Datamars has been able to expand its solutions to enable the tracking of linens, such as bedding and tablecloths, for hotels, hospitals and resorts. "We've seen the market growing quite significantly," Buros says, in part due to the value UHF RFID has brought to laundries during the past five to seven years.

One of Datamars' offerings is a UHF RFID reading system that captures the tags of linens and uniforms, after they have been washed, to ensure the items are properly sorted, shipped and billed. That requires the capacity to read up to 2,000 tags on a single trolley. This highly dense tag-reading environment is challenging for readers, and Datamars' closed cabinet reading system can capture tag ID numbers in such an environment, with the help of its cabinet doors, to prevent stray reads.

The loaded trolley is wheeled into the reader, the cabinet doors are closed and the tags are then interrogated within a matter of seconds. The closing of cabinet doors ensures that there are no stray reads of other tagged items in the area. To read this trolley, the most reliable solution had been to use closed cabinets with the reader's power set as high as it could go. However, Buros says, that process still requires a slowdown in laundry processes.

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