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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

"The open tunnel provides reliability" when added to a conveyor system, Buros says, as well as improving customer service and preventing re-deliveries. But when using the system, he adds, "You can be sure what you're delivering is what the customer wants." The solution provides a way for the laundry and its customers to view what was processed and delivered to a given customer, without having to count items one by one.

The new readers are focused specifically on improving efficiency and accuracy of a business's clean laundry side. The soiled side of the laundry operation, Buros adds, is less demanding since the laundry only needs to know that a given textile has been returned. Datamars has validated the new reader system's performance with laundries in Europe and the United States. Portal Plus is currently in use at an industrial laundry in the Netherlands. The Open Tunnel will be installed there in January 2019.

While most industrial laundries own the textiles that they then rent to hotels and other customers, some larger hospitality or health-care companies own their own textiles. In the latter case, a company may want to install its own reader to capture an automatic count of goods as they are received from or shipped to the laundry. In this scenario, the cabinet reader is likely to be the best option, Buros says, since it can read the tags in the trolley, while opening and closing a cabinet door isn't as impactful on schedules, because there is a much smaller volume of textile tags being read.

In 2017, in order to enable the tagging of small items, Datamars released its FT401 UHF label. According to Buros, the label is built for mechanical resistance and electrical performance, in order to achieve at least 200 wash cycles or three years of use, but with a much smaller form factor. It measures 1.3 millimeters in thickness, 70 millimeters in height and 10 millimeters in width. That enables the tag to be discretely sewn into small items, the firm explains, such as pillow cases, napkins and socks.

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