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Msway Buys 100m EPC Tags

The Korean semiconductor distributor has signed a five-year deal to buy 100 million EPC RFID tags from SmartCode.
By Jonathan Collins
Sep 14, 2005SmartCode, an RFID systems provider based in Tel Aviv, says it received an order for 100 million EPC RFID tags over the next five years from Korean semiconductor distributor and services provider Msway.

Under the terms of the agreement, SmartCode will supply Msway two tag designs to be used in the Korean market. The two tags are the SL-EPC-2630, based on the Gen 2 standard, and the SL-EPC-116, based on the EPC Class 1.

Roy Apple, SmartCode
"There are a lot of applications where Gen 1 tags will continue to make sense, even when Gen 2 products are available on the market," says Roy Apple, SmartCode's vice president for business development.

The first shipments are set for delivery next month. The bulk of the tags, however, are not expected to be required until closer to the end of the contract.

In addition, to distributing semiconductors, Msway also develops products and services for the telecom, automotive, consumer packaged goods, medical, industrial and transportation industries. The company says it plans to use the tags in EPC RFID services and offerings it will develop for its customers. "These will be used in retail and government sector projects," says Apple. "There are a lot of U.S. companies that ship products from Korea and want them tagged."

Last March, the Korean Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) laid out plans to invest and promote RFID technology nationwide. The ministry has pledged to spend a total of 162.6 billion won ($158 million) by 2010 to develop and commercialize RFID.

So far, Korea has tested the technology for tracking beef imports, managing military ammunition inventories and controlling luggage at several national airports. The MIC has also approved RFID systems to operate in the 908.5 MHz to 914 MHz band in Korea.

Msway says it chose SmartCode tags for their performance and low price. The company will also buy readers from SmartCode, but not as a part of this contract.

SmartCode uses its own tag-assembly machine—dubbed FAST, for Flexible Area Synchronized Transfer—and has long said it had the capacity to produce 10 billion RFID units per year. By 2006, it now says, that capacity will be expanded to 30 billion a year.

SmartCode insists its FAST manufacturing process enables it to produce its EPC design tags cheaper than any of its rivals. "We can match any price in the industry," Apple asserts.
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