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SmartX Launches Multilinear RFID Portals

The technology, which gathers multiple antennas in different positions, allows readings where the exact positions of tags cannot be guaranteed, and at a lower cost.
By Edson Perin

With the new portals, regardless of the tags' positioning in the products, reading efficiency is practically the same due to the numerous planes present in a multilinear antenna, creating the possibility of segregating multiple reading zones, and adopting a single RFID reader. "This is possible because the technology of multilinear antennas allows the adoption of a small number of antennas—two per portal," Moreira explains. Adopting a single reader also reduces the investment cost of the RFID portal, he adds.

RFID portals for receiving and shipping items at distribution center docks, due to the proximity between the docks, are an example of applications that will gain from the use of multilinear-polarization antennas. "Multilinear antenna technology was developed by Ohio State University's Electro Science Laboratory, by Dr. Den Burnside, then the director and emeritus professor at the same university," Moreira says.

A comparison of the patch antenna of the traditional portals (left) with the multilinear antennas used by SMTX portals (right)
This technology allows efficient reading only of products passing through the portal, which prevents the reading of products from outside the desired reading area—i.e., those already received and stored near the docks, or that are being loaded or unloaded at neighboring docks.

The portals, made by SmartX, are called SMTX Portals. They adopt multi-antenna antennas as components of exclusive agreements between SmartX and the Electro Science Laboratory, represented by Newave, also of Ohio. In this agreement, ESL supplies multilinear antennas and SmartX produces portals in Brazil, following the technical guidelines. "For logistical reasons, it makes no sense to import bulky and heavy U.S. portal structures," Moreira explains. "Only the light and bulky elements of the antennas are imported, and the assembly of the portal structure becomes feasible in Brazil."

Portals are intended for reading many items and in complex environments in which there are multiple reading zones nearby, due to their efficiency, without "spreading" the RF signal too much. They are not recommended, however, when reading distance is the most important requirement—even for its technical feature of close- and short-range reading—no more than 6 meters wide and up to 3 meters high, or a maximum RF curtain of 18 square meters.

Compared to conventional portals, the SMTX Portal has a lower price since it is possible to build up to two portals using only a four-door reader. Two reader ports are adopted for each portal: ports one and two for portal one and ports three and four for portal two.

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