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Avery Dennison Targets Retail Deployments With Mobile Printer, Robomart Partnership

The company's new Pathfinder 6059 handheld RFID printer can create and apply RFID tags for retail goods and logistics within five seconds, while its EPC UHF RFID tags will be used on Robomart's products when the self-driving store system brings stores to customers wherever they are.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 08, 2019

Avery Dennison has released a portable RFID label-printing device that enables retailers and logistics providers to encode, print and apply an EPC UHF RFID tag to a product, cargo or asset. The Pathfinder 6059, the company reports, was designed to make RFID tagging easier for retailers, shipping companies and grocery stores that might need to apply tags quickly on site, beyond the manufacturing environment.

The RFID label and solutions firm has also entered into a partnership with self-driving stores company Robomart. It will provide UHF RFID labels to be attached to each item of food stocked in the autonomous vehicle so that shoppers can simply hail the vehicle, remove a tagged item and be charged based on the price of the product removed. The solution is aimed at the retail market's need for inventory and supply chain management, thereby keeping up with consumer expectations for fast, convenient access to goods.

The Pathfinder 6059 was built to enable the activation of RFID at such sites as warehouses, store fronts or back storage rooms, according to Avery Dennison. More than a dozen companies have been testing beta versions of the handheld printer for the past few months, says Ryan Yost, the general manager of Avery Dennison's Printer Solutions Division, and the product is now commercially available.

Some of the company's customers are likely to be retailers that have RFID tags coming from many suppliers but require tags for exceptional items, such as promotional or returned products. Additionally, some businesses receive goods from a variety of sources that are untagged, and they need a way to get the tags applied at a low cost. "As the use cases for RFID evolve and move forward, there have been some challenges," Yost says. For instance, he explains, "As a retailer, 'How do I start tagging within my own operation?' Most solutions were built for high-speed, high-volume tagging at the source."

There are some mobile devices intended for encoding and printing RFID tags, but they tend to come in two pieces: one to scan a barcode to create an RFID number, and the other to print the RFID tag, which a user then applies to a carton or product. That process can be cumbersome and offers the potential for errors, such as scanning a barcode of one product, and then—in the process of printing the label and removing it from the printer—causing the label to be mismatched and applied to the wrong item. "The is the first handheld device to scan a barcode, encode RFID, and print and apply an RFID label, all within less than five seconds," Yost says.

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