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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

Approximately five retailers are testing the device in their stores to print RFID labels for goods, either when they are already in the store front or as they are received. Avery Dennison has been developing the device throughout the past two years, Yost says. The Pathfinder 6059 can create RFID tags about 35 percent faster than any other solution can do so, he adds, and has been found to be 97 percent more accurate than the tagging of products with two devices. The piloting companies are based in Australia, the United States and Europe so far. The device is certified for use in the U.S., Canada, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand. The official launch was on Aug. 26.

In a separate announcement, Avery Dennison joined in an agreement this month with mobile store company Robomart to provide its microwaveable and on-metal RFID labels for use with retail food sales out of the vehicle (see Driverless Mobile Store Leverages RFID to Bring Food to Customers). Robomart is preparing to release an autonomous vehicle solution that allows grocery stores to deliver food to consumers. The company is working with supermarket chain Stop and Shop, and it intends to deploy the vehicles in urban and suburban areas on the U.S. East Coast. The specific date on which the vehicles will hit the road has not yet been determined, according to Ali Ahmed, Robomart's cofounder.

"We're excited to work with Avery Dennison," Ahmed says, adding that every product in the autonomous vehicles will have an Avery label applied to it. "We've been testing labels," he says, and the company selected Avery Dennison because of its labels' effective read rate, their ability to be applied to food and the fact that they can be microwaved. "Our entire checkout-free system is enabled with RFID," he states, with a vision system as backup, so the solution requires 100 percent reliability. "We've been looking for a really great supplier that can work at volume with us. Avery Dennison came to the top of the list."

With an RFID reader and antennas in each vehicle, and with tags on all products, Ahmed says, "We offer a frictionless experience." The system, known as "store hailing," allows users to leverage a Robomart app to view what inventory is stocked in a mobile store, then hail that store and watch it on their phone screen as it approaches (similarly to an Uber or Lyft app). Once it arrives, customers can use the app—which is linked to their payment account information—to unlock the store with their app. They can then simply take an item, and the system will no longer read the tag on that product and can thus charge the customer for it, once the store door is closed and the transaction has been completed.

"We're solving problems in traditional delivery in which consumers don't trust delivery people to select the produce they buy," Ahmed states. With RFID, he add, the company gives those consumers the option to choose their own products themselves.

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