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Confidex Drives Tire Tracking With Small RFID Tag

The company's TireTag is 67 percent smaller than standard RFID tags and offers a read range of up to 3 meters, enabling businesses to more easily build RFID into each tire in order to track its operation.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 25, 2020

Smart industry and mobile technology company Confidex has released its new TireTag, which is designed to be smaller and more flexible than competing UHF RFID tags, the firm reports, and to offer a longer read range. According to Confidex, the product enables tire companies and fleet managers to uniquely identify tires, wherever they may be in their lifespan, via an RFID reader.

With a built-in omnidirectional antenna, the company reports, the tag provides a 3-meter (9.8-foot) read range and responds to interrogations from multiple directions so that operators can track tires via a handheld reader, whether in a warehouse or on a vehicle. The tag is designed to be built into a tire during the assembly process. That means it can withstand heat and pressure, as well as the bending that sometimes results during vulcanization, before the tire is sold for use on trucks or cars.

Confidex's TireTag enables tire companies and fleet managers to uniquely identify tires.
Jiangsu General Science Technology Co., located in China, has recently completed a pilot of the tag, while several tire companies currently have pilots under way or nearing completion. Confidex plans to demonstrate its new tag at RFID Journal LIVE! 2020, which will be held in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 28-30.

The round passive UHF RFID TireTag MR6-P tag measures 40 millimeters (1.6 inches) in size—approximately 33 percent smaller than other comparable tags on the market, which typically measure about 60 millimeters (2. 4 inches), according to Confidex. Thanks to the omnidirectional antenna, it can be read from both radial and diagonal applications, says Will Deng, Confidex's CTO. That means the tag could be read via a reader passing a vehicle-mounted tire within a yard or a parking area, even if the vehicle is moving, and it could also work if tires were stacked in a warehouse. Additionally, the tag can be interrogated from a fixed reader antenna installed in the ground or under the surface of a yard or roadway.

RFID technology, whether in the tire industry or other sectors, is transitioning into item-level tracking, says Joe Hoerl, Confidex's VP for the Americas region. "We see a natural progression toward the need for serialized IDs of products," he explains, rather than containers of products. "The technology is better. Tags are smaller, cheaper and faster. So we are seeing a movement into serialization of the individual item."

With that in mind, tire manufacturers have increasingly been either piloting or launching RFID systems for tracking truck tires. Confidex has been in the tire-management space for more than a decade. In 2008, the company offered a product for the management of tire materials known as the Confidex Cruiser Tire Label (see At Nokian Tires, RFID Keeps Treads on Track). "We have spent several years engineering this latest tag design," Deng states.

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