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Finnish Co. Makes Reusable Gen 2 Tags

Wisteq says it designed its new tags for asset-tracking in applications where they are mounted on metal or used in high-metal environments.
By Jonathan Collins
Oct 24, 2005Finnish RFID tag and services supplier Wisteq, based in the city of Jyväskylä, has launched a range of reusable, passive UHF Gen 2 tags. This combines the benefits of specialized reusable tag designs with those of mass-market EPCglobal Gen 2 hardware. The company's new line of tags is focused on tracking reusable assets in applications where the tags are mounted on metal surfaces or used in environments with a lot of metal.

"We foresee a very big demand for use on roll cages and automotive-parts carriers used to transport goods between manufacturers and suppliers," says Olavi Meriläinen, Wisteq’s CEO. The advantage to using Gen 2 reusable tags in closed-loop designs, says Meriläinen, is that deployments can utilize mass-market Gen 2 RFID interrogators (readers), which cost less than those geared toward more niche applications.

The WTUG tag, manufactued by Wisteq, can be attached to a number of different surfaces.

The new WTUG (Wisteq tags, UHF, Gen2) tags are encased in a number of protective plastic housings, which can be designed to make the tags suitable for specific environments, such as those with significant amounts of metal or extreme heat, cold, shaking or knocking.

Reusable tags are more expensive than one-use EPCglobal Gen 2 tags and smart labels, which can be bought for less than 15 cents apiece from some suppliers (see Avery Dennison, RSI ID Lower Price Bar). Depending on the housing required, the tag ranges in price from €2 to €10 ($2.40 to $12) each, when purchased in quantities of 100,000. In smaller quantities, the price increases, with 100 tags in the basic housing design priced at €4 ($4.80) each. However, because WTUG tags are meant to be used multiple times, they tend to be less expensive per RFID read or event. The company claims its tags will continue to operate for a number of years, though no tests have been carried out to determine the tags' average life expectancy.

The size of the WTUG tags varies depending on the housing and application requirements, but a tag with the basic housing measures 130 millimeters (5 inches) long, 26 millimeters (1 inch) wide and 8 millimeters (0.3 inch) thick. The tags' read range is 2.5 meters (8 feet) in an enclosed environment, 4 meters (13 feet) in free air.

The company provides a variety of options (e.g., screws, straps and ties) for attaching the tags to different surfaces. For an additional fee, Wisteq can print bar codes, text or other graphics on the tag housing. In addition, it can provide testing services for tags it has customized for specific applications.

Founded in January 2004, Wisteq makes tags based on the ISO 18000-6 B standard or the Tagidu-Palomar protocol (see Atmel Unveils Low-Power UHF Chip).
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