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ADASA Developing Wearable Tag Encoder

The company is testing a mobile tag encoder for order pickers to wear while tagging cases of goods.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Integrated into the PAD3500 is a sensor, triggered when the picker places his finger in front of it, which advances the roll of tags inside the cartridge. The device pushes the inlay off the roll, adhesive side facing outward, so that the picker need only tap the adhesive side with a finger to remove the inlay. Before the device pushes the inlay off the roll, however, the SkyeTek interrogator verifies that the inlay has been properly encoded and is still functioning. If the inlay is damaged, the PAD3500 jumps to the next one without the label with the nonfunctioning inlay.

Once the cartridge dispenses its last inlay, an LED on the PAD3500 casing—which includes a belt hook so the device can be positioned at the picker's waist—indicates the cartridge needs to be replaced. McAllister notes that the used roll, still containing the nonfunctioning inlays, can then be returned to the inlay supplier.

The PAD3500 receives encoding commands from the user's RFID middleware or device management software, interfacing with warehouse management software.
The PAD3500 is set to be available in production quantities later this year, after the trial has finished and any system modifications have been incorporated to improve performance, based on the test results. McAllister says ADASA expects to price the PAD3500 competitively with RFID printer-encoders.

Thus far, ADASA has worked with inlay maker UPM Raflatac to supply the rolls of inlays needed for the sample PAD3500 being used in the test. These will be UPM Raflatac's UHF EPC Gen 2 inlays with the aluminum OneTenna antenna (see Rafsec Set to Produce Gen 2 Inlays).

McAllister says ADASA recommends the use of tags with aluminum antennas because they are environmentally friendlier and easier to recycle than etched copper or printed silver-ink antennas. He adds that ADASA has completed the design phase of its tag-recycling process, intended to help capture and recommission passive RFID tags (see RFID Goes Green). However, the company is waiting for the volume of tags in the waste stream to increase to the critical mass required to make the service commercially viable.

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