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Trial by Tire

A test involving car tires demonstrates the importance of designing an RFID deployment that can read tags individually.
By Pat King
Apr 03, 2006In simplest terms, singulation theory states that an RFID practitioner needs to understand the deployment of an isolated tag (hence, the term 'singulation') before attempting to manage a group of tags (see Six Sigma and the Single Tag). Using RFID labels on tires as an example, this column demonstrates the risks associated with not applying this theory, as well as some techniques to apply it successfully.

The majority of Michelin's publications regarding tire RFID have focused on embedded RFID tags. Michelin has developed a permanent RFID tag capable of being cured directly into the tire. In order to provide a practical example of singulation theory, however, this article will focus instead on the deployment of a temporary RFID label applied to the tire's surface.

Two different styles of UHF RFID transponders were used, each utilizing an SOP chip soldered to an antenna.

RFID Transponders
Two different styles of UHF RFID transponders were used in this test. Each type utilized an SOP (small outline package) chip soldered to an antenna. An SOP is a traditional electronic package employed to protect the chip from its environment, including the ability to cure the device into rubber.

Other tag-antenna attachment techniques—such as flip-chip or direct bonding—have been proven non-robust in tire-tagging applications. One SOP tag for this test was manufactured on a flexible substrate, while the other was the tag developed by Michelin that could be cured directly into the tire. This Michelin transponder has a spring wire antenna soldered directly to the SOP on a miniature thin circuit board


Sanjay Chawla 2006-04-04 12:49:41 PM
RFID and Group Reading? Pat King seems convinced that to achieve Six Sigma reliability, reading stations must be designed so that only one RFID tag appears in the interrogator’s field range at a time (Singulation). If he is right, then one of RFID’s major assets is of no value. The ability to read large groups of items, all at once, like the contents of a consumer’s shopping cart at check out, has been described as a main reason for RFID’s superior level of efficiency.

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