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New Mount-on-Metal Tag Marks Biggest Gen 2 Chip Order for TI

The new tag, aimed at the Korean manufacturing market, is designed to improve read rates on metal-based items.
By Andrew Price
Oct 18, 2006RFID component and middleware manufacturer Sontec and RFID transponder manufacturer Texas Instruments (TI) have collaborated on a mount-on-metal Gen 2 RFID tag aimed at the Korean manufacturing market. Korea is now a major producer of consumer white goods and electronics, containing metal that interferes with interrogators' ability to read RFID tags. Texas Instruments says it has supplied millions of integrated-circuit chips for the new tags, which are intended to improve read rates when used on metal items. The company says they can also be used on wood, liquid products, steel and more.

The Sontec order is for 10 million chips, all of which will be delivered by the second quarter of 2007, says Jeff Kohnle, TI's director of UHF retail supply chain. This order, he states, is the largest for the firm's Gen 2 chips. He expects the trend to continue because manufacturers are increasingly tagging their products with RFID tags to track them throughout the supply chain.

Jeff Kohnle
Sontec is assembling the new tags with a rigid tag mount that adheres directly to metal products. That's important, Kohnle points out, as large white goods are shipped without a carton that tags could otherwise be affixed to.

Sontec has already sold mount-on-metal tags using RFID chips from other vendors. Among its customers for these tags is one of the biggest international electronic companies based in Korea, according to Sarah Yang, Sontec's RFID business manager. She declines to name the company, but says the tag it uses can be embedded in a mobile phone's metallic chassis.

The new tags with TI chips will span frequency ranges from 860 to 960 MHz. The partnership with TI will enable Sonic to mass-produce the mount-on-metal tags in its first overseas production line in Shanghai, China.

Additionally, Yang says, TI's large number of distributors worldwide will be very helpful to Sontec in starting up sales in the United States, Europe and Asia. "I'm sure that this will bring a win-win situation for both companies," she predicts.
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