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RFID News Roundup

Brooks Automation announces compact HF reader; Calif. Senate passes bill to keep RFID out of state IDs; Xterprise offers comprehensive RTI tracking; Diagraph's new midrange print-encode-apply system; VAI supports VeriFone's RFID-enabled payment terminal.
By Andrew Price
Jun 01, 2007The following are news announcements made during the week of May 28.

Brooks Automation Announces Compact HF Reader
RFID system provider Brooks Automation has introduced a new high frequency (13.56 MHz) HF reader in a compact form factor. The HF20 USB reader measures just 11 x 7 cm and comes with a USB 2.0 interface that enables end users to run the device off a PC or laptop, and also provides power to the reader. The interrogator includes an integrated antenna with a read-write range of 5 to 15 cm. (The HF20 reader is also available with an external antenna from German manufacturer Lemo, but this version does not come with a USB port.) The HF20 reads and encodes HF tags compliant with the ISO 15693 standard (used for many types of RFID identification cards), as well as NXP Semiconductors' I-Code chip and the candidate EPC HF standard. The interrogator is packaged with a Windows XP driver and configuration software. Further specifications are available on the Brooks site. The HF20 is available now, though pricing information has not yet been released.

Calif. Senate Passes Bill to Keep RFID Out of State IDs
California Senate Bill 30, which would place restrictions on how RFID technology could be deployed in identification cards issued by California state, county or municipal governmental entities, was approved by the California state senate on May 24. The state assembly is now considering the bill. California Senator Joseph Simitian authored the bill, which was part of a larger bill he introduced last year. That bill, SB 768, passed both legislative houses before California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it (see Calif. Gov Terminates RFID ID Bill).

Xterprise Offers Comprehensive RTI Tracking
Xterprise, a provider of RFID-enabled supply chain software applications, has released a new RFID-enabled asset management solution designed to help companies better utilize and track reusable transport items (RTIs). The company is offering the solution as an all-inclusive package, encompassing consulting services, Xterprise's XAM asset management middleware and application software, and a service for attaching and encoding tags to fleets of RTIs (or sourcing consultation for companies that do not already use RTIs). Most firms employ RTIs to ship raw materials or finished goods to or from internal and external supply chain partners. According to Xterprise, the majority of companies using RTIs are not employing efficient management techniques, and do not realize how these inefficiencies are impacting their business. Xterprise president Dean Frew says more than 50 million RTIs are lost, damaged or otherwise removed from service each year, at an estimated loss of nearly $1 billion. In many cases, RTIs are only temporarily misplaced, leading to excess inventory when the company purchases new RTIs to replace them. The Xterprise asset management platform uses RFID technology to provide companies with accurate and up-to-date location data so they can improve RTI utilization, which should result in overall business improvements.

Diagraph's New Midrange Print-Encode-Apply System
Diagraph, a St. Louis supplier of automated label applicators, has announced its midrange automated RFID printer-encoder-applicator, the PA/4600. Capable of encoding and applying 32 labels per minute, the device employs Diagraph's TampTenna design using an integrated antenna, attached to SATO's Lt408 printer-encoder, to encode and apply an RFID smart label to a product in a single motion. The PA/4600 verifies that each inlay is functional and rejects labels with bad inlays prior to application. Diagraph also sells the high-range PA/6000 RFID system, designed to encode, print, verify and apply 100 labels per minute. Available now, the PA/4600 costs $9,500.

VAI Supports VeriFone's RFID-enabled Payment Terminal
Vormittag Associates Inc. (VAI), a provider of enterprise resource planning software for the distribution, manufacturing, retail and service industries, has entered into an agreement with electronic payment technology company VeriFone. Under the terms of the contract, VAI has integrated VeriFone's MX870 payment platform and its RiTA Server payment transaction middleware into VAI's S2K Enterprise Edition for Retail Point-of-Sale software. The VeriFone MX870 is available with an integrated RFID interrogator for processing payments made with MasterCard's PayPass, Visa's payWave or American Express' ExpressPay RFID-enabled cards. By integrating the MX870 POS terminal and RiTA software into the S2K application, retailers will be able to easily send sales data derived from cash, magnetic stripe or RFID-based card transactions to their VAI ERP platforms. The S2K platform centralizes support for applications ranging from POS, accounting and inventory management to customer relationship management, purchasing, warehouse management and e-commerce.
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