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Avery Dennison Debuts Extra-Durable High-Memory EPC Gen 2 Tag

An oil refinery is using the company's new AD-902 tag to help it track personnel and assets during emergencies.
By Beth Bacheldor
Nov 14, 2008Avery Dennison's RFID division this week added to its RFID tag portfolio the AD-902, a durable tag compliant with the EPC Class 1 Gen 2 and ISO-18000-6C standards, and optimized for on-metal performance. The tag features 240 bits of EPC memory and 512 bits of user memory in a rugged, impact-resistant case made of polycarbonate—a step up from Avery Dennison's other durable EPC Class 1 Gen 2 tag with a case made of PVC, according to George Dyche, the company's RFID durable product manager. The impact-resistant case is designed to be impervious to dust and jets of water, earning it an International Protection (IP) rating of 65. What's more, the case is reusable and can be applied to substrates via bolt or rivet.

One company—an oil and gas refinery that has asked not to be identified—is implementing the AD-902 tag to track personnel and assets on site. Chicago-based consulting and systems integration firm Omicron Technologies worked with the refinery to develop the RFID system, which will help the company track personnel during emergencies, as well as keep tabs on such assets as high-end laptops and specialized tools.

Omicron's CEO, Lionel Rabb, says the AD-902 was the only standards-based, passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tag able to meet the company's needs and performance requirements. Initially, the refinery considered employing active tags to track personnel, and was in the process of getting the active tags certified as nonincendive devices (signifying they have been sealed in such a way that flammable vapors cannot get inside them, which could cause a fire or some other reaction). Because a passive tag's power output is nominal, if not nonexistent, Rabb says, it need not be rated or certified as nonincendive.

Equally important, Rabb adds, the AD-902 met the refinery's performance requirements. "We tested several tags on people," he says, "and particularly on people in motion, and the AD-902 was the only one that actually worked [as needed] and had high performance and also already had a rugged design. The antenna on this tag seems to be very good for distance, and even with people running." He adds that read ranges of 5 to15 feet were achieved during tests.

Another factor was the additional memory storage, Rabb says, because the refinery wants to be able to store not only a unique ID number on the tag, but also a person's name or an additional asset identifier. That's because the refinery lacks a wireless network that would allow the handheld readers to access a back-end database in order to download information corresponding to tag ID numbers as they are captured. The refinery's RFID system includes handheld interrogators from Intermec that have been certified as nonincendive. The readers communicate via a cellular network to transfer tag data to secure Web servers.

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