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Taiwan Customs Officials Adopt RFID-enabled Container Seals
Officials at Kaohsiung Harbor, Taiwan's busiest port, have introduced the seals with EPC Gen 2 chips to improve security and reduce the need for officers to escort cargo containers.
In early 2008, Yeon Technologies began testing Speedway interrogators in 20 lanes at Kaohsiung Harbor, in order to demonstrate their performance and durability in harsh environments. During trials, Tai says, the YTE-100 outperformed other e-seal designs and Kaohsiung Customs chose to test 4,200 of the e-seals during the pilot.
"The requirements were very simple," Tai explains. "Kaohsiung Customs wanted a secure bolt with a read rate accuracy of 95 percent or higher, and a read range of 7 meters [23 feet] even when trucks are traveling at 60 kilometers [37 miles] per hour or more. Furthermore, once destroyed or cut off, the e-seal must stop functioning to ensure cargo has not been tampered with. If an e-seal could be reused, then there is no guarantee that the container has not been opened at some point during transit."
To seal a container's door, the YTE-100's bolt is inserted into the device's body. This locks the bolt and body together, thereby establishing an electrical connection between the chip embedded in the bolt and an antenna within the body, which enables the chip's encoded ID number to be interrogated. The e-seal can endure a force of up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds), but if broken, it will cease to function.
Impinj's Speedway readers were chosen because they feature high receive sensitivity to increase the effective read range, patented AutoSet functionality to configure the interrogators to deliver the highest read reliability, and dynamic antenna switching to optimize each antenna's read time based on the number of RFID tags within the field of view.
"Customs trialed active e-seals, but cost was an issue," Tai states. "It wanted a low-cost system that still provided the same benefits—passive e-seals have no batteries, but are robust, have a unique ID code and provide security for the containers."
Yeon Technologies initially conducted field tests at a Taiwanese industrial park, where real container trucks traveled past the RFID readers at speeds of up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour. The result during testing was a read rate accuracy of 97 percent, Tai reports, with the read range extending as far as 18 meters (59 feet) in several cases.
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