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Rafsec Debuts Packaging RFID Tag

The Finnish company has introduced an RFID tag with an antenna designed for tagging paper packaging.
By Bob Violino
Sep 18, 2003By Jonathan Collins

Sept. 18, 2003 - Rafsec, a subsidiary of Finland's UPM-Kymmene Corp., has unveiled an RFID tag with an antenna specifically designed for tagging paper packaging. The company has also introduced a UHF version of its in-mold transponder technology.
Rafsec's new tag

The new Corrugated Case Tag (CCT) for paper packaging conforms to the Auto-ID Center's Class 1 EPC specification. Rafsec says it is inexpensive enough to attach or build in to disposable boxes and packaging.

"Although dependent on volume, we expect the tags to easily fall below 25 cents each," says Randy Stigall, VP of business unit asset and inventory management at Tampere, Finland-based Rafsec.

The tags operate at 915 MHz, the UHF band used in the United States. Rafsec is also developing an 868 MHz version for the European market. The company is offering several different pressure sensitive adhesive labels, so the tag can be attached to the exterior of a cardboard container. It will also supply a simple inlay—the transponder mounted on a substrate—so that it can be integrated into the package itself.

"We are waiting on some case studies," says Stigall. "Which application provides the lowest cost to manufacturers will depend on the way they plan to use the tag."

According to Stigall, paper manufacturers are looking at RFID as a way to add greater value to their products. But adoption of RFID technology in packaging is likely to be driven by their largest consumer packaging goods manufacturing customers, such as companies like Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

Rafsec has been developing a variety of transponders for different applications. Back in April, it introduced a 13.56 MHz transponder that could be embedded in injection-molded plastics (see Rafsec Offers Embedded RFID Tags). Now the company has introduced a UHF version that has a longer read range and is compliant with Class 1 EPC and ISO 18000-6, a proposed global standard for UHF tags.

The RFID tags can embedded in plastic containers or packaging when an injection molding or blow molding process makes a plastic part. According to Rafsec, the tags can become part of the plastic part without any delamination or structural compromise. The tags can also withstand the frequent hot water and aggressive chemical washes associated with many returnable plastic assets.

Rafsec is already testing the technology in supermarket meat trays in Europe and says trials in North America are expected to start shortly.

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