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Industrial-Strength Tag Team

EMS adds a new heat-resistant tag to its FastTrack line, to replace a discontinued Allen-Bradley model.
By Bob Violino
Nov 04, 2003To tap demand from companies with legacy RFID systems, Escort Memory Systems (EMS) has added a larger RFID tag to its FastTrack line. The new LRP525HTS, which can stand up to scorching conditions, will likely be sold to carmakers and other manufacturers that need temperature-tolerant tags.

According to EMS, an RFID tag and reader manufacturer in Scotts Valley, Calif., the LRP525HTS is a direct replacement for tags previously supplied by Allen-Bradley, a controls and engineered-services company that is part of Rockwell Automation. In 1999, Rockwell Automation said it would no longer manufacture RFID equipment, but named Escort Memory Systems as its preferred RFID technology supplier.

“Since Allen-Bradley stopped producing tags, we have sold the LRP125/250HT as a smaller replacement tag. But many companies across Asia and elsewhere insist on the same form factor and same range as their existing tags,” says Suresh Palliparambil, marketing manager for EMS, who estimates there are 10,000 to 15,000 of the Allen-Bradley tags currently deployed.

The LRP525HTS, whose memory, read range and form factor match those of the Allen-Bradley tag, is 125mm in length as opposed to the 50mm length of EMS's LRP125/250HT. The new tag also has double the memory compared with of the LRP125/250HT—112 bytes of data versus 48 bytes. Depending on the antenna fixed to it, the LRP525HTS has a range of up to 36 inches—around twice that of EMS’s smaller tag. Data transfer rates remain the same—1200 bytes/sec with LRP reader/writers from EMS.

Both EMS tags use I-CODE chips from Philips Semiconductors, which is headquartered in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The LRP525HTS, a passive tag that operates at 13.56 MHz, conforms to the ISO 15693 standard.

As with other tags in the company's FastTrack line, the new LRP525HTS is capable of withstanding repeated cycles of temperatures up to 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit). The most popular applications for these tags are in the automotive industry, where tagged products have to go through a painting process that requires intense heat. Glass manufacturers and other industries also use the tags.

According to EMS, companies using the old Allen-Bradley tags are depleting their stock of replacement tags. “They bought out supplies when Allen-Bradley left the market, but their stock levels are getting low,” says Palliparambil. “More than anything, they are looking for ongoing support for these systems.”

In addition to providing replacement tags for the ones made by Allen-Bradley, EMS offers two reader/writers—the LRP820-04 and the LRP820-08—to replace the Allen-Bradley originals. EMS says it expects to see significant demand for the new tags, which are currently available, throughout next year. No pricing details are available.

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