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Positek RFID Offering UHF System for Tracking Linens, Textiles

The provider of RFID-based garment-tracking systems for the hospitality and garment-rental industries is launching a solution that utilizes EPC Gen 2 tags from Fujitsu Frontech North America.
By Mary Catherine O’Connor
Apr 14, 2010Positek RFID, a provider of RFID-based garment-tracking systems for the hospitality and garment-rental industries, announced today that it has formed a partnership with Fujitsu Frontech North America to develop an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID-based solution for Positek's customers.

Currently, almost all of Positek's nearly 100 customers use high-frequency (HF) RFID tags, operating at 13.56 MHz and complying with the ISO 15693 standard, to track linens, uniforms and rental equipment such as mats (the remainder employ bar codes for tracking). But through its partnership with Fujitsu, Positek is now rolling out the ability to track items using UHF tags, which sport a longer read range than HF tags.

Fujitsu's WT-A511 passive UHF RFID tag
Two Positek customers are currently testing the Fujitsu tags in pilot trials, says Jeff Markman, the company's president. "The two advantages of UHF tags over HF tags are read distance and speed," he explains, "and that all boils down to reading bigger groups of items, faster."

Positek is offering its customers Fujitsu's WT-A511 RFID tag, designed for applications such as garment tracking. The inlay, which complies with the ISO 18000-6C (EPC Gen 2) standard, is covered in flexible plastic that protects the tag from water and extreme temperatures. According to the company, the tag—which is less than 2 inches in length—can survive temperatures of 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 degrees Celsius) for drying and autoclave systems, or 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius) for ironing, as well as the pressure of pressing machines.

Groups of hundreds of Fujitsu tags can be reliably read from a distance of 6 feet, Markman says, compared with just 20 inches, at best, with HF tags. What's more, says Dan Dalton, Fujitsu Frontech North America's director of new product development, because the tag-to-reader communication bandwidth is greater for UHF tags than for HF, hundreds of UHF tags can be read en masse, whereas only a handful of HF tags can be read simultaneously.

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