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Container Centralen Says It's Ready to Roll Out RFID in Europe

Within the next few months, users of the company's 3.5 million plant trolleys will begin receiving custom-designed passive tags that lock onto each cart, with the goal of improving inventory control and reducing shrinkage and counterfeiting.
By Rhea Wessel
The Tagging Process
The company is using a custom-designed tag from Confidex that complies with the EPC Gen 2 standards. To tackle the massive tagging job, Container Centralen is asking each of its customers to attach a tag to every CC Container located at its own facilities. The firm has more than 20,000 customers in 35 European countries, and will ship a set of tags to each one, along with installation instructions. The Confidex EPC Gen 2 tags are embedded in a housing that includes a hook, much like a padlock. The hook on the housing will be locked around a ring on the trolley's base, between two wheels, and the RFID padlock will be visible alongside the non-RFID version currently attached to the ring.

The company is trying to keep the color and design of the housing under wraps for as long as possible, Sorensen says, to avoid giving potential counterfeiters a head start on creating look-alike versions without RFID chips inside. Counterfeit trolleys, fitted with phony padlocks, are a big problem for Container Centralen.

By Nov. 1, every CC Container should be fitted with a specially designed passive UHF RFID tag, attached next to the black identification padlock (shown above) currently in use.

"Some companies in the flower industry try to enter cheaper copies of our trolleys into the flow of goods, but they often break down, which can create a big mess and cause a traffic jam in the supply chain," Sorensen states. "RFID is the perfect protection for those who scan the tags. If you do not scan, you risk receiving counterfeit trolleys that cannot be passed on in the system. However, there will be some companies that choose not to scan—at least in the beginning."

Even if a counterfeiter re-creates the tag's housing, the trolley will be rejected at the doors of any facility that has a handheld RFID interrogator (scanner), because a failed reading will result. If a counterfeiter were particularly enterprising and actually inserted an RFID tag within the housing, that tag's ID number would still be rejected at its customers' and partners' facilities, because Container Centralen is encrypting its tags for greater security. Sorensen declines to provide details regarding that encryption, however.

"We believe our tags cannot be copied," Sorensen says. "They're more secure than transferring money from bank to bank."

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