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RFID News Roundup

Phychips wins multiple customers for EPC reader chip for mobile phones; Avery Dennison announces new inlays, one-billionth shipment; InfoChip unveils new in-metal HF RFID chip; Hungarian RFID provider debuts RFID EAS hard tag in North America; ImageFIRST selects Fujitsu RFID tags for garment tracking; RFID Global raises $2.5 million in funding; Austriamicrosystems' IC featured in Thinkify's RFID reader-writer; TI to acquire National Semiconductor.
Apr 07, 2011The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Phychips Wins Multiple Customers for EPC Reader Chip for Mobile Phones
Korean RFID technology firm Phychips has announced that a number of Chinese companies are using its EPC Gen 2 (ISO 18000 6c) ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) reader chip (known as the PR9000) in a variety of applications. The chip is incorporated into a universal subscriber identity module (USIM) card that is inserted into a handheld computer or A mobile phone, enabling the device to function as a reader of passive RFID tags (see South Korean Consortium Launches EPC Gen 2 Reader for Mobile Phones). In China's Sichuan Province, for example, a chicken farm is utilizing the USIM card in handheld devices to read tags implanted under the skin of a chicken's neck. A Chinese car manufacturer is utilizing devices with the USIM chip to read specially designed UHF tags attached to metal parts of automotive accessories. Wuliangye Group is employing the reader chip to track bottles of liquor, and several unnamed electronics manufacturers are using it to interrogate tags on their product-transporting trays, in order to manage assembly processes. The systems integrator for these Chinese deployments is Chengdu RML Technology Co., also based in Sichuan. In addition, last month, SK Telecom signed a contract with Chinese wireless communication firm Sunnada Communication Co., Ltd., to export 55,000 USIM cards incorporating the PR9000 reader chip. "Phychips' product is simple to design and very cost-effective," says LC Kwan, Chengdu RML's general manager. "It is good for projects working at a reading distance of around 1 meter range." Phychips will exhibit its PR9000 UHF 900 MHz reader chip product in booth 218C at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011, being held in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 12-14.

Avery Dennison Announces New Inlays, One-Billionth Shipment
Avery Dennison will announce the availability of several new inlays next week in booth 618 at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011, being held in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 12-14. The roster of inlays includes new 13.56 MHz high-frequency (HF) inlays supporting the ISO 15693 and ISO 18000-3 Mode 1 protocols, featuring the latest SLIX integrated circuit from NXP Semiconductors, the company reports, and offering improved read ranges, more built-in security features and a variety of sizes. The new AD-709x inlay, designed for tracking books and documents, measures 47 millimeters by 47 millimeters (1.9 inches by 1.9 inches). The AD-714x HF model, suitable for library labels and ISO cards, measures 45 millimeters by 76.2 millimeters (1.8 inches by 3 inches). The AD-720x HF inlay measures 42 millimeters (1.7 inches) in diameter, and is optimized for DC and DVD hub placement, while the AD-730x HF version measures 36 millimeters by 18 millimeters (1.4 inches by 0.7 inch), and is designed for health-care applications. And the AD-770x HF model, measuring 15 millimeters by 15 millimeters (0.6 inch by 0.6 inch), is intended for small medical devices and secure entry devices, the company reports. These new HF tags all have 896 bits of user memory and support Near Field Communication (NFC) applications. Avery Dennison is also announcing new ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) inlays featuring increased read range, greater size variety and additional options. The new UHF EPC Gen 2 inlays, made with NXP's G2iL IC, have 128 bits of Electronic Product Code (EPC) memory and 64 bits of Tag Identifier (TID) memory, and operate at the 860 MHz to 960 MHz UHF band. The AD-232iL inlay, which measures 70 millimeters by 14.5 millimeters (2.8 inches by 0.6 inch), is designed for tracking items that are stacked. According to Avery Dennison, this model works well on high dielectric materials, such as denim, making it suitable for item-level apparel and supply chain applications. The AD-226iL inlay, which measures 95 millimeters by 8 millimeters (3.7 inches by 0.3 inch), is an economical, general-purpose inlay for a wide range of apparel and logistics applications. Finally, the AD-380iL model, measuring 50 millimeters by 30 millimeters (2 inches by 1.2 inches), features an increased read range for a variety of carton- and apparel-tagging applications requiring inlays with a smaller footprint. In addition to the new inlays, the company has announced that it has shipped its one-billionth UHF RFID inlay, which it says is an industry first and signals the broadening deployment of RFID technology to overcome real-world challenges. The firm reports that its RFID inlays are attached to or embedded in labels and tags produced by multiple label-converting partners, and are distributed in more than 60 countries worldwide.

InfoChip Unveils New In-Metal HF RFID Chip
InfoChip Systems Inc., headquartered in Alberta, Canada—a provider of RFID-enabled software for maintenance and inspection applications, as well as RFID tags and readers—is unveiling a new in-metal chip next week at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011, being held in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 12-14. The new, patent-pending RFID DuraPlug is a 13.56 MHz in-metal tag compliant with the ISO 15693 standard. According to Tom Bamford, InfoChip's VP of sales and marketing, the chip measures 8 millimeters by 3 millimeters (0.3 inch by 0.1 inch) and is designed to track industrial assets exposed to extreme conditions. The chip is glueless and can be attached by drilling a small hole into an asset using InfoChip's presized drill, and then tapping the tag into that hole. "This results in an exclusive combination of low cost and extreme resistance to heat, impact and chemicals," Bamford says. The DuraPlug can be paired with InfoChip's plug-and-play USB stick reader. The company's tags come with 1 kilobit of storage, but other options are available. InfoChip will showcase the DuraPlug next week in booth 836 at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011, being held in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 12-14.

Hungarian RFID Provider Debuts RFID EAS Hard Tag in North America
QID Solutions Inc., a Hungarian provider of RFID solutions and tags primarily for the retail sector, is introducing its QID smartPIN reusable RFID hard tag for fashion retail to the North American market. The company will showcase the tag next week in booth 744 at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011, being held in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 12-14. The patent-pending tag is EPC Gen 2-compliant, measures 14 millimeters by 61 millimeters by 3.5 millimeters (0.6 inch by 2.4 inch by 0.1 inch) and weights 4.5 grams (0.2 ounce). It works with a variety of existing electronic article surveillance (EAS) technologies, and locks (via a standard EAS pin), but also works as a standalone RFID EAS tag. The tag offers a read range of 0.8 meters to 2.5 meters (2.6 feet to 8.2 feet) with a handheld RFID reader, and 2.5 meters to 4 meters (8.2 feet to 13.1 feet) with a fixed interrogator. The tag consists of strengthened plastic and has an IP 68 rating, making it dustproof and waterproof. It can operate in temperatures of -20 degrees to +80 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees to +26 degrees Fahrenheit). Until now, the product has been marketed only in Europe and the Middle East, according to Péter Perecz, the company's sales manager and cofounder. Adding the smartPIN tag to an EAS installation requires no changes to the EAS system, Perecz says, adding, "It also does not degrade the performance of the EAS tags." SmartPIN can come with a bar code printed on it as well. According to Perecz, QID Solutions is now manufacturing an order of 85,000 tags for a Middle Eastern retailer (which has asked not to be identified) that will utilize the smartPIN in its supply chain and shops. The systems integrator working on the implementation is Technowave Group. QID Solutions does not sell the smartPIN to retailers; instead, Perecz says, the company leverages partners and systems integrators that can add value and sell solutions to stores.

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