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RFID News Roundup

SML Group launches RFID solutions for retail garment and item tracking; Cascade Engineering's Xtreme RFID division launches on-metal UHF tag made with Avery Dennison inlay; Leo InnoTech, UPM RFID implement solution for apparel warehouse optimization in China; Sony Ericsson announces NFC-enabled Xperia smartphones, tags; LSCM R&D Center intros near-field UHF RFID reader chip; Hutchison Port Holdings unveils round-the-clock monitoring service for cargo, assets.
Jan 19, 2012The following are news announcements made during the past week.

SML Group Launches RFID Solutions for Retail Garment and Item Tracking
SML Group Ltd., a solutions provider that supplies tags and labels to the retail apparel industry, has announced the launch of its new RFID solutions, which will carry the brand name of ViziT. The ViziT item-visibility solutions will cover a full range of paper, plastic and fabric RFID labels, as well as tickets and stickers that can be attached to hanging and stacked apparel items. The solutions are designed to provide retailers with real-time item visibility via item-level EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tracking. SML Group can encode each RFID label, ticket and sticker with its own unique GS1 Electronic Product Code (EPC) serial number. Tagged items can then be tracked by means of SML's ViziT IT cloud-based data-management software. ViziT also provides for semi-automated inventory control, the company reports, and offers improved loss prevention by triggering alarms and providing item identification at store exits. SML offers high-speed RFID tag encoding and label printing through its own global network of service bureaus in such locations as China, Korea, India, Bangladesh, Central America, the United States and Europe. According to SML, the service bureaus use Impinj's STP Source Tagging Platform, which combines Impinj readers and antennas dedicated to encoding tags at high speed, enabling SML to produce a very quick order turnaround time for delivery of labels from receipt of order. In addition, SML is partnering with Tagsys and real-time store-management solutions provider Nedap to offer a complete one-stop shop for all RFID hardware and systems solutions that may be required to gather and manage the data throughout the retail store and logistics operations. Until now, SML has only been able to offer a very small and limited RFID solution, with all manufacturing being outsourced, says Philip Calderbank, SML's VP of global RFID. With the introduction of ViziT, he adds, SML is able to offer a comprehensive set of solutions, all manufactured in-house and delivered through SML's network.

Cascade Engineering's Xtreme RFID Division Launches On-Metal UHF Tag Made With Avery Dennison Inlay
Xtreme RFID, a division of Cascade Engineering, is introducing a rugged on-metal tag incorporating Avery Dennison RFID's AD-843 EPC Gen 2 inlay. The Xtreme Metal Tag, measuring 5.75 inches by 2.4 inches by 0.31 inch, is encased in plastic via a custom injection-molding process developed by Xtreme RFID. Mike Lewis, Xtreme RFID's business unit manager, says his company required a minimum 6-foot read range on metal substrates, which the AD-843 is capable of providing. Avery Dennison RFID reports that Xtreme RFID put the AD-843 through intense testing under both laboratory and real-world conditions, and that its plastic casing is resistant to a variety of liquids, including water, motor oil, hydraulic oil, dishwashing detergent, gasoline, isopropyl alcohol, mineral spirits, acetone and bleach. The Xtreme Metal Tag has an operational temperature of -40 degrees to +65 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees to 149 degrees Fahrenheit), and a storage temperature of -40 degrees to 85 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees to 185 degrees Fahrenheit). According to the company, tests have shown that it can withstand 241 bars, or 3,500 pounds per square inch (PSI), of water pressure, and the impact of a 2.18 kilogram (4.8-pound) steel ball dropped from a height of 0.914 meters (3 feet) five times. The companies report that the Xtreme Metal Tag is designed for a number of applications, including solid waste and recycling, material handling, and the tracking of steel trash containers and other assets composed of metal. For the waste and recycling applications, RFID readers located aboard collection trucks can identify a tagged Dumpster via its Xtreme Metal Tag's pre-encoded identification number. The reader notes the date and time of pickup, and if the load is weighed, the system can record the weight of the collected trash, and associate it with that specific trash receptacle in a back-end database for analysis. The accessibility of this data is aimed at helping trash collectors save money (by optimizing resources) and increase revenue (by refining billing processes).

Leo InnoTech, UPM RFID Implement Solution for Apparel Warehouse Optimization in China
RFID and interactive technology provider Leo InnoTech (LIT) and UPM RFID report that they have completed one of the largest item-level RFID implementations for a Chinese apparel company, with 6 million apparel items tagged annually. The solution focuses primarily on warehouse logistics optimization, benefiting the apparel company with significantly lower labor costs and fast delivery. Global printing company Leo Paper Group (LPG), LIT's parent company, is supplying the printing and lamination of RFID hangtags containing embedded UPM's DogBone or ShortDipole EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID inlays. LIT has set up a patented solution with gate-in and gate-out tunnels, the company reports, and apparel passes through accurately and reliably at an average of 350 items within 20 seconds. For hanging garments, LIT has set up a 70-meter-long (230-foot-long) automatic conveyor system, in which garments are classified and controlled to 28 gates using RFID technology at a speed of 60 to 90 hanging garments per minute. According to UPM and LIT, the RFID technology will decrease the apparel manufacturer's labor costs. The implementation is also expected to improve customer service—when apparel items pass through outbound logistics accurately and without delay, retail customers receive fast and correct deliveries, and mis-shipments and rush deliveries can be avoided. Overall, the companies indicate, transportation resources are used more effectively and with lower environmental impact.

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