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Impinj Seeks to Make Serializing Data Easy

The RFID chipmaker is launching Monza Self-Serialization, its chip-based EPC serialization method designed to make it easy for a supplier to encode tags with unique ID numbers, and to ensure that it never duplicates Electronic Product Codes.
By Mark Roberti
Feb 15, 2012Impinj, a Seattle-based provider of EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) radio frequency identification chips and readers, has introduced Monza Self-Serialization, its chip-based method of serializing Electronic Product Codes (EPCs). To take advantage of Monza Self-Serialization, a company must use EPC Gen 2 tags containing Monza 5 RFID chips, as well as Impinj's Source Tagging Platform on its readers. Other RFID hardware vendors can offer their own chip-based serialization schemes, but Impinj reports that it is the first to announce a "fully supported, enterprise-ready approach."

Monza Self-Serialization is aimed at businesses that must tag many individual products with unique serial numbers, such as apparel suppliers, pharmaceutical companies and others. The method involves employing the unique unalterable Tag ID (TID) burned into each microchip during manufacture. Using Impinj's Source Tagging Platform, a reader adds part of the TID to the user company's manager number and product serial number, in order to create a Serialized Global Trade Identification Number (SGTIN), a GS1 identifier for products.

Larry Arnstein, Impinj's senior director of business development
Larry Arnstein, Impinj's senior director of business development, says the serialization process has caused disruptions in the supply chains of several companies that had been asked by retailers to tag their goods. Some businesses have had to change suppliers or service bureaus, since their existing tag suppliers could not manage the process of encoding serialized data. The serialization process requires that every tag be encoded with a unique EPC. If a company has multiple manufacturing facilities, ensuring that multiple tags are not encoded with the same Electronic Product Code involves constantly checking a database for EPCs already assigned.

"Serialization is a big deal for suppliers [that don't currently tag their products], because most don't need to do it today, and introducing it becomes disruptive," Arnstein explains. "In October of 2010, we worked with a few suppliers to try to figure out a way to make it easier. We say our system is chip-based because it doesn't involve any software or IT systems."

By using the TID to create the EPC, Arnstein says, Impinj removes the headache for suppliers, enabling them to follow their normal business processes. If a supplier is currently using a printer to print labels, it may opt to replace that printer with an RFID printer supporting Monza Self-Serialization, in order to create unique EPCs upon printing and encoding the RFID label, before applying it to a product.

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