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RFID News Roundup

Radiant RFID implements asset tracking for Chicago-area bus-transit agency; TagMaster intros new active RFID reader for outdoor use; ASAP Systems' RFID-enabled online inventory-management software now integrates with QuickBooks; Tectus, Kathrein team up on RFID readers and antennas for use within explosive environments; Applied Nanotech unveils low-cost micron copper ink for electronic applications; VeriFone selected for contactless-payment rollout in Mexico City
Tectus, Kathrein Team Up on RFID Readers and Antennas for Use Within Explosive Environments
Tectus Transponder Technology and Kathrein have partnered on a complete line of ATEX-certified ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID products that will be distributed worldwide by Tectus. ATEX certification is achieved by complying with the ATEX directive, which consists of two European Union (EU) directives describing which equipment is allowed within an environment containing an explosive atmosphere. The new products—which include a variety of low-range, mid-range and wide-range antenna types and two different reader versions—are certified for ATEX zones 2 and 22. Zone 2 is an atmosphere in which a mixture of air and flammable substances in the form of gas, vapor or mist is not likely to occur in normal operation—but, in the event that it does occur, will persist for only a short period. Zone 22 is an atmosphere in which a cloud of combustible dust in the air is not likely to occur in normal operation—but, if it does occur, will persist for only a short period. The new ATEX UHF RFID Long Range Reader (model TPF-80-INT-ETHER) has an integrated antenna, according to the companies, and is designed for single-read points. The second new Long Range Reader (TPF-80-EXT-ETHER) is suitable for controlling up to four external antennas, the partners report. The antenna-integrated TPF-80-INT-ETHER version is suitable for so-called single read points, in order to reduce the complex installation of antenna cable. Both units are based on Kathrein's RFID reader, comply with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards, and have an aluminum housing with dimensions of 270 millimeters by 234 millimeters by 68 millimeters (10.6 inches by 9.2 inches by 0.2 inch) and a weight of 2.64 kilograms (5.8 pounds). The units feature an Ethernet port, and are equipped with up to four digital inputs and four digital outputs for additional control tasks. In addition, both models are IP 65-rated, meaning that testing has confirmed them to be dustproof and waterproof. The new transponder antennas include the following: The long-range TPA-UHF-270-LR model is housed in plastic, measures 270 millimeters by 270 millimeters by 45 millimeters (10.6 inches by 10.6 inches by 1.8 inches), and is IP 65-rated. The mid-range TPA-UHF-156-MR version is housed in plastic and measures 156 millimeters by 126 millimeters by 36 millimeters (6.1 inches by 5 inches by 1.4 inches). The mid-range antenna is IP 67-rated, which means it is dustproof and waterproof and is able to withstand submersion in water for brief periods of time. And the short-range TPA-UHF-90-SR model, also housed in plastic, measures 90 millimeters by 63 millimeters by 31 millimeters (3.5 inches by 2.5 inches by 1.2 inches) and has an IP 67 rating.

Applied Nanotech Unveils Low-Cost Micron Copper Ink for Electronic Applications
Applied Nanotech Holdings, a developer of nanotechnology solutions and products based in Austin, Tex., has introduced a new ink based on micron copper particles for low-cost, direct printing of electronic circuits for mobile devices, solar cells, display devices and more. The new microcopper ink is designed to replace expensive, silver-based conductors for rapidly developing applications in the printed electronics industry, according to Applied Nanotech. Microcopper inks fill a need for lower-cost conductive materials used for such applications as smart cards, RFID antennas, touch screens and sensors in smartphones, according to James Novak, the director of the company's nanoelectronics division. The microcopper ink material can easily be applied on various substrates by a number of additive print processes, according to Applied Nanotech, such as screen, flexography and gravure, as well as some advanced dispensing techniques. This reduces costs and waste compared to other approaches, the company reports, including lithography, presently used in the manufacturing of printed electronics circuits—printed circuit boards (PCBs), for example.

VeriFone Selected for Contactless-Payment Rollout in Mexico City
VeriFone Systems has announced that it will provide its merchant-payment solutions during the initial phase of a contactless-payment rollout in Mexico City by the Mexican bank Banamex, part of Grupo Financiero Banamex and a member of Citi. The rollout began on Aug. 9, and during the first phase, several thousand VeriFone contactless-enabled card-acceptance systems will be deployed to 1,900 merchants within the Mexico City metropolitan area. The bank is also issuing 100,000 RFID-enabled credit and debit cards, according to VeriFone, in order to begin the transition to the new innovative payment method. The bank will deploy VeriFone's VX 520 system to merchants that use traditional standalone countertop systems, and the VX 820 advance PIN pad to larger retailers that integrate payment systems to electronic cash-register systems. By the end of 2012, the bank expects to have issued 1 million contactless cards, VeriFone reports, and to have deployed 12,000 payment-acceptance systems. For purchases of less than 250 pesos (approximately $19), contactless payments will require no signatures.

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