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Hitachi Chemical Markets Tiny UHF Tag

Measuring only 2.5 millimeters in length and width, the Ultra-Small Package tag has a read range that can be boosted by means of an external antenna or other metallic object.
By Claire Swedberg
Hitachi is currently in the process of seeking partners that could make such a booster antenna for this inlay. However, the company reports, practically any other type of metal surface could be utilized to boost the tag's signal, with the metal surface serving as a conductor of the RF signal to lengthen read range. The Ultra-Small Package tag could, for example, be placed within the metal foil of a wine bottle's label, thereby extending its read range considerably without requiring an additional antenna.

The Ultra Small Package tag could be attached to a pharmaceutical's blister pack, with the packaging's foil component serving as a booster antenna.
Similarly, if the tag were attached to the foil wrap of a medicine package, it could be read by a UHF far-field reader. Nagase says he also envisions the tag being used within the health-care sector, in order to track such small items as medical equipment or test tubes. Another potential application would be item-level apparel tracking by retailers and clothing suppliers, with the tag embedded in a textile label sewn into a garment, and metallic yarn stitched into the label to serve as a booster antenna.

The tags cost approximately 30 cents each in orders of one million, Nagase says, though he expects that the price will drop as more high-volume orders are received.

According to Nagase, the Ultra-Small Package tag was launched this year as one of three new UHF RFID products, including a weldable metallic tag and a document control tag—though the latter two models are not being sold within the United States at this time, but rather are focused in the Asian market.

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