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RFID News Roundup

Trimble introduces ThingMagic Astra-EX UHF RFID reader; HID Global wraps up two NFC smartphone pilots that open doors in the enterprise; TracTech Systems announces new handheld RFID reader for jewelry industry; Fujitsu announces availability of new high-memory RFID chip.
TracTech Systems Announces New Handheld RFID Reader for Jewelry Industry
TracTech Systems, a provider of RFID-enabled jewelry inventory-management technology, has announced a new handheld ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2-based RFID reader designed to offer jewelry manufacturers, distributors and retailers the ability to easily capture item information from items on shelves, in displays or at workstations while conducting store inventory counts. The new HR-300 reader, which weighs about a pound, captures unique ID data from TracTech EPC Gen 2 passive UHF RFID labels on pieces of jewelry, and wirelessly uploads the information to jewelry-management systems from such companies as Abbott Jewelry Systems, Diaspark and LogicMate. TracTech offers EPC Gen 2 passive UHF RFID labels and tags in various form factors, including tags that can be applied directly to stone parcels, as well as those with larger antennas that work well with metal-intensive watches. The company also offers a variety of other RFID interrogators (see RFID News Roundup: TracTech Systems Integrates With The Edge Software on RFID-enabled Jewelry-Management System), including the A100 "Black Box," for reading dense inventories in large quantities; the M360 "Counter Pad," for smaller-quantity reads, as well as point-of-sale and in-counter inventory; and the CP100 "Counter Pad," a wireless folding pad that opens up to reveal an RFID reader and a touch screen for displaying product information. According to Keven Peck, TracTech's founder and president, the HR-300 reader's most important benefit to jewelry industry players is that it is part of an entire system that captures, processes and stores information—all with that sector's specific needs in mind.

Fujitsu Announces Availability of New High-Memory RFID Chip
Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd. has announced the availability of its MB89R112 chip, designed for high-frequency (HF) RFID tags, that includes 9 kilobytes of ferroelectric random-access memory (FRAM), with a full 8 kilobytes available as user memory. Unveiled in July 2012 (see RFID News Roundup: Fujitsu Launches New Chip for High-Frequency RFID Tags With Large Memory Capacity), the MB89R112 chip is built for use in passive RFID tags complying with the ISO 15693 standard. The chip is part of Fujitsu's FerVID family, which utilize ferroelectric memory for fast write speeds, rewritability, radiation tolerance and low-power operation. According to Fujitsu, it developed FRAM products with two frequency bands to serve as chips for high-functionality RFID tags operating in the 13.56 MHz high-frequency (HF) and 860 to 960 MHz ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) bands for a wide range of applications. These include chips for data-carrier tags in the factory-automation and maintenance sectors that take advantage of FRAM's fast write speeds and high memory capacity; chips for the medical and pharmaceutical sectors, able to withstand gamma radiation and electron beams; and chips with serial interfaces for embedded applications. The new MB89R112 chip has a serial peripheral interface bus (SPI) interface that provides the chip (as well as tags manufactured with that chip) with the ability to connect to sensors and microcontrollers. For example, the chip can be used to log environmental readings of logistics, detect equipment errors, modify electronic displays, change sensor threshold values, or update firmware settings. According to Fujitsu, the chip's user memory is structured as 256 blocks of 32 bytes per block, permitting read and write access to the entire 8-kilobyte region defined by the ISO 15693 standard. Writing 8 kilobytes of data takes approximately four seconds, the firm reports—a high-speed operation six times faster than products using electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM). The company assures data retention for up to 10 years.

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