Pragmatic Semiconductor, Banbroken, Hana Technologies, Michelin: RFID News Roundup

By Claire Swedberg

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Pragmatic Semiconductor opens new fab site; NFC-enabled sport shoes brings music, content; Hana Technologies teams with Michelin for RFID tire tagging

Pragmatic Semiconductor Opens New Fab Site

Technology company Pragmatic Semiconductor has opened a new facility for production of semiconductors in Durham, UK. The Pragmatic Park manufacturing site will enable the company to expand its FlexIC technology–an NFC-based, sustainable, low-cost alternative to silicon chips.

The new site will be the first 300 millimeter-sized wafer, semiconductor fabrication site in operation in the UK, with the capacity to produce billions of FlexICs per year, across nine fabrication lines. The 60,000 square meter site comes with room for expansion for up to eight additional fabrication lines.

The company’s mission is to provide item-level intelligence, with 13.56 MHz NFC, to trillions of smart objects over the next decade. The technology is intended to serve a variety of applications such as smart packaging of fast-moving consumer goods to boost levels of reuse and recycling, as well as improve waste management, and enable a circular economy. Other use cases include wearables, sensors and flexible controllers; the company reports.

The manufacturing facility reportedly enables the company to meet the growing demand for its sustainable technology from customers worldwide. Over the next five years, Pragmatic anticipates creating over 500 high skilled jobs in England and Cambridge.

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NFC-Enabled Sport Shoes Brings Music, Content to Consumers

Athletic show brand Banbroken has released its ARTDesign Sport Shoes with NFC functionality to help consumers engage with the brand after they take the shoes home. The company calls it the first NFC tech-enabled smart shoe.

The new sneakers come in eight models that all include a feature known as TAP-Tech. The shoes have built in NFC tags, compliant with the ISO 14443 standard, that transmit to NFC enabled phones.

Users tap their compatible smartphone against the shoe’s tag to be linked to their choice of music, launch their social media accounts or be directed to other sites for relevant content. The goal, the company reports, is to bridge the offline and online worlds for athletes wearing the Banbroken branded products.

The shoes are designed to be artistic, but technologically advanced by providing seamless online connectivity.

Beyond applications for consumers wearing the sports shoes, the NFC technology implementation can be used by retailers to enhance customer experiences, the company claims. Other sporting goods products feature NFC tags, more commonly attached to the packaging for authentication or inventory management.

Hana Technologies Teams with Michelin for RFID Tire Tagging

Hana Technologies has signed a license agreement with tire company Michelin, providing its UHF RFID tire tag Rev 4 to be embedded in Michelin tires. The goal is to provide Michelin with the latest generation of RFID tags that offer better technical and sustainability performance than predecessor products.

The two companies announced their partnership at the Tire Technology Expo in Hanover Germany in March.

Michelin is among the global tire manufacturers that have RFID tagging initiatives underway to help track their products, and enable their customers to also track how and when the tire is sold, serviced or refurbished. RFID serves as a tool to help tire companies meet the Digital Product Password (DPP) legislation underway in the EU that will mandate all tires be uniquely identifiable to be tracked through their lifespan to recycling or disposal.

Hana says it has manufactured more than 150 million tire tags thus far.