We're interested in understanding an RFID encoding solution for code date and lot number in a high-volume food-production environment, working with both physical label application devices and born-digital corrugated. What solutions should we investigate?
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I spoke with Jon Gregory, GS1 US's community engagement director, who offered some good suggestions on this topic: "For physical label applications, your existing label application printer may have the capability to receive an RFID encoder module upgrade, and your existing label application software will likely have the capability to specify what data is encoded into the label, but ensure that the software is leveraging the latest GS1 TDS 2.0 standard released last August. The EPC construction would leverage the DSGTIN+ encoding scheme specified in the GS1standard.
"Since the data presently encoded in label, (e.g., lot and date) is already available in your solution, it appears that you will not need further integration with your MES/WMS. You will need a means of ensuring unique serialization at the product level, which may be performed by the printer software/firmware or via middleware.
"You will need to have RFID tag chips with enough EPC memory to contain the data. This is dependent on the size and type of your lot number and number of digits needed for your serial number. GS1 is expected to provide an updated encoder/decoder utility that will simplify calculating this bit count by the end of the year.
"When it comes to born-digital applications, they typically have an RFID tag embedded in the corrugate, often by the corrugate manufacturer. A fixed reader is used to either overwrite or append data to the embedded RFID tag in the production line. The same guidance regarding the DSGTIN+ encoding scheme leveraging TDS 2.0 applies, as well as the tag memory requirements. You will need a means of communicating between your MES/WMS and your encoding solution in order to obtain the desired lot and date data to encode. You also need to ensure unique serialization which can be driven by your middleware. Appropriate quality control measures are required to ensure proper encoding."
GS1 US provides a solution partner listing. as well as discussion groups that may be helpful. You could contact also contact the Auburn University RFID Lab for additional information.
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