Rafsec Debuts EPC UHF Tags

By Jonathan Collins

The Finnish RFID tag maker announced its lineup of new smart labels that comply with Electronic Product Code standards.

UPM Rafsec, the RFID subsidiary of Finland's UPM-Kymmene Corp., has unveiled today its first commercial line of RFID labels made with EPC-compliant UHF tags at Frontline Solutions Conference and Exposition trade show here in Chicago.

The company announced three lines of UHF smart labels: tags made with chips that support the EPC Class 1 standard and come with 96 bits of read-write memory; tags made with chips that support the EPC Class 0+ with 256 bits of read-write memory; and tags made with Philips UCODE EPC 1.19 chips and come with 256 bits of read-write memory.

According to the company, the delivery of 96-bit UHF EPC labels from itself and other vendors will kick-start tag buying among end users. "Companies have been waiting for 96-bit chips. There was a clear trend among CIOs that they didn't want to start any software integration around 64-bit tags, and then have to change their data structures to later support the 96-bit tag that Wal-Mart has specified," says Timo Lindstrom, president of UPM Rafsec.

To deliver the tags the company is using RFID chips from three different vendors. The Class 1 chip is made by STMicroelectronics; the Class 0+ chip, by Impinj; and the UCODE EPC 1.19 chip,by Philips Semiconductors. Rafsec says it is using all three types of chips to suit differing demand from its European and U.S. customers, with European RFID deployments using tags with UCODE chips and U.S. customers using the other two designs.

The new RFID labels, which have adhesive backing and paper face material, are available immediately, and the company says that it has recently doubled manufacturing capacity to 100 million tags per year at its plant in Jyväskylä, Finland, to meet expected demand for the tags.

Within each UHF tag family, UPM Rafsec says it will offer a choice of five label sizes with different levels of RF absorbency or reflectance to match varying customer requirements. However, the company says it can also design and deliver other label configurations to suit customer demand. Each UHF offering will also include inlets, die-cut adhesive inlets and tags for demanding environments like injection molding.

Pricing for the tags will be set by tag quantity and configuration, but Rafsec says it expects pricing to be in the "tens of cents" range on average.

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