RFID News Roundup

By Rich Handley

AutomationDirect releases new RFID-coded non-contact safety switches ••• Idesco adds RFID encoding features to portable ID card printer ••• D-Tech International announces smart security system for school libraries ••• STAR Systems International intros new RFID vehicle hangtag ••• Elatec unveils TWN4 MultiTech reader.

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: AutomationDirect; Idesco; D-Tech International; STAR Systems International; and Elatec USA.

AutomationDirect Releases New RFID-Coded Non-contact Safety Switches

AutomationDirect has extended its safety products line to include its new LPF-series and SPF-series non-contact RFID-coded safety switches.

These switches employ RFID communication between switch and actuator to provide tamper-proof protection, using both master- and unique-coded actuators. When used in combination with a dual-channel safety relay, the company reports, the switches can provide protection up to Category 4 and PLe to ISO 13849-1.

AutomationDirect's LPF and SPF safety switches

The IP69K-rated LPF-series and SPF-series switches operate with most safety relays, according to the company, and feature plastic housings, a sensing distance greater than 10 millimeters (0.4 inch) and a high tolerance to misalignment after sensing.

With switching capability of up to 0.2A, both models are available in unique- and master-coded styles, with 2-, 5- or 10-meter (6.6-, 16.4- or 32.8-foot) pigtail cables or a 250-millimeter (9.8-inch) quick-disconnect cable. Female quick-disconnect cables in 5- and 10-meter lengths, as well as replacement master-coded actuators, are also available.

Idesco Adds RFID Encoding Features to Portable ID Card Printer

Idesco, a New York-based security systems integrator, has announced enhancements to its XXL 2.0 ID card printer for oversized badges. Optional ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) encoders are now available, making the printer capable of personalizing such badges with RFID and UHF encoding.

UHF card applications offer a greater read range, added memory and more reliability, Idesco reports. Customers can now streamline the flow of visitors while providing increased access control and efficiency.

Idesco's XXL 2.0 ID card printer

The XXL 2.0 ID card printer now comes in a dark burgundy color. The card-feeding rollers have been improved in order to simplify the feeding process, the company notes, and the printer is designed to personalize oversized ID cards on demand.

Event managers can use the printer to secure large venues, concerts, award ceremonies, trade shows and other corporate functions. The device can print up to 180 full cards per hour in color, and up to 1,400 cards per hour in monochrome.

"Our XXL printer has quickly become a standard in personalizing oversized badges on the spot," said Andrew Schonzeit, Idesco's president, in a prepared statement. "Over the years, Idesco has secured major events, and I believe that the latest printer enhancements will definitely bring incredible value to our customers. We had received many requests for UHF encoding, and we are very happy to offer a comprehensive solution that perfectly meets our clients' needs."

D-Tech International Announces Smart Security System for School Libraries

D-Tech International has announced the release of its RFIQ security system for the school library market, ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade. According to the company, the solution provides perimeter-based protection and improved alarm-handling capability. The RFIQ system uses the same labels as a radio frequency identification system, D-Tech explains, but with no need for software.

D-Tech International's RFIQ system

"D-Tech consulted with us to choose the right solution for our school library," said Sherry Rainosek, a Texas librarian at Victoria West High School Librarian, in a prepared statement. "We knew we needed to upgrade our security systems now. We didn't want to limit our choice based on our current budget restraints. We wanted to make sure we were making a sound technology decision that will serve our needs well into the future. The RFIQ system allows us to have a state-of-the art security solution and an upgrade path to RFID without having to replace the systems."

The RFIQ system, combined with D-Tech's new M180 antennas, labels and staff pads, provides a more cost-effective solution than currently available EM systems, the company claims. Ongoing costs are reduced, D-Tech adds, and the system can be upgraded to RFID to take advantage of advanced features. The solution can be upgraded with RFID software and an RFID wand to facilitate such features as fast inventory-taking and item searches.

"We pride ourselves in working with our clients to choose the right set of products that address their operational needs," said Marvin Crisp, D-Tech International's president, in the prepared statement. "RFIQ is an ideal package for the K-12 school library as they face dwindling budgets and limitations on their time. The system provides very high detection rates, no false alarms and antennas that can span more than five feet. It's a technology solution that will expand as our customers' needs evolve."

STAR Systems International Intros New RFID Vehicle Hangtag

STAR Systems International, a provider of RFID hardware, tags and professional services, has announced its new GATRIA vehicle hangtag for parking, access control and other automotive identification applications. According to the company, the hangtag is designed for ease of use, performance, portability and reusability in automatic vehicle identification applications, and can be hung on a vehicle's rear-view mirror to provide RFID detection and identification in a portable, reusable form factor.

GATRIA is designed for applications requiring temporary or portable vehicle identification functionality, STAR Systems explains. The solution is suitable for use in such applications as access control, temporary guest vehicle access, seasonal parking, fleet management, automotive service and repair stations, automotive dealerships and car washes.

STAR Systems International's GATRIA hangtag

Businesses, gated communities, universities, parking garages and other organizations can issue, reclaim or disable the tags needed. With a portable hangtag, credentials can also travel with an individual user rather than being tied to a specific vehicle. The tags can be customized with a company logo or other designs and text, STAR Systems adds.

"GATRIA provides a unique solution for customers looking for a reliable, automated system for short-term or temporary vehicle identification applications," said Bob Karr, STAR Systems International's managing director, in a prepared statement. The hangtags measure 127.4 millimeters by 101.6 millimeters (5 inches by 4 inches) and can be easily installed, removed and stored, the company indicates. The wideband-designed 860 to 960 MHz tags are compliant with the ISO 18000-6C (63) and EPC Gen 2 RFID standards, and also support password authentication.

GATRIA joins STAR Systems' existing line of RFID vehicle-identification solutions. These include the Aries headlamp transponder, the Astria vehicle registration sticker, the LEO license plate tag and the Venus windshield tags. The hangtag is currently available for shipment.

Elatec Unveils TWN4 MultiTech Reader

Elatec USA, a subsidiary of Elatec GmbH that designs and manufactures configurable RFID technology, has announced its TWN4 MultiTech reader.

The TWN4 card reader can reduce inventory requirements by more than 50 percent, the company reports. The device simultaneously reads more than 50 RFID technologies from both the low-frequency (LF) and high-frequency (HF) bands, including Near Field Communication (NFC). This allows a user the option of selecting as many of the technologies as required, instead of being forced to choose only one or two.

Elatec's TWN4 MultiTech reader

"A unique aspect of TWN4 is that it can be programmed in the field by presenting a contactless card," said John Tepley, Elatec USA's president, in a prepared statement. "The ease of programming with a contactless card eliminates the need to disassemble a product just to reprogram the card reader."

The TWN4 MultiTech reader can also be used as a diagnostic tool, once a user has installed a card-analyzer application known as TechTracer. This makes the device capable of identifying a card's type, data length and unique identification number, thereby eliminating the need to physically send cards offsite for identification purposes, and potentially saving weeks otherwise spent waiting for a diagnosis. Analyzing the card in front of an end customer demonstrates that the card can be read, the company explains, which is normally a requirement of a proof-of-concept demonstration.

With country certifications in most large and middle markets, the TWN4 MultiTech reader is available with custom programming and private labeling.