RFID News Roundup

By Beth Bacheldor

Alien Technology intros self-adapting enterprise-class reader, two new antennas ••• DELO, Mühlbauer advance partnership with new foil cartridge for RFID adhesives ••• Checkpoint Systems' unveils new RFID labels for health, beauty, cosmetics ••• Juniper Systems showcases rugged notebook with built-in Bluetooth RFID reader ••• IDTronic presents new RFID handheld computer with Android, new readers and modules ••• HID Global intros RFID tag for tracking linens and garments, new Microsoft authentication solution.


The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
Alien Technology;
DELO Industrial Adhesives, Mühlbauer;
Checkpoint Systems;
Juniper Systems, IDBlue;
IDTronic; and HID Global.

Alien Technology Intros Self-Adapting Enterprise-Class Reader, Two New Antennas

Alien Technology has launched the Alien ALR-F800 enterprise-class ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID reader and two new reader antennas that feature a new architecture designed to intelligently adapt and configure based on its environment. According to Alien, the architecture enables the ALR-F800 to dynamically provide optimal Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) transmit power and performance as environmental qualities fluctuate or deteriorate, making it suitable for enterprise reader environments.

Improvements in the ALR-F800 reader’s discrete architecture include industry standard MicroSD and USB slots for adding memory and additional capabilities, such as cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. These improvements enable new levels of flexibility for system enhancements and future proofing, the company reports. The reader incorporates advanced receiver sensitivity, along with intelligent real-time phase cancellation. It also supports Alien Technology’s Alien Reader Protocol, as well as Ruby, .Net, and other advanced scripting and programming tools. The new reader is also firmware-compatible with Alien’s ALR-9900+ reader, and is expected to support the Low Level Reader Protocol (LLRP) in the near future.

Housed in a unique, cast aluminum chassis, the reader measures approximately 7 inches by 7.5 inches by 1.1 inches and includes four 100 millimeter-spaced PIMS for screws for standard flat display (VESA) mounting. Additionally, Alien’s two new IP67-rated antennas can be used with a variety of Alien and non-Alien readers. Both antennas are high-performance, worldwide, circular-polarized models. The ALR-8697 is a circular 8.5dBic antenna particularly targeted for use with the ALR-F800, while the ALR-8698 is a 10.5 dBic antenna that, despite its high gain, maintains the identical form factor of 10 inches by 10 inches by 1.4 inches with its lower power variant.

The ALR-F800 and the new antenna will be available for volume ordering in June. All three products are being exhibited in booth 212 at the RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, being held this week in San Diego, Calif.

DELO, Mühlbauer Advance Partnership With New Foil Cartridge for RFID Adhesives

German adhesives firm DELO Industrial Adhesives (which provides the glue that affixes an antenna and a chip to an inlay during application, bonding and curing processes) and Mühlbauer, a worldwide manufacturer of RFID smart label systems, have extended their partnership to enable DELO’s flexible DELO-Flexcap foil cartridge to be used for RFID adhesives, which has already been tested on Mühlbauer’s systems for inlay production. Both companies have been working to help inlay manufacturers lower their adhesive costs to a considerable extent (see DELO and Mühlbauer Work to Lower Tag Costs).

Delo Flexcap

The new foil cartridge can be transported in dry ice instead of thermal packs—which, according to the two companies, reduces transport costs by up to 40 to 50 percent. The cartridge has a flexible membrane so it is easier to empty, ensuring that no adhesive remains in the cartridge. This is of particular importance when using RFID adhesives, the companies report, as these belong to the highest-quality adhesives due to their metal, current-conducting fillers like nickel or gold.

The new foil cartridges for the RFID adhesives are now available for all of DELO’s standard ACA adhesives. They can be used on Mühlbauer’s most powerful systems for inlay production: TAL 15000 and DDA 20000. The process is the same on both machines. First, the adhesive is jetted onto the antenna material onto which an RFID chip with a size down to 0.3 millimeters by 0.3 millimeters (0.01 inch by 0.01 inch) is placed. Afterwards, the adhesive is cured by thermodes within a few seconds. Thus, up to 20,000 inlays can be produced per hour, according to the companies.

More details about the new foil cartridge from DELO, as well as the work being carried out by DELO and Mühlbauer, can be obtained in booth 829 at the RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, being held this week in San Diego, Calif.

Checkpoint Systems Unveils New RFID Labels for Health, Beauty and Cosmetics

Checkpoint Systems has announced its new Slim and Whisper RFID labels for the health, beauty and cosmetics categories, all of which have specific inventory-management challenges based on their small size, stock-keeping unit (SKU) complexity and densely packed merchandising displays.

Both tags are RFID field-programmable Electronic Product Code (EPC) data carriers designed for strategic placement on packages, the company reports, and can be encoded and printed to carry EPC data in several formats, along with printed bar-code and human-readable text.

The Slim tag is offered with a label size of 88 millimeters by 7 millimeters (3.5 inches by 0.3 inch) and is integrated with Impinj‘s Monza R6 chip. The label has been optimized for performance with all of Checkpoint’s RAIN ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID technology (complying with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-63 standards), including the company’s RFID EAS Overhead Solution, the EVOLVE E10 Exclusive pedestal and other Merchandise Visibility solutions. Slim tags can be applied over the packaging of numerous health, beauty and cosmetics products, and are tamper-proof. The Whisper is offered with a label size of only 12 millimeters by 12 millimeters (0.5 inch by 0.5 inch), and is also integrated with the Monza R6 chip. It comes with removable adhesive, so that no marks are left on cosmetics products.

The Slim and Whisper RFID labels are available immediately, and are being showcased in booth 500 at the RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, being held this week in San Diego, Calif.

Juniper Systems Showcases Rugged Notebook With Built-in Bluetooth RFID Reader

Juniper Systems, a manufacturer of rugged handheld computers, and partner IDBlue, a provider of ultra-mobile high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID Bluetooth readers for the smartphone and tablet market, is showcasing the Mesa Rugged Notepad with built-in RFID reader from IDBlue in booth 838 at the RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, being held this week in San Diego, Calif. The passive UHF RFID-enabled Notepad is designed to enable the capture of data-rich readings from multiple RFID tags in seconds, Juniper Systems reports, without any Bluetooth pairing or extra accessories.

The integrated IDBlue reader is compatible with any asset-management software for Microsoft Windows Mobile 6/Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5, and provides a scalable read range from 2 inches to several feet. The Mesa Rugged Notepad with RFID is IP 67-rated, which means it is dustproof and waterproof, and is able to withstand submersion in water for brief periods of time. It also has a MIL-STD-810G certification, the company adds, with Class I, Division 2 and ATEX Zone 2 certified versions for hazardous locations coming soon. The Mesa comes with a software developer’s kit (SDK) and a software wedge.

IDTronic Presents New RFID Handheld Computer With Android, New Readers and Modules

IDTronic has announced its new C4 Blue RFID Android Handheld, designed as a mobile device for efficient, integrated communications, as well as quick access to real-time information in industrial and commercial environments.

IDTronic’s C4 Blue Handheld Computer

The C4 Blue Handheld Computer is available with three RFID options. High-frequency (HF) and low-frequency (LF) versions with an integrated RFID reader offer a 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus for easy capture of photos, videos, signatures and more. The ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) version for ETSI and FCC regions comes as an RFID gun with an integrated battery and an additional 1D/2D bar-code scanner that captures data in virtually any condition. The C4 features an ARM Cortex-A9 1 GHz Dual Core Processor with 1 gigabyte of random access memory (RAM), a high-resolution 4-inch WVGA capacitive dual touch screen, and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPRS, GPS and HSPA+ communication. The C4 Blue RFID Handheld is FCC- and CE-certified and has an IP 65 rating, meaning the device is dust-tight and protected from splashed water.

IDTronic has also announced new embedded RFID readers and modules with full LEGIC Prime and Advant support. According to IDTronic, both are compact and feature a wide diversity of interfaces, and either a LEGIC or IDTronic software developer’s kit (SDK). The 5V LEGIC Module M800, without an antenna, is available with a TTL or USB (HID) interface; for the TTL variant, customers may choose between a FLEX read-only and an APP read-write model. The LEGIC Reader R800, with an integrated antenna, is available as RS232 and TTL versions, as well as with multiple USB options, including read-write, read-only and keyboard emulation (HID).

Both models are also available as starter kits with a price advantage. In addition to the reader and module, these kits include an antenna, a connection kit, sample tags and the matching SDK.

IDTronic’s new Bluebox ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) desktop reader is a read-write device with an integrated antenna capable of a reading distance of up to 30 centimeters (11.8 inches), the company reports. Designed for USB-equipped PCs or working stations, it enables high-speed data transfer due to its USB 2.0 interface. A Bluebox SDK is available, and there are both an ETSI version for the European market and an FCC model for the North American market.

IDTronic is showcasing a number of its RFID products in booth 842 at the RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, being held this week in San Diego, Calif.

HID Global Intros RFID Tag for Tracking Linens and Garments, New Microsoft Authentication Solution

HID Global has announced its LinTag family of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) passive RFID tags for tracking high-volume, commercially laundered bed linens, towels and garments. The tiny LinTag transponders—six versions, with the largest measuring 2 inches long by 0.9 inch wide (50 millimeters by 22 millimeters)—can be securely and discreetly affixed to textiles. The transponders are suitable for hospitality organizations or health-care institutions requiring repeated harsh cleaning and sterilization processes, the company reports, along with more reliable audit trails to manage infection-control procedures. Organizations can also tag linens and gowns to monitor usage and inventories, automate distribution, reduce depreciation and lower staffing needs.

The LinTag RFID transponders leverage NXP Semiconductors‘ UCODE G2IL chips, feature 128 bits of Electronic Product Code (EPC) memory and 64 bits of tag identifier (TID) memory, support anti-collision and have a reading distance of up to 10 feet (3 meters). LinTag units are available in three form factors: sewn into a hem or pouch, stitched, or heat-sealed onto fabric. LinTag Heat-seal units attach effortlessly via heat-transfer adhesive. Extensions on LinTag Stitch units allow them to be directly stitched onto or woven into fabric, without the need for an extra pouch or cover, and embedded units can be sewn into a small hem or pocket.

HID Global LinTag transponders can withstand the rigors of industrial washing, including exposure to water, cleaning chemicals, sterilizing heat and extraction pressure up to 60 bar. They are designed for optimal performance, and are also resistant to chemicals, oils and salt. The tags can endure up to 300 commercial laundry cycles, and can also be used in garment production and management, as well as other applications like brand protection of bags or leather products. Additionally, the tags can be adapted to special form factors, making them a suitable solution for many clothing applications.

The company partnered with Foundation Logic Systems, a provider of software technology solutions for hotels, casinos, theme parks, commercial laundries and other linen-intensive industries to accurately and cost-effectively manage assets. “Adopting industry-leading technology is paramount, which is why we are incorporating HID Global’s new LinTag into our offering,” said Marvin S. Tulman, Foundation Logic Systems’ founder and CEO, in a prepared statement. “The tag addresses our need to deliver the most advanced solution to our customers that also withstands their harsh washing and drying environments.”

HID Global also announced its ActivID Tap Authentication platform, which the company says is designed for convenient and secure multi-factor authentication to cloud applications and Web services. The company’s new ActivID Tap Authentication for Microsoft enables users to tap their smart card to laptops, tablets, smartphones and other Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled devices for easy and convenient access to Office365 and other cloud apps and Web-based services. The solution uses HID Global’s Seos digital key technology, enabling organizations to implement a consistent “tap” experience when accessing both doors and cloud apps. It enables authentication to multiple apps and services on multiple endpoint devices, without having to recall and re-type additional codes and passwords, and is tightly integrated with Windows Server 2012 R2 Active Directory Federation Services and the HID Global Authentication Cloud Service.

“ActivID Tap Authentication is designed to improve both security and the user experience across a wide range of enterprise applications, in environments where it can require 20 or more logins each day in order to access enterprise data and services,” said Tim Phipps, HID Global’s VP of product marketing for Identity Assurance, in a prepared statement. “As the first solution to use our authentication service, ActivID Tap Authentication for Microsoft reduces the need for complex passwords and diminishes password fatigue. It makes it easier than ever for users to leverage a single smart card to seamlessly access data, login to cloud resources and open doors.”

The solution includes ActivID Tap Authentication Provider, Tap App for Android, Tap Client for Windows 7, Authentication Cloud Services, HID Global’s Seos smart cards and an optional Omnikey USB reader for Windows 7 endpoints without built-in NFC readers. ActivID Tap Authentication for Microsoft is available now.