RFID News Roundup

By Bob Violino

KSW provides quality control for Matrics tags; Paxar announces "investment-protection program"; Apriso RFID-enables supply chain software; Metget merged with Sokymat; partnership explores RFID in the food industry.

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The following are summaries of news announcements made during the week of Apr. 12.

KSW Provides Quality Control for Matrics Tags

KSW Microtec, a Dresden, Germany-based provider of RFID labels, has developed a system for testing high volumes of UHF inlays—chips attached to an antenna and mounted on a substrate—from Matrics. Each integrated circuit has a unique identification number (UID) written into it before the silicon wafer is sliced into microchips. With the KSW system, all Matrics RFID inlays are read after the final assembly step, and their UIDs are compared with the UIDs that were on the original wafer. If a tag isn’t functioning, its UID won’t be read. The system locates that tag by matching its position on the wafer with its position on a roll of inlays coming out of the assembly machine. Defective inlays are marked an later removed from the roll. The aim of the system is to guarantee that 100 percent of the Matrics tags purchased from Matrics or KSW function properly.

Paxar Announces “Investment-Protection Program”

Paxar, a White Plains, N.Y.-based provider of bar code printers, labels and tags for the retail supply chain, has introduced an “RFID Technology Investment Protection program.” The investment-protection program covers purchasers of Paxar’s RFID Implementation Kit for Wal-Mart suppliers for 12 months. The kit includes the Monarch 9855 RFID bar code printer/encoder, RFID labels, software and manuals. Paxar says the investment protection program ensures that users its Monarch RFID label printers/encoders are kept up to date and compliant with EPCglobal standards as the technology evolves. Paxar guarantees that during the 12 months covered, it will perform on-site upgrades as changes to EPCglobal’s Class 1 specification occur. In addition, customers receive 12 months of full on-site service and technical support.

Apriso RFID-Enables Supply Chain Software

Apriso, a Long Beach, Calif.-based supply chain software company, has added RFID functionality to its FlexNet 2003 suite of supply chain execution applications. The company says it has made 60 functional enhancements, to be delivered in the form of a free software upgrade. Improvements include the ability to capture and filter EPC and location data from RFID tags; execute receiving, warehousing and fulfillment tasks based on EPC and location data, down to the handling unit; create EPC product hierarchies and maintain up to the three levels of groupings by product and facility; associate EPCs with specific containers and warehouse locations; and support RFID tags with EPCs of varying lengths, up to 256 characters. International Paper uses FlexNet in its RFID warehouse tracking system at a warehouse in Texarkana, Texas.

Metget Merged with Sokymat

Assa Abloy Identification Technology Group, a Swedish supplier of identification solutions, has merged its two RFID transponder manufacturers, Metget and Sokymat, under the name of Sokymat, to create one of the world’s largest suppliers of RFID transponders. The new company will be headquartered in Granges, Switzerland, and will maintain all of the existing product engineering and manufacturing facilities, both in Sweden and in Switzerland. Sokymat will continue to produce transponders that operate at low frequency (125/134.2 kHz), high frequency (13.56 MHz) and ultra-high frequency (868 MHz), as well as system components (chips, tags, antennas and readers).

Partnership Explores RFID in the Food Industry

Franwell, a Sarasota, Fl.-based systems integrator focused on the food industry, has teamed with the University of Florida’s Center for Food Distribution and Packaging to explore the technology requirements and hardware designs needed to implement RFID systems in the food industry. An advisory board made up of representatives from industry leaders, including Wal-Mart and Royal Ahold, has been set up to review results of the study and provide feedback on the RFID system requirements developed.

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