RFID News Roundup

By Bob Violino

Omron licenses ThingMagic reader; RF Code teams with RedPrairie; UPM Rafsec boosts production capacity; contactless payment provider gets funding.

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The following are summaries of news announcements made during the week of April 5.

Omron Licenses ThingMagic Reader

ThingMagic, Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of multifrequency, multiprotocol RFID readers, has won another major customer for its designs. Japanese industrial automation giant Omron will use ThingMagic’s licensed designs in its planned RFID reader-writers that will work in both 915 (UHF) and 13.56 MHz (HF) frequency bands. The Omron will be capable of communicating with EPC and ISO (18000-6, 18000-3) tags. The UHF band is unauthorized for tags in Japan today, but those regulations are expected to be revised by the end of this year. Omron believes that the regulatory change will help create a new market for RFID within the Japan. “We will utilize business-to-business logistics and airline baggage handling as a trigger to actively enter markets where there is demand for UHF,” says Mitsugi Abe, general manager at Omron’s RFID business development department.

RF Code Teams with RedPrairie

RF Code, a Mesa, Ariz.-based developer of auto-identification data collection middleware and active RFID technologies, has teamed up with RedPrairie, a Waukesha, Wis.-based provider of supply chain software. Under the agreement, RedPrairie will become a value-added reseller for RF Code’s RFID systems, and RF Code will integrate its TAVIS data collection system, Mantis active RFID products and other auto-ID devices with RedPrairie’s DigitaLogistix suite of RFID-enabled supply chain execution solutions.

UPM Rafsec Boosts Production Capacity

UPM Rafsec, a Finnish RFID tag manufacturer, is doubling the RFID tag and label production capacity of its plant in Jyväskylä, Finland. The company says the expansion is needed to address the rapidly growing demand for both its HF and UHF RFID products and strengthens its capability to serve the emerging market for EPC tags. The Jyväskylä factory has an integrated RFID-tag production process, including antenna manufacturing, chip attachment, a variety of lamination technologies and an integrated quality-control system for real-time inspection throughout the manufacturing process.

Provia Software Partners with Printronix

Provia Software, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based provider of supply chain execution software, has partnered with Printronix, an Irvine, Calif.-based maker of bar code and RFID printers. As a certified systems integrator and value-added reseller, Provia will include Printronix’s RFID printers as part of Provia’s overall RFID product offerings, and work with Printronix to support end users with RFID project planning and deployment strategies. As a certified partner, Provia is authorized to resell and support Printronix’s Smart Label Developer’s Kit and Smart Label Pilot Printer.

Contactless Payment Provider Gets Funding

SMART System Technologies (SST), a New York City-based provider of contactless payment systems and marketing services, has received $6 million in financing from three investment companies: Draper Fisher Jurvetson Gotham Ventures, The Grosvenor Funds and Apex Venture Partners. SST plans to use the funding to accelerate its sales and marketing efforts and to expand its product offerings and customer support capabilities. The company has already installed its payment system at two NFL football stadiums in the United States.