RFID News Roundup

By Admin

Industry automation group releases reader standard; Deister announces new RFID Mouse; Metro, Deutsche Post hosting workshop; California legislature passes ban on forced tagging; Maxell introduces long-life batteries; Vuance plucks Security Holding Corp; HEI sells RFID division to Smartrac.

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The following are news announcements made during the week of Sept. 1.

Industry Automation Group Releases Reader Standard


Controller Area Network (CAN) in Automation (CiA), a nonprofit organization working to develop standardized data and communication systems for different industries, has released the CiA 445 CANopen device profile for RFID interrogators. The profile’s objective is to enable users of RFID technology to more easily install and integrate readers into networks in such applications as factory automation, laboratory automation, medical systems, product and asset management, and identification systems. Various interrogator manufacturers will be able to use the profile to make CiA 445-compliant interrogators that will be interchangeable with one another. CiA says it developed the profile specification with the help of several member companies, including DeLaval International, FH Regensburg, Hans Turck, IFM Electronic, Ixxat Automation, RM Michaelides, Schneider Electric, Sick, Siemens Medical Solutions and Vector Informatik.

Deister Announces New RFID Mouse


Deister Electronics, a developer and manufacturer of RFID products, has introduced the RFID-Mouse, a miniaturized tabletop RFID interrogator integrated into a computer mouse. The device’s small profile is designed to make it easy to transport, and to use it for establishing mobile RFID reading or encoding stations with a laptop computer. The RFID-Mouse connects to a computer through a standard USB port, which also powers the device. Deister says the RFID-Mouse can be used for a wide range of RFID applications in logistics, retail, supply-chain and other industrial uses. The mouse is available in UHF and HF versions. The HF version can read 13.56 MHz tags complying with the ISO 15693 and 14443 A and B air-interface protocols. The UHF version follows the EPC Gen 2 air-interface protocol and can be set to operate in compliance with the UHF frequency range sanctioned in North America, Europe or Japan. Both devices have a read range of 1 to 2 inches and will be available beginning in October. The UHF version will cost $499; pricing for the HF device has not yet been established but is expected to be less.

Metro, Deutsche Post Hosting Workshop


German retailer Metro Group and courier Deutsche Post World Net are hosting a workshop on Sept. 10 to discuss guidelines and regulatory issues surrounding the deployment of RFID technology, at the DHL Innovation Centre in Troisdorf/Bonn, Germany. This workshop is part of the European organization Coordinating European Efforts for Promoting the European RFID Value Chain (CE RFID), formed last year to shape European RFID policy (see CE RFID Holds Its First Meeting). The group is made up of RFID users, vendors and technology providers, including Metro Group, Deutsche Post World Net, NXP Semiconductors (formerly Philips Semiconductors) and RFID hardware makers Feig Electronic and UPM Raflatac. The workshop will discuss guidelines for using RFID as a business process, as well as the legal regulations around RF use. Experts from the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), NXP Semiconductors Austria GmbH, and Deutsche Post World Net will lead discussions.

California Legislature Passes Ban on Forced Tagging


California may soon join Wisconsin and North Dakota in adopting laws to prohibit forceful implantation of RFID tags into human bodies (see Wisconsin Governor Signs ‘Chip Implant’ Bill and RFID News Roundup: N.D. Bans RFID Implants; Calif. Senate Approves School ID Bill). Both houses of the California legislature recently passed Senate Bill 362, which would prohibit a party from forcing any person to undergo implantation of a subcutaneous RFID device in their body (see RFID News Roundup: Calif. Legislature Advances RFID Bill). Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is now considering the bill, which will become a law if he signs it. Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), who authored the bill, says the legislation could help establish an important privacy protection for California’s citizens. The notion that humans could be forcibly tagged as a means of identifying them, Simitian says, is the “ultimate invasion of privacy.” He adds that the lack of industry support for the bill is “unfortunate and regrettable.”

Maxell Introduces Long-Life Batteries


Battery maker Maxell of America has introduced its next generation of lithium manganese dioxide cylindrical hybrid cell batteries, which the company claims will operate for more than 10 years and offer 8 to 9 percent higher capacity than other lithium manganese dioxide batteries now available. The batteries could be used to power active RFID tags, the company indicates, as well as other powered devices such as meters. According to Maxell, the new batteries have a voltage of 3.0 volts and feature a stable sloping discharge curve at various depths of discharge, allowing for accurate prediction of end of life. Battery model CR17450 has a typical capacity of 2600 mAh and measures 17mm in diameter and 45mm in length, with a weight of 22 grams. Model CR17335 has a typical capacity of 1750 mAh and weighs 16 grams, with a diameter of 17mm and a length of 33.5mm. The operational temperate range for both batteries is –40° to +80° Celsius. The batteries are intended for single use and cannot be reused or recycled. Customers will be able to begin sampling them in two to three months, at a cost of approximately $5 apiece.

Vuance Plucks Security Holding Corp.


Homeland Security Capital Corp., which develops businesses that manufacture products and services related to homeland security, has announced the completed sale of its majority-owned subsidiary, Security Holding Corp. (SHC), to Vuance (formerly SuperCom Ltd.), a provider of active RFID products for assert-tracking and security applications. Based in Qadima, Israel, and McLean, Va., Vuance will sell approximately $5.1 million of its stock to acquire the firm, according to a release from Homeland Security Capital. SHC owns two operating companies: SecurityInc, a Milwaukee-based integrator of RFID-based and other types of security and access control systems, and AutoAccess ID Security Solutions, an Atlanta manufacturer and distributor of RFID-enabled solutions for residential, commercial and government sectors. Homeland Security Capital is headed by former Congressman C. Thomas McMillen, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 4th Congressional District of Maryland.

HEI Sells RFID Division to Smartrac


HEI, a Minneapolis-based manufacturer of RFID labels, cards, key fobs and other RFID inlay products, as well as devices for medical and communication applications, reports entering into an agreement to sell substantially all assets of its RFID division to Smartrac Technology US, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dutch-based Smartrac N.V. Smartrac Technology produces high-frequency passive RFID inlays for electronic and RFID-enabled passports. The transaction is structured as a sale of substantially all assets of the RFID division, including inventory, receivables, customer contracts and customer lists, and the assumption of substantially all liabilities, according to a statement from HEI. The purchase price to be paid at closing is $3.0 million in cash. Prior to any employee obligations, severance and other transaction-related costs, HEI expects a fourth-quarter gain from the sale of the assets of approximately $1.5 million. HEI intends to use the sale proceeds to pay down existing debt obligations.