RFID News Roundup

By Admin

Radiant RFID implements asset tracking for Chicago-area bus-transit agency; TagMaster intros new active RFID reader for outdoor use; ASAP Systems' RFID-enabled online inventory-management software now integrates with QuickBooks; Tectus, Kathrein team up on RFID readers and antennas for use within explosive environments; Applied Nanotech unveils low-cost micron copper ink for electronic applications; VeriFone selected for contactless-payment rollout in Mexico City

The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Radiant RFID Implements Asset Tracking for Chicago-area Bus-Transit Agency

Radiant RFID, a provider of RFID asset-tracking solutions, has announced that Pace, the Suburban Bus Division of the Chicago Regional Transportation Authority, has implemented an asset-tracking system from Radiant, as part of a request for proposal (RFP) that Pace awarded to that company. The solution is being used to perform asset inventory counts at Pace's headquarters, located in Arlington Heights, Ill., as well as at its operating divisions and carrier locations. Requirements for the new solution included high portability, the ability to communicate within all types of environments, and the capability of interfacing with Pace's existing accounting system. Radiant 's Virtual Asset Tracker (VAT), the foundation of the system for Pace, relies on tracking technology (including RFID tags and bar codes), as well as desktop and mobile clients, installed on Motorola MC3190-Z RFID handhelds, and Web reporting that includes a variety of reports (exception report, matching report, lost inventory and total inventory). VAT replaces a system and various devices that were beyond their designed and useful lifespan, and allows Pace to continue employing existing bar-code labels, Radiant reports, while moving toward an ultimate goal of placing RFID tags on all assets. During the implementation phase, Radiant imported all Pace asset and location data, and created a cloud-based database available for Pace's system administrators. Prior to coming onsite for training, Radiant reports, it worked directly with end users within Pace's finance, management information system (MIS) and operations departments, to create a complete system for testing and evaluation. During the weeklong training, the firm focused entirely on key-system functionality, and on improving Pace inventory processes designed to increase inventory accuracy and decrease the amount of time and effort required to perform inventory counts. According to Radiant, at the conclusion of the training, Pace was able to conduct an end-to-end inventory on a subset of its assets.

TagMaster Intros New Active RFID Reader for Outdoor Use

TagMaster NA, the North American arm of Swedish RFID solutions provider TagMaster, has announced a new active RFID reader designed for outdoor use. The Celebes W reader (the W stands for weatherproof) works with the company's TM800 series 2.45 GHz active RFID tags and sensors, and is suitable for such applications as asset tracking, personnel safety, vehicle tracking, asset security, and automatic data collection from multiple remote sensors, the company reports. When used in conjunction with two 2.5 dBi antennas, TagMaster NA explains, the Celebes W reader can read TM800 series tags and sensors from a distance of up to 80 meters (250 feet) away, and has the ability to acquire information from more than 200 tags per second, as well as issue commands to selected tags. It has two configurable channels, programmable RF modes and multiple antenna options. The Celebes W model is available with different types of data-communication interfaces, including Ethernet LAN, Class 1 Bluetooth and RS485. The Ethernet LAN interface makes it possible to connect several Celebes readers in a TCP/IP network, in order to cover a larger area, multiple gates or a perimeter. Accessories to the Celebes reader include a power adaptor and a variety of antennas. The LAN versions can be powered via Power over Ethernet (PoE), which TagMaster NA says reduces installation and maintenance costs.

ASAP Systems' RFID-enabled Online Inventory-Management Software Now Integrates With QuickBooks

ASAP Systems, a provider of software for tracking inventory and assets, has announced that its new cloud-computing application, known as BarCloud Stock, now offers full QuickBooks integration. BarCloud Stock is a Web-based application for tracking and managing inventory. Data, collected via bar-code and RFID technology using handheld computers (scanners) and smartphones, is centralized in a single online workspace, so employees can more easily share real-time updates, reports and more, according to ASAP Systems. With the QuickBooks integration, users of BarCloud Stock can now synchronize their inventory data with the business-accounting application, automating such repetitive tasks as generating bills, item receipts, inventory adjustments and invoices. In addition, BarCloud Stock extends QuickBooks' accounting features, such as tracking items by location—a key inventory requirement not supported by QuickBooks alone. ASAP Systems' RFID solutions leverage Motorola Solutions handheld computers, such as the MC3190-Z and MC9090-Z models, and EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) passive tags from various RFID tag suppliers. ASAP Systems resells the Motorola handhelds and tags, but customers can also source the RFID equipment itself. According to the company, BarCloud will be made compatible with RFID tags later this month.

Tectus, Kathrein Team Up on RFID Readers and Antennas for Use Within Explosive Environments

Tectus Transponder Technology and Kathrein have partnered on a complete line of ATEX-certified ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID products that will be distributed worldwide by Tectus. ATEX certification is achieved by complying with the ATEX directive, which consists of two European Union (EU) directives describing which equipment is allowed within an environment containing an explosive atmosphere. The new products—which include a variety of low-range, mid-range and wide-range antenna types and two different reader versions—are certified for ATEX zones 2 and 22. Zone 2 is an atmosphere in which a mixture of air and flammable substances in the form of gas, vapor or mist is not likely to occur in normal operation—but, in the event that it does occur, will persist for only a short period. Zone 22 is an atmosphere in which a cloud of combustible dust in the air is not likely to occur in normal operation—but, if it does occur, will persist for only a short period. The new ATEX UHF RFID Long Range Reader (model TPF-80-INT-ETHER) has an integrated antenna, according to the companies, and is designed for single-read points. The second new Long Range Reader (TPF-80-EXT-ETHER) is suitable for controlling up to four external antennas, the partners report. The antenna-integrated TPF-80-INT-ETHER version is suitable for so-called single read points, in order to reduce the complex installation of antenna cable. Both units are based on Kathrein's RFID reader, comply with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards, and have an aluminum housing with dimensions of 270 millimeters by 234 millimeters by 68 millimeters (10.6 inches by 9.2 inches by 0.2 inch) and a weight of 2.64 kilograms (5.8 pounds). The units feature an Ethernet port, and are equipped with up to four digital inputs and four digital outputs for additional control tasks. In addition, both models are IP 65-rated, meaning that testing has confirmed them to be dustproof and waterproof. The new transponder antennas include the following: The long-range TPA-UHF-270-LR model is housed in plastic, measures 270 millimeters by 270 millimeters by 45 millimeters (10.6 inches by 10.6 inches by 1.8 inches), and is IP 65-rated. The mid-range TPA-UHF-156-MR version is housed in plastic and measures 156 millimeters by 126 millimeters by 36 millimeters (6.1 inches by 5 inches by 1.4 inches). The mid-range antenna is IP 67-rated, which means it is dustproof and waterproof and is able to withstand submersion in water for brief periods of time. And the short-range TPA-UHF-90-SR model, also housed in plastic, measures 90 millimeters by 63 millimeters by 31 millimeters (3.5 inches by 2.5 inches by 1.2 inches) and has an IP 67 rating.

Applied Nanotech Unveils Low-Cost Micron Copper Ink for Electronic Applications

Applied Nanotech Holdings, a developer of nanotechnology solutions and products based in Austin, Tex., has introduced a new ink based on micron copper particles for low-cost, direct printing of electronic circuits for mobile devices, solar cells, display devices and more. The new microcopper ink is designed to replace expensive, silver-based conductors for rapidly developing applications in the printed electronics industry, according to Applied Nanotech. Microcopper inks fill a need for lower-cost conductive materials used for such applications as smart cards, RFID antennas, touch screens and sensors in smartphones, according to James Novak, the director of the company's nanoelectronics division. The microcopper ink material can easily be applied on various substrates by a number of additive print processes, according to Applied Nanotech, such as screen, flexography and gravure, as well as some advanced dispensing techniques. This reduces costs and waste compared to other approaches, the company reports, including lithography, presently used in the manufacturing of printed electronics circuits—printed circuit boards (PCBs), for example.

VeriFone Selected for Contactless-Payment Rollout in Mexico City

VeriFone Systems has announced that it will provide its merchant-payment solutions during the initial phase of a contactless-payment rollout in Mexico City by the Mexican bank Banamex, part of Grupo Financiero Banamex and a member of Citi. The rollout began on Aug. 9, and during the first phase, several thousand VeriFone contactless-enabled card-acceptance systems will be deployed to 1,900 merchants within the Mexico City metropolitan area. The bank is also issuing 100,000 RFID-enabled credit and debit cards, according to VeriFone, in order to begin the transition to the new innovative payment method. The bank will deploy VeriFone's VX 520 system to merchants that use traditional standalone countertop systems, and the VX 820 advance PIN pad to larger retailers that integrate payment systems to electronic cash-register systems. By the end of 2012, the bank expects to have issued 1 million contactless cards, VeriFone reports, and to have deployed 12,000 payment-acceptance systems. For purchases of less than 250 pesos (approximately $19), contactless payments will require no signatures.