RFID News Roundup

By Admin

Impinj secures $21 million equity financing from investment firms; Trimble announces RFID reader for Nomad handheld; Argonne, Evigia finalize licensing agreement for hazmat-tracking RFID sensor technology; Infinite Peripherals unveils RFID reader for the iPad; William Frick & Co. to distribute solar-powered UHF tag.

The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Impinj Secures $21 Million Equity Financing from Investment Firms

Ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) technology provider Impinj has announced the closing of a $21 million equity financing, led by a broad set of existing investors, including AllianceBernstein L.P., ARCH Venture Partners, GF Private Equity Group, Intel, Madrona Venture Group, Mobius Venture Capital and Polaris Venture Partners. According to Impinj, the funding will be used to expand the company's sales, marketing, product-development and manufacturing operations, in response to the growing global demand for UHF RFID products. By mid-August, the company says it expects to sell additional shares to other existing investors, driving the total funding amount to $24 million. "This investment puts Impinj in an excellent cash position, enabling us to better serve our customers in the dynamic RFID market," said William T. Colleran, Ph.D., Impinj's president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "We will continue to aggressively drive all aspects of our business to extend our technical and market leadership." In April 2011, Impinj registered for an initial public offering (IPO) of its common stock on the exchange, and anticipated raising up to $100 million (see Impinj Files for Initial Public Offering). Because this private equity financing fulfills the company's capital needs for the foreseeable future, however, the firm has withdrawn its registration statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Once conditions warrant, the company intends to resubmit a registration statement, leveraging the streamlined process of the recently enacted Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which makes it easier for startups and small businesses to raise funds, particularly via online crowdfunding.

Trimble Announces RFID Reader for Nomad Handheld

Trimble has announced a new ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 RFID reader and mounting kit as an accessory to its Nomad rugged handheld computer. The Nomad reader, based on ThingMagic's M5e Compact UHF RFID module, is designed to withstand drops, vibration, humidity, extreme temperatures and immersion, thus making it suitable for challenging environments. The reader is controlled and powered by the Nomad handheld, via a USB interface. Like the Nomad device itself, the reader meets the MIL-STD-810F military standard for drops, vibration, humidity, altitude and extreme temperatures. It is entirely sealed against dust, and can survive immersion in up to 1 meter (3.3. feet) of water for 30 minutes, thereby earning it an Ingress Protection Rating of IP67. The reader measures 100 millimeters by 90 millimeters by 35 millimeters (3.9 inches by 3.5 inches by 1.4 inches), and weighs 311.8 grams (11 ounces). According to Trimble, the reader delivers a tag read rate of up to 190 tags per second and a read distance up to 40 inches (100 centimeters) or less, depending on tag sensitivity and reader orientation. The device comes with the drivers and software necessary to immediately begin reading passive EPC Gen 2 tags, as well as a full software developer's kit (SDK), enabling developers to write their own custom applications in Microsoft Windows Mobile. Available now, the reader is offered in two variations: one for use in Europe, and the other for use in the United States, Canada and most of South America.

Argonne, Evigia Finalize Licensing Agreement for Hazmat-Tracking RFID Sensor Technology

Evigia Systems and the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have announced a licensing agreement under which Argonne's patented, application-specific RFID sensor/seal technology and custom-developed ARG-US software suite will be further developed and marketed by Evigia as a comprehensive nuclear and hazardous material-handling solution. The agreement is the outcome of the two organizations' ongoing collaboration (see Argonne National Laboratory Tests New Radiation-Sensing Tag). The software, which is commercially available now and is jointly developed by Evigia and Argonne, adds sophisticated sensing, monitoring and communication capabilities directly to drum-type packages, using affixed battery-powered RFID tags that combine a full range of sensors, onboard memory and secure wireless communications complying with the ISO 18000-7 standard. Argonne's ARG-US tags, based on Evigia's EV3 wireless sensor platform, offer real-time monitoring of tampering, seal breakage, physical shock, temperature, humidity, radiation levels and battery status, as well as detailed data-logging functions. Together, the software and tags are designed to track and monitor packages' status during transport, at in-transit stops and in storage. The solution integrates ARG-US RFID tags, interrogators, control computers, software, a database, and satellite and cellular-based communications. According to Michael Young, an Evigia spokesman, the first customer installations of the solution are planned for next month. The ARG-US system has been deployed by Argonne at several test sites, Young says, so it has already undergone a couple of iterations of updates based upon those initial users. Likewise, he adds, the EV-3 RFID sensors have been tested extensively, both in lab and real-world use. Evigia's plans for further development include additional refinements to the software user interface, configuration for deployment on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis, and possibly adopting a cloud infrastructure to increase reliability and performance, Young explains. On the hardware side, future development plans are centered on sensor and communication capabilities. Additional sensors currently in planning or development include neutron detectors, pressure and hydrogen gas detection (specific to nuclear), and other chemical and biological sensors that will extend the use to storage transport operations involving other types of hazardous materials. Communications developments, he says, include enhanced RFID range, in addition to real-time 4G cellular and satellite-based communications capabilities integrated in the sensor module. Argonne's development work is sponsored by the DOE's Office of Environmental Management, in support of its Office of Packaging and Transportation (OPT) Packaging Certification Program.

Infinite Peripherals Unveils RFID Reader for the iPad

Infinite Peripherals Inc., an Arlington Heights, Ill., provider of mobile peripheral devices, receipt printers, print mechanisms and other receipt printer-related components, has announced its Infinea Tab, an RFID reader designed to work with the Apple iPad 2. The Infinea Tab—a compact, easy-to-use unit that mates with the iPad's 30-pin connector—is available with an optional RFID reader for interrogating passive 13.56 MHz passive RFID tags complying with the ISO 14443-3 Type A and ISO 15693 RFID standards. According to Infinite Peripherals, the unit is designed to optimize the iPad's functionality as an efficient, convenient, mobile point-of-sale (POS) device for retailers that saves customers and staff members time, frees up checkout counter space and eliminates long lines in stores. In addition to POS applications, the company reports, the Infinea Tab and iPad can be used with software written for other applications and industries, including expediting and automating inventory management, asset tracking, ID verification, lead tracking, inspection and work flow, dispatch, time and labor, and lab and health care. Software-development resources and tools are available for the Infinea Tab, allowing customers to program scanner and reader functions into their own software application. Also offered for the Infinea Tab are a variety of protective cases and stands, including a mounting plate for vehicles, a handgrip strap and custom solutions. Four Infinea Tab models are available, but only one supports radio frequency identification: the Infinea Tab MSR 1D/2D BT RFID, which incorporates a three-track magnetic stripe reader, a 1-D or 2-D bar-code scanner and an RFID reader.

William Frick & Co. to Distribute Solar-Powered UHF Tag

William Frick & Co. has announced an exclusive distribution agreement with Enable IPC, a technology-development startup located in Madison, Wis. Under the terms of the agreement, William Frick & Co. will distribute its Solar Powered RFID ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tag in the Americas, as part of its SmartMark product line. Manufactured in conjunction with Enable IPC, the Solar Powered RFID UHF tag continuously recharges under any light source—even moonlight—and stores energy in an onboard capacitor. As a result, the tag can also be tracked in the dark for up to 48 hours. Even when completely drained of power, Evigia reports, it functions as a standard passive UHF tag until exposed again to light, at which point it can be recharged in as little as two minutes and deliver its extended read performance. The Solar Powered RFID tag is a rebranded version of Enable IPC's S/Cap tag, which the firm announced approximately a year ago (see Ultracapacitor Offers 75-Foot Read Range for Passive Tags). The tag, designed for asset-tracking applications, performs like a battery-assisted tag—but, instead of a battery, it uses an ultracapacitor to store an electric charge and thereby boost the inlay's read distance. Ultracapacitors can receive and release a charge faster than batteries can, as well as withstand a greater number of charges and discharges than batteries can accommodate. The Solar Powered RFID UHF tag comes in both metal-mount and standard configurations, each covered by a seven-year warranty. The tag has an Ingress Protection Rating of IP67, making it able to withstand dust, dirt and moisture. Its polycarbonate shell is impact-resistant, and can withstand ultraviolet (UV) rays, harsh chemicals and oils, making it suitable for indoor and outdoor applications. The combination of features makes the Solar Powered tag an appropriate solution for a variety of industries, William & Frick Co. reports, including aerospace, fixed asset management, logistics and vehicle tracking.