Siemens Announces UHF Products

By Jonathan Collins

The German industrial giant says it plans to enter the UHF RFID tag-and-reader market with a range of EPC-compliant products set for launch in mid 2005.

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German industrial giant Siemens says it is preparing to enter the UHF tag-and-reader market with a range of products set for launch in the middle of next year that will comply with EPCglobal Gen 2 and ISO/IEC 18000-6 standards.

Alex Stuebler

The company has been offering a range of low-frequency RFID systems for more than 20 years to customers in a number of industries, including automotive and security. However, despite more than a quarter of a million Siemens tags and readers deployed worldwide, the company admits it has a little catching up to do in the UHF market.

The company’s planned UHF products will operate in the 860 to 956 MHz range. The readers will consist of stationary and handheld models, with corresponding tags for various environmental conditions.

“These will not just be slap-and-ship tags. Our core focus will be on industrialized tags able to withstand high temperatures and hazardous environments,” says Alex Stuebler, business manager at Siemens Energy & Automation, which is based in Atlanta.

The new UHF products will be developed by the Siemens Automation and Drives (A&D) division (which operates as Siemens Energy & Automation in the United States), along with Siemens Logistics and Assembly Systems (L&A) and its Siemens Business Services (SBS) consulting business.

Siemens will develop its own RFID chips as well as use other vendors’ chips and tags, which it will put in its own industrial casings for its own line of tags and labels. According to Siemens, it believes its mid-year target for the release of its UHF products will coincide with broad availability of EPC Gen 2 tags from other vendors. The company says it is already piloting its planned UHF offerings with customers.

The planned systems will target industrial as well as retail supply chain applications, including manufacturing, warehousing and retailing.

The readers will communicate via TCP/IP with PCs or use the companies existing SIMATIC process controllers ensuring that Siemens’s UHF offerings will integrate with its existing RFID systems, says the company.

In addition, Siemens’s planned readers will allow for remote management and diagnostics through an Internet browser.

Like the rest of the company’s RFID portfolio, Siemens’s new lines will be marketed under the Moby brand, which consists of a variety of RFID systems for use in manufacturing, logistics and distribution. The company has been involved in EPC standards development as a member of EPCglobal, and in July, the company will play a part in the Metro Group’s Extra Future Store supermarket in Rheinberg, Germany (see Metro Opens Store of the Future), although Seimens’s role at the Future Store has yet to be finalized, according to the company.

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