Chicago, IL - Matrics Inc., a pioneer in the advanced development and standardization of low-cost, high-performance, EPC-compliant RFID technology, announced PICA, the company’s new, high-speed RFID tag assembly system enabling the RFID transformation of the consumer goods supply chain.
PICA, which stands for Parallel Integrated Chip Assembly, dwarfs all existing RFID tag producing processes available today. As supply chain visibility becomes a crucial part of business, the need to identify billions of cartons becomes a reality. Current technology will not be able to keep pace with this need. Unlike existing web-based flip-chip assemblers that have a maximum capacity of attaching chips at speeds of 8,000 units per hour, one PICA machine will be able to produce tags up to 1500 times faster. Analogous to a printing press for RFID tags, an entire “page” of RFID tags will be produced at once.
“With the introduction of PICA, Matrics will have the capacity to produce millions of EPC-compliant RFID tags per hour at a price point that is economically feasible,” said Mike Arneson, Founder and CTO of Matrics, Inc. “The implications of PICA for the world around us are staggering. Imagine increased production, improved security, reduced liability due to malfunctioning tags, and increased profitability.”
An Integrated Process
Today, assembling RFID tags involves numerous steps, with each step completed by a different vendor. This adds time and waste as “work in process” is moved from one vendor to another. PICA eliminates these steps by integrating the entire process, starting with a wafer of chips and ending with completed RFID inlays, tags or quadra-posers.
“With these crucial changes, the assembly cost drops significantly, ” said Bill Bandy, PhD., Founder and Chief Scientist at Matrics. “A low-cost, EPC-compliant tag for mass market adoption is now effectively achieved by using PICA.”
A PICA prototype machine was built in Spring 2003 and 15 provisional patents have been secured, further validating the process. A PICA production machine, which will be installed at Matrics’ headquarters in Columbia, Maryland, will begin production in first quarter 2004.
Flexibility is the cornerstone of PICA. RFID straps, inlays and tags can all be produced to address the needs of various markets. Requiring less than 600 square feet of operating space, PICA machines can be placed with strategic partners worldwide, assuring multiple sources and tag availability in close proximity to where they are needed. In addition to providing completed tags, RFID straps and inlays will be available for traditional tag and label converters to use for their production.
In the future, PICA can be integrated into a box-making or packaging line, truly providing seamless integration of RFID capabilities into production lines and supply chains. “The process for attaching chips to antennas on substrates has always been a gating factor to cost effective label or source tagging,” said Piyush Sodha, CEO of Matrics. “We believe that our ability to overcome this obstacle will go a long way to supporting the wide use of this technology as many industry observers have forecasted for years. At last, companies can make technology decisions based on a real product, not “promising technology.”
Matrics Inc., based in Columbia, Maryland, is a provider of EPC™-compliant RFID technology and visibility solutions for supply chain, asset management and security and a corporate sponsor of the Auto-ID Center. For more information, visit Matrics on the web at www.matrics.com.