RFID Marches On

Wal-Mart and the U.S. Department of Defense took the headlines with requirements that certain suppliers had to start using radio frequency identification (RFID) labeling by 2005, but applications are making inroads in other areas while the technology grows and evolves. Here are some recent announcements on RFID:

Printronix Inc.’s radio frequency identification (RFID) upgrade kit allows users of its standard thermal printers to meet Electronic Product Code (EPC) standards. www.printronix.com

Manhattan Associates added the Printronix SLPA7000e print-and-encode applicator to its RFID in a Box solution. As part of Manhattan’s integration platform for RFID, it offers multi-protocol capability for EPC Class 0, 0+ and 1, multiple label size, and label printing at 20 to 40 labels per minute. www.manh.com

Paxar Corp., supplier of Monarch products, has been qualified by Alien Technology as a supplier of RFID smart labels containing Alien Class 1 transponders. Paxar had also previously been designated as an Alien printer/encoder partner. www.paxar.com

Finnish RFID tag manufacturer UPM Rafsec opened a sales and technical support center in Chicago to serve the North American Market. www.rafsec.com

Avery Dennison formed a division to handle RFID labels and inlays. The company supplies RFID-enabled label stock, pre-programmed/printed RFID labels, and RFID-enabled printer systems. www.averydennison.com

AIM Global, the trade association for automatic identification and mobility, has developed a draft standard for identification of food animals. The standard would extend the current capabilities of RFID animal identification. The standard incorporates International Standards Organization (ISO) standards for low-frequency (LF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF) identification. www.aimglobal.org

Intermec’s IP3 Intellitag reader is an accessory handle that has wireless, mobile read/write capability for UHF tags when attached to the Intermec 700 Series Color mobile computers and one of three radios – Personal Area Network (PAN) or Bluetooth, Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN). www.intermec.com

Weber Marking Systems’ AlphaRFID smart label encoder/applicator encodes, verifies and applies pressure-sensitive RFID smart labels to items moving down a production or packaging line. If an RFID tag embedded in a smart label cannot be verified, the label is rejected before application. www.webermarking.com

IIMAK’s Anti-Static GP725 thermal transfer ribbon is designed to avoid static electricity discharges during printing that could damage RFID tags embedded in labels. The GP725 resin-enhanced wax ribbon has a low level of surface resistivity which lowers the risk of static discharges during label printing. Ribbons are compatible with Zebra, Datamax, Sato and other smart-label thermal transfer printers. www.iimak.com

Zebra Technologies introduced an RFID smart label printer/encoder designed to be interoperable with SAP AG’s Auto-ID Infrastructure (AII). Zebra and SAP co-developed the data, protocol and process elements of smart label creation within Version 2.1 of SAP’s AII. www.zebra.com

SATO has developed an automated pallet labeling solution using UHF RFID tags. Designed to help Nestle meet Europe’s Metro Group RFID initiative, the collaborative effort with UPM Rafsec uses a single type of tag to meet all current shipping label requirements. www.satoamerica.com

Purdue Pharma L.P., maker of prescription and over-the-counter medicines and hospital products will supply certain major law enforcement and cargo theft investigative groups with Symbol RFID mobile computers to help combat illegal trafficking of counterfeit pharmaceutical products. The Symbol MC9000-G scanners it will provide combine RFID capabilities, bar code reading, imaging, and Wi-Fi connectivity. www.symbol.com

Automatic Gate Equipment and Supply Corp. passed its fifth year and 50th installation of AXCESS International Inc.’s ActiveTag RFID systems which use an underground road loop antenna system to activate an RFID tag as the approaching vehicle passes over the antenna. A receiver on the gate controller authenticates and opens the gate, allowing rolling access. www.axcessinc.com

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