New Metal Mount RFID tags pushing the performance envelope
In the past month a few new tags and a new tag vendor have entered the booming RFID 2.0 industry, and they are pushing the envelope on performance.
Xerafy, a Hong Kong company with sales offices in Dallas and Shanghai, entered the RFID Metal-Mount tag market with three RFID tags based on Alien Higgs3 chips. The tags have a small form factor and showed strong performance in ODIN's initial testing.
Omni-ID, a company that has been in the market for a several years now, recently released a new passive RFID tag designed to be used tracking assets that move across regulatory regions,operating over the full UHF RFID frequency band of 860-960 MHz in multiple geographies. Omni-ID also updated their smallest tag, the Prox, to utilize the full frequency range.
TROI has made a name for themselves by creating highly durable encapsulated metal mount tags. They have just released the WoW-1 (Worldwide-Weldable) tag, a tag with a stainless steel case and ceramic filling that survives extremely harsh conditions and is able to be welded to metallic objects.
XERAFY RFID BEGINS
The three Xerafy passive RFID tags are from largest to smallest the Micro, Nano and Pico. Each tag has specific use cases in mind.
The Micro can be attached at the case level using included rivet holes. It has an ingress protection rating of IP68 - meaning it is useful for tracking items using RFID in harsh environments.
The Nano is small enough to be used on many tools but most importantly, is designed to be embedded in metal - meaning that the tag can still read when the back and all four sides are surrounded by metal with the face flush to the surface. This can be extraordinarily useful for tool vendors who may want to add RFID tracking systems as an option to their product lines.
The Pico is a minuscule tag - just 12 x 7 x 3 mm (0.47 x 0.28 x 0.12 in) without its case. Its diminutive size means that it has a fairly short read range, but enables the smallest of tools to be tracked. This tag can also be embedded into metal, just as the Nano.
With these three tags, Xerafy is targeting the Oil & Gas industry, Aerospace, Tool tracking and IT Assettracking use cases for passive RFID. The Micro can withstand harsh conditions on Oil Rigs and can be useful for tracking re-usable containers where available surface area can be a limiting factor. The Micro and Nano are both well suited to tracking tools and small IT Assets such as blade servers, laptops and phones.
Omni-ID recently released the MaxSQ (for square) - a medium sized metal mount tag that is capable of being read across all UHF RFID frequency bands. The MaxSQ is 51 x 42 x 12.2 mm (2 x 1.65 x 0.48 in) with an ingress protection rating of IP68. Its size means it can be applied to small containers and will be especially useful for international shipments.
The SQ joins three other Omni-ID passive tags - the Prox, MaxHD and Ultra - as the only metal mount tags that can be used throughout the globe. Globally tuned RFID tags have been the reality for paper labels for a few years now, but the added difficulty of creating a tag that is not de-tuned by metal prevented metal-mount tag manufacturers from following suit. This line of global metal-mount tags from Omni-ID will be very useful whenever items need to be tracked as they move around the globe. Use cases such as Aerospace MRO and Military Inventories can especially benefit. ODIN is using them now for a global data center roll out for one of the world's top banks, with great results.
TROI RFID INVENTS
Dr. Pat King, founder of Technologies ROI (TROI), has made a number of highly durable RFID tags by utilizing RFID chips in solder-able packages so the antenna can be soldered to the chip. This solves the weak point of many other tags, the chip-to-antenna attachment point. It is the part of a passive RFID tag most likely to fail.
The WoW-1 expands on the soldered chip-to-antenna attachment method to become the new standard in tag durability. Not only can it survive 1000 hours at 200C and brief exposure above 300C, it can also be welded or drilled and bolted to a surface. These characteristics mean it is extremely rugged and is a great option for demanding outdoor and Autoclave use-cases.
TROI is targeting the Oil & Gas and Heavy Machinery industries, but any project where there is a high risk that a tag could get knocked off of an item can use this tag. Find out more about TROI’s new tag that reads through metal
TREND WATCH FOR RFID TAGS
Now that markets where RFID technology is useful are more clearly defined, companies such as Xerafy and TROI making products designed for specific uses will become more common. Omni-ID's advances in global readability in a small form factor follow their advances in ultra long-range passive tags. More companies will surely pursue global frequency support as it opens new markets and simplifies the vendors' production lines.
During the summer, Confidex is planning to release its SteelBYTE RFID tag to European markets. This tag is one of the cheapest metal-mount tags available with 512 bits of user-memory. The SteelBYTE and its low-memory cousin, the SteelWave Micro, are popular in IT Asset and Tool Tracking use cases where their low price coupled with long read range provide even easier Returns on Investment.
This is a great time for the RFID industry - as economies bounce back from the recession and technology investment picks up, we are seeing more industries adopt RFID technology. This is perfect timing for new RFID tags from promising young companies and trusted vendors alike.