Below you will find concise summaries of the top RFID stories of the past week, as selected by SCDigest editors.
Are Printable Tags for Consumer Packaged Goods Closer?
Even well before the Auto ID Lab at MIT and the concept of the EPC tag, RFID providers and grocery retailers envisioned a system in which customers would wheel carts past readers and have their merchandise tags instantly read, drastically reducing the time to wait in line (and the expense of check-out clerks.)
The problem? Some concerns about read rate performance, but more directly the cost of tags. Today’s UPC/GTIN bar codes are generally printed as a direct part of the package, adding almost no cost to the manufacturer for the bar code identification.
Even the MIT vision of the “5 cent RFID tag” would be a non-starter for basic consumer packaged goods, taking a huge toll on margins versus the free package-printed bar codes.
Thus, the goal of a “printed tag” using special inks that could serve as the antenna and possible the chip. There have been several promising technologies, such as BiStatix, that have never really achieved commercial success.
Now researchers from Suncheon National University in Suncheon, South Korea as well as Rice University in Houston, Texas say they have created an RFID tag that can be directly printed onto consumer goods packaging, at a cost of about 3 cents per tag.
The tags are made up of an ink laced with carbon nanotubes so that the codes can be printed onto a plastic or paper substrate. The researchers are aiming to fit 96 bits into a tag the size of a business card.
While even 3 cents per tag is likely too high for the grocery industry, the research says they believe they can drive the costs even lower.
More on this soon from Supply Chain Digest.
Indian Construction Company Used RFID to Eliminate “Ghost Workers”
Indian construction company Unity Infraprojects announced this week it was implementing an RFID-based ID card system to eliminate issues with “ghost workers” who don’t show up for work but receive pay for the day in collusion with supervisors.
The company says there are two issues: workers who do not show up until the end of the day, but yet receive daily wages at the end of the shift time, and the substitution of low skilled workers for higher skilled ones who command a higher wage.
Each construction worker will be given an RFID tag. The tag will contain unique ID details of the worker including that of the contracting agency. Each worker's image is then captured by a power-over-ethernet (POE) camera and stored in a database on a server. At the end of each day, when the worker comes to collect his daily wages, the information on the tag will be matched with that in the database to verify if the worker attended duty and to confirm the skill level. Only then will the wages be paid.
New All in One Trailer Padlock Combines RFID, GPS and Cellular Communications
The EarthSearch Communications Division of East Coast Diversified Corporation announced this week the launch of a new trailer padlock that will combine several technologies meant to improve visibility and control of containers and inventory.
This RFID-Auto ID Story is Continued Below