New RFID Mark Standard Announced

The new RFID mark is provided in both light-on-dark and dark-on-light versions to address label producers’ needs.

The Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM; Warrendale, PA) has developed an identification mark for radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. The mark is designed to let workers with handheld readers identify labels that carry RFID tags.

The AIM RFID mark reportedly provides a standard way to clearly show the presence of an RFID transponder, its frequency, and data structure. Such a mark could be important, given the growing use of RFID-enabled bar code labels. In addition, as more labels appear that differ in frequency, data format, and content, workers reading the labels may have trouble deciding which label to read.

The mark pattern contains a two-character code. The first character indicates frequency and coding authority, while the second indicates data content and structure. A provision has also been made to identify compatible RFID readers. The mark is provided in both light-on-dark and dark-on-light versions to address label producers’ needs. According to AIM, the mark was modeled after a recycling code used to differentiate resins used in containers.

“The AIM RFID mark will allow workers to quickly and easily identify which labels contain an RFID transponder, whether it’s one they need to read, and whether their reader is compatible with it,” said Dick Sorenson, committee chair for the AIM North American Standards Action Group (NASAG). “An AIM RFID mark on the reader itself will provide a visual cue to which type of labels to read.”

AIM NASAG originally evaluated 20 designs submitted for graphic recognition. All designs had to be printable and recognizable at 3¼8-inch high on a low-resolution printer and have the ability to incorporate a two-character code. The graphic’s exterior always remains the same, while the code inside the logo will change depending on the tag type and coding authority referenced. For example, the M series denotes tags compliant with Department of Defense uses. M0 equals the 64-bit form of unit identification, M1 is the 96-bit form, and M2 describes the 256-bit form. There are also A and B series for different ISO standards and an E series for electronic product codes (EPCs).

The NASAG falls under the umbrella of the AIM Global Standards Action Group (GlobalSAG) and the AIM Global RFID Action Group. AIM Global is the worldwide association for automatic identification, data collection, and networking in mobile environments. AIM members are providers and users of technologies, systems, and services that capture, manage, and integrate accurate data into larger information management systems.

The organization’s initial request to develop the mark came in March 2004. AIM then developed the standard in six months. It is encouraging all equipment manufacturers and label producers to use the mark. Dan Mullen, president of AIM Global, recently stated, “The AIM RFID mark is the type of activity for which AIM is uniquely suited. Because of our global membership of manufacturers, integrators, and service providers, we can quickly respond to the need for cross-application solutions to certain issues.”

The standard will be available free of charge from the AIM Web site at The organization says that the document will be packaged with the actual graphics to be used by equipment manufacturers, label producers, and document developers.

According to AIM representatives, some RFID-reader suppliers and label printers are already using the mark.

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