New Tagsys UHF Tags Improve Item Read Rates


A new TRAK tag family of RFID tags from Tagsys (Cambridge, MA) addresses the issue of partial item level reads when product is packed in close proximity. The family of UHF EPCglobal Class 1 Gen 2 tags includes the RxTRAK tag, a 22 × 22-mm inlay designed for pharmaceuticals.

UHF TRAK tags feature technology innovation that significantly reduces “shadowing” and “detuning” when tags block reader signals from reaching other tags in close proximity. This addresses a major limitation in gaining acceptable read rates in item-level UHF applications, says Maria Kaganov, product marketing manager, Tagsys.

The TRAK tags employ antenna coupling. In coupling, RF energy is transferred between tags for transmitting signals back to the reader. “All of our tags are designed for specific applications. The RxTRAK tag is designed specifically to perform precise and consistent data reads on small pharmaceutical packaging,” Kaganov says.

Read rates will be improved, for example, when tagged and cased items are read for associating items with the case-level tag, before shipping by the manufacturer.

The tags feature advantages of UHF tags that include faster in-line read speeds and longer read ranges compared with HF tags.

“HF and UHF tags each have advantages and disadvantages. We have done extensive HF work with Pfizer tagging Viagra and with GlaxoSmithKline tagging Trizivir. Our stance is that we know for a fact that HF works. UHF is at an earlier stage of deployment at this point.

“[But] some companies are viewing UHF as the solution of choice, since UHF has an EPCglobal standard specification. Some U.S. companies deploying today are shying away from technology without an EPCglobal standard, even though it may conform to an ISO standard,” she says.

Kaganov says Tagsys believes a multifrequency solution for item, case, and pallet tagging may ultimately be the best solution. Such a solution would feature the benefits of HF’s strong performance around liquids and metals. The EPCglobal HF Gen 2 standard, expected to be out early next year, will improve HF performance.

“UHF is considerably faster in reading tagged items on a line. When the HF Gen 2 standard comes out, they will be about equal,” Kaganov says.

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