Tagsys Inc. Copublishes White Paper on RFID

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) manufacturer Tagsys Inc. (Philadelphia) has published a white paper touting the benefits of high-frequency RFID. The company collaborated with Royal Philips Electronics (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and Texas Instruments (Dallas) on the paper, titled, “Item Level Visibility in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain: A Comparison of HF and UHF RFID Technologies.”

The document details the technical capabilities, deployment characteristics, and applicability of passive high-frequency (HF) and ultra high-frequency (UHF) technology. It focuses primarily on pharmaceutical item-level pedigree tracking applications.

In addition to low frequency (125– 134.2 kHz), passive RFID tags operate in the high-frequency band of 13.56 MHz and the ultrahigh-frequency band of 860–960 MHz. According to the paper’s authors, many consider UHF technology better suited for reading cases and pallet tags from portal or conveyor antennas. In contrast, HF technology’s shorter read range allows for more-well-defined read zones that can better enable smart shelf and item-level applications.

The authors also point out that several manufacturers have produced hundreds of millions of HF tags achieving yields of more than 99%. In addition, HF technology has been commercially deployed in markets such as library systems, textile rental, and industrial laundry with an ex-tremely high success rate, according to the report.

The paper provides an in-depth perspective on HF technology, discussing its technical and deployment characteristics. The three companies call HF “the most effective path with the lowest risk for item-level identification and pedigree tracking.” They make that conclusion based on a number of technical and deployment characteristics including read range, form factor, maturity, global standards, and worldwide availability.

The paper also highlights some current pharmaceutical and healthcare pilots and implementations. One such pilot has been implemented at four of the top 15 U.S. hospitals. The system automatically manages equipment and supply inventory, allowing real-time reports as supplies are removed from RFID-enabled cabinets. It also allows integration with the hospital’s information systems to facilitate seamless item replenishment. Supplies are tagged with HF inlays, and the cabinet compartments contain RFID readers. Once an item is removed from the cabinet, the software requests a scan of the existing inventory. It then identifies all remaining items and notes which item was removed. “This item management system increases productivity, en-hances quality of care, reduces costs, and simplifies the overall process,” observe the paper’s authors.

The complete white paper can be downloaded at www.tagsysrfid.com.

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