InkSure Technologies announced yesterday it has been awarded two key US patents related to the company's ongoing development of chipless radio frequency tags that can be printed on a product, reports Ahmed ElAmin.
The company hopes to drive the cost of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags down to less than one cent by using a special ink, said the company's chief executive for US operations, James Assaf.
Analysts have blamed the current high cost of RFID tags as the main bottleneck preventing its wider use by industry.
While RFID technology provides product and logistic information, current RFID applications require that relatively expensive chips be imbedded in the ID tags, making item-level tagging impractical for most products, Assaf said.
"If silicon chips were cheaper, they would be ideal for use in RFID tags," Assaf told FoodProductionDaily.com. "They are versatile and robust, can be made in read-only or read-write versions, can store large amounts of information, can transfer data rapidly and can be designed to do independent processing. However, with relatively high production costs it has so far been impossible to produce chip-based RFID tags for lessthan 25 cents to 40 cents per tag, with the highest-functioning chips costing up to $10 (€12) per tag."
The cost of printing barcodes is currently about $0.001 per tag.
InkSure Technologies two approved patents are entitled "Chipless RF Tags" and "Radio Frequency Data Carrier and System for Reading Data Stored Therein". The company plans to apply for patents in Europe.
The successful patent application will allow the company to accelerate the development of a printable RFID tag, InkSure said. The company has formed a separate subsidiary, InkSure RF, to market its RFID technology.
"Our goal is to develop multi-bit chipless RFID tags that can be manufactured and applied to product labels at a cost of well below one cent each," the company stated. "Such tags offer far more speed, functionality and ease-of-use than traditional barcodes and have the potential to revolutionise brand protection and supply chain management on a global scale."
Chip based RFID tags are currently used for road tolling and ticketing, pharmaceutical applications, access control, retail supply chain applications and luggage control. Recently, WalMart and the USdefense department started requiring suppliers to use RFID tags on their pallets and high-ticket items.
Global revenues from RFID systems are expected to reach $10b (€12b) by 2010 with chipless RFID systems accounting for about 30 per cent of the total, according to a study by IDTechEx.
InkSure Technologies specialises in producing speciality ink products designed to protect brands and documents from counterfeiting, fraud and misuse.