US-based Avery Dennison is now producing radio frequency identification (RFID) inlays using a new high-speed manufacturing process to meet what the company believes will be a booming demand for clients who ship cartons and pallets.
"This new high-speed strap attach process, along with our other complementary production developments, will help close the gap between current supply and forecasted demand of billions oftags over the next few years," said Mat Mellis, a vice president in Avery Dennison's RFID division.
Inlays form the electronic core of an RFID label. It typically consists of a metal pattern on a sheet of plastic film that functions as an antenna, onto which an integrated circuit is attached.
The inlay is then sandwiched betweena paper and an adhesive layer to form a self-stick RFID label. In Avery Dennison's new process, the chips are handled on small carriers called straps,allowing a faster connection of the chips to antennas.
The company's new manufacturing process will produce tags at rates 10 times faster than current production methods, the company stated in a press release. Avery Dennison believes the big demandwill come from clients shipping cartons and pallets through the global supply chain.
"Our new processes will help relieve the difficulty in obtaining sufficient quantities of high quality RFID tags," Mellis said. "To meet current and expected future retail, government and pharmaceutical supply chain mandates, suppliers will need huge quantities of labels.
The new process incorporates important advances in the handling of strap and antenna webs, strap transfer and strap attachment for the RFID tags. Avery Dennison has filed a number of patent applications coveringthe features of the new manufacturing process.
The company plans to have new production lines up and running by the end of 2005, with the capability to produce hundreds of millions of inlays per year. Avery Dennison also anticipates it willbeing production of new EPC Class 1, Version 2 (or UHF Gen 2) tag designs later this year.
Avery Dennison RFID, a business unit of Avery Dennison, manufactures RFID inlays and labels for the packaged goods and pharmaceutical industries. The unit was formed in 2004.
"As more businesses of all types realise that RFID technology is a necessary component to improve their supply chain management, they are discovering that a pressure-sensitive label is the ideal vehicle for carryingRFID chips and antennas," the company said. "Producing RFID label materials fits perfectly into the core of Avery Dennison operations, already one of the world's largest producers ofpressure-sensitive materials for labels."
The company is a participant in a pilot programme with the US Transportation Safety Administration to improve security at US ports by developing an RFID device that monitors container shipments on ocean vessels.