16/05/05 RFID Modules Can be Embedded in Corrugated
Most radio frequency identification (RFID) pilots in the supply chain have focused on applying RFID labels to product packaging. Some companies, however, want to embed RFID tags directly into boxes and other packaging. A new UHF radio frequency identification (RFID) module from BeamFetch LLC can be embedded in corrugated cardboard and reused in these applications.
The company offers the RFID modules for third-party manufacturers, or can provide corrugated pallets and boxes with the module already embedded. According to Cynthia Hsieh, director of product management, the company's box machine can make 10,000 boxes per hour, and the company can customize the box design. BeamFetch is presently using RFID chips from ST Microelectronics, but has worked with other chip providers.
In addition, BeamFetch hopes to license the technology to other corrugated manufacturers. Several paper and corrugated manufacturers, like International Paper, are also developing ways to embed RFID into their box products.
RFID-enabled boxes and pallets would be treated as returnable containers, even though corrugated is generally considered disposable. "This won't be treated as a generic paper box," Hsieh says. "The inlays are protected, and the modules can be used many times over. We expect the boxes would be re-used. The modules can be used in plastic containers, as well."
BeamFetch is launching the product in September through a partnership with distributor BlueStar Corp., and is working with several RFID reader companies to develop a complete system. The RFID modules will be compliant with the Electronic Product Code (EPC) Gen 2 protocol by the end of the year.