In order to help RFID end-users attach RFID tags to the optimal location of the product container, many RFID service providers have designed various methods for testing the signal strength of the tag at different locations on the container. System Researcher Ventures, located in Plano, Texas, has for the first time developed a system that fully automates the testing of labels for optimal placement. This is specially developed for merchants with hundreds of thousands of SKUs that need to be labeled.

Before each container is tested for best position, Venture Research first roughly measures the RF characteristics of the container and determines whether the product in the container is stronger than the RF signal when the label is scanned. Interference. If the RF characteristic meets or exceeds the interference threshold, the best location of the inventory unit can be tested.

The general manager of Venture Research explained that “every merchant’s container ends up being labeled. We are now researching how to quickly analyze a customer with 15,000 inventory units (one of Wal-Mart's top 8 suppliers). Interference with the product and developing a solution based on its RF characteristics to test how many products should be loaded.”

After roughly testing the RF characteristics, Venture Research also collected additional data for each inventory unit, such as the inventory unit number, product description information, product packaging, and wrinkle thickness of the carton. The thicker the cardboard wrinkle, the greater its ability to isolate the product within the box. If the cardboard containing the metal or liquid container box is relatively thick, then the label information above it is easier to read. According to the thickness of the cardboard, it can also be determined which of the best position test results of the label are ideal.

In addition, given that the location of certain printed information (eg, identifying bar codes and text descriptions) must be reserved on the container, these reserved locations cannot be affixed with RFID tags. Therefore, Venture Research must also measure the size of the containers. At the same time, Venture Research has to take digital images of each side of the container.

In order to prevent the impact of external electromagnetic interference on the test results, Venture Research's best location test was conducted in the silencing room. Baker said that the test results must be unique and accurate enough.

In order to further improve the accuracy of test data and reduce human error in test efficiency, a robotic mobile box is used to pass the test model during system testing, and the test tag is fixed at about 5 feet in front of the RFID reader antenna.

The best position test of the four sides of the container is usually carried out in multiple silencing chambers, and the top and bottom of the container are sometimes tested. It is easiest to pass the test by affixing the label to the upper end, because it is easier to read the label information because it is in full contact with the air.

Compression board software developed by Venture Research for testing labels can collect all signal data and provide an RF color code map for each side of the container. The green area indicates that the signal is strong, and the red area indicates that there is no signal or the signal is weak. The color code maps on each side of the container are hierarchical, and the images are clear and clear. At a glance, you can see where you can label and not paste.

Baker said that Venture Research has 21 label conversion devices to meet the market's need for cheap new RFID smart label testing. Venture Research often tests the cheapest tags first and then selects the best tags to test with the end user. Sometimes, end-users have a large number of smart tags and require that all be tested.

When testing the first label, if the test results show that the best placement is not found, or if the requested label box may generate a strong RF signal, the container cannot be labeled. Then, this tag is no longer used.

According to the static test results in the silencing room, the label is affixed to the best position of the container (except the reserved print position), and then the dynamic test is performed. The dynamic test is to place the container on a 650 ft/min conveyor and let the container read the label information through the reading area around the conveyor. The 650 ft/min speed is the recommended limit speed for products shipped on the conveyor by Wal-Mart, which is widely used by other retailers.

If the static test result of the label is ideal, but the dynamic test result is not good. This tag will not be used.

Baker said that once the end user affixes the tested label on the container, Venture Research's software will send the label's best location specification to the automatic label applicator. Both the model applier and the brand appender can accurately Place the label in a suitable location. If the label is manually affixed, the software will display a digital image of the container on the monitor to tell the worker the best location for the label.

Baker said that some end-users will be entrusted with label testing to Venture Research company to do some of the test system to buy their own test. The end-user generally decides whether to take the commissioned test or purchase the system's own test according to the number of their own labels and the cost of training test employees.

Baker pointed out that in the long run, when manufacturers embed labels in packaging materials, they may delegate label testing to packaging designers.

Now that Venture Research has begun offering tag testing services, the price is $750 per unit of inventory (which can be reduced by volume), Baker said, the company has not yet set the price of the system.

Source: RFID Radio Express

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