Author Archives: Lewis Kilby

  • 0

RFID in Japan, Oct 2014

Category:Uncategorized Tags : 

I have just returned from my second incredible visit to Japan this year. Still fighting jet-lag, so 5:00 AM is the perfect time to reflect and share my thoughts and experiences. Like last time, this trip was imprinted with natural disasters. Japan’s Mount Ontake volcano erupted while I was inbound, we performed RFID cycle count control tests in Typhoon Phanfone, and departed the day before ‘powerful’ Typhoon Vangfong hit Japan’s main islands.

Many companies in Japan are seeking ways to use RFID, and Japan’s government supports and promotes RFID advancement. eChain Technology has been fortunate to have great access to the Japan’s forward thinking companies, and this influence has helped guide the development of our RFID solutions that include fast cloud-based applications, multi-language, multi-byte interfaces and databases, and wireless (WiFi) capable RFID reader and application infrastructure.

During this visit, we had opportunity to implement a pilot solution/Proof of Concept (PoC) in a traditionally unfriendly environment for passive RFID – a commercial equipment rental company. We were asked to test whether our application would work on fueled generators, pressure washers, construction lights, steel carts, etc. in an open/covered concrete bunker facility with steel shelves and rows of heavy equipment stacked to the ceiling. If that weren’t hard enough, the client wanted “instant inventory cycle count,” and thus, we were asked to achieve a high level of reads after the system had been turned off for days at a time.

I am impressed to say that our pilot system successfully averaged 93-94% read accuracy over 3 cycle-count tests in the commercial equipment rental environment.

While in Japan, we had the opportunity to talk with several other companies working with, or looking for RFID solutions for extremely different types of applications. Tracking medical tools and equipment, raw materials for fabrication, and working with a global leader in mechanic tool manufacture. We had the opportunity to meet with an engineering company who is doing exciting things with UHF antennas – very thin and powerful – for bookshelf application and portals.

If you are interested in learning more, please “like” this post, and send me a note. We will be compiling more information about these and other very interesting projects we are working on and glad for the professional insight and support. Thanks!


  • 0

Enhanced Asset and People Setup

Category:Uncategorized

Enhanced the asset setup (things, equipment, inventory, etc.) capability to be separate from the people asset setup (customers, employees, technicians, etc.). Enhanced anomaly engine for “missing” tag control and tracking.


  • 0

Best read range for small UHF RFID tag

Category:Uncategorized Tags : 

Best read range for small UHF RFID tag.

I recently had a client discuss a need to track many things that are small and thin – very important documents. The actual business case was to receive hundreds of documents each day, disassemble, sort, reassemble and group these documents and then mail out batches. Not one document could be lost, stolen or mis-routed.

I’m sure that there are lots of ways to skin that cat, but in this case, we were looking to see if far-field UHF passive RFID (pRFID) would work for this client. Passive RFID has come a long way in the past year and the hype of the Internet of Things has been great to put this technology into the front of the public conscience. pRFID is an extremely flexible technology with many variations that work in many different situations.

For this client, we were seeking a medium-range (far-field) UHF RFID solution. We wanted a solution that used small tags and an infrastructure that could read hundreds of tags, several feet, quickly. This way, we could minimize our impact to their existing business process. I found it was surprisingly hard to find read range information on tags that had small footprint. We procured and tested likely tags and decided to publish our findings on the selected tag. The best inlay-type tag in the smallest form factor we tested was the Alien Square 9629 tag.

Alien Square 9629

The Alien Square 9629 is a 1″ x 1″ tag – purported by Alien to provide performance of a 2 x 2 tag. It is EPC Gen2, Higgs 3. It was difficult to obtain less than a roll for testing purposes, (for me at least) and we ended up going directly to an offshore manufacturer to get 30 tags to test. We then waited a couple weeks for these tags to arrive. We tested these tags on our system(s), and also asked a partner company to test on separate platform(s) to validate our findings. Here are the results.

Impinj Speedway Revolution R420 reader and +9 db circular antenna. At full power, we were able to read some tags (not all in sample) at 13ft (4m). At 10′ (3m) we were able to see all tags, but noted significantly different RSSI values for different tags at the same range.

AWID 2010BN reader and +6 db circular antenna. Max read range up to 2.5m.

(Proprietary) VFR18 fixed reader and +9 db circular antenna. Max read range up to 3m.

AWID HB2000 (Handheld) reader. Max read range up to 0.7m.

Our results and conclusion were somewhat disappointing. The tag read ranges were acceptable at 3m and the tag footprint was acceptable at 1″ x 1″ for this business case. However I was not happy with the variation in reads from the tags. When testing several tags at the same range in a controlled test, we were getting variations in power (backscatter) of up to 4 RSSI. This means that, at range, some of the tags were not able to return enough power to be read. Perhaps this was due to the tag source (manufacturer) quality, but still disconcerting none the less.

If this is the best tag available, we can make it work with appropriate tuning and testing – perhaps modify the process workflow somewhat, but I would love to hear if anyone has had other experiences with these other small (inlay/label) UHF tags. Regardless, hopefully someone looking for a small far-field tag can use this information to save themselves some time and effort. Happy Tracking! Lewis Kilby, eChain Technology


  • 0

Add WMS Demo Template

Category:Uncategorized

Warehouses and open-space inventory storage areas pose a challenge for management using passive RFID.  In the eChain RFID Portal, business functions are aligned to “Locations”.  Locations are associated with physical RFID readers.  These are sometimes referred to as “clusters” because each reader can support up to 32 passive antennas and cover a physical space up to 50′ x 50′.


  • 0

Add Check-in Check-out demo

Category:Uncategorized

Added new template scenario for Check-in, Check-out.  The Check-In/Check Out Demo illustrates RFID-enabled workflows where items and equipment are rented or checked-out, used, and then returned. Returned items and equipment are cleaned and/or sterilized and placed back on “Available” status for another use. In this scenario, we track items/equipment and people through the process using RFID to automate the system entries and process tracking.


  • 0

eChain Portal Launch

Category:Uncategorized

This is the eChain Portal Launch update.  We have several “live” streaming RFID scenarios continuously updated by our RFID systems.  Register to see the dynamic screens or contact us to get a personal walk through.  We are continuously making updates and will document the updates here.  Included demo for “Healthcare” template.


  • 0

Case Study – RFID SYSTEM TRACKS SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS IN DENMARK

Category:Uncategorized Tags : 

Four hospitals are testing Caretag’s reading devices and software, as well as Xerafy’s RFID tags, tracking surgical tools as they are packed, used in surgery, sterilized and maintained, and thereby reducing tool-management errors and labor.  By Claire Swedberg

Read More

  • 0
RFID Healthcare

Case Study – Rigshospital Copenhagen the First Hospital in the World to Pilot Ultra-high Frequency RFID Tags for Tracking Surgical Instruments | Xerafy Blog

Category:Uncategorized Tags : 
RFID Healthcare

Medical instrument tracking using UHF RFID

HONG KONG, June 26, 2013 – Xerafy, a global supplier of RFID metal tags, has teamed with Caretag, a software and solution provider, to deliver traceability of surgical instruments and trays to a consortium of hospitals led by Rigshospital Copenhagen.

Read More

  • 0

Radio Frequency Identification Readers Inducing Clinically Significant Electromagnetic Interference

Category:Uncategorized Tags : 

Although there is in vitro testing evidence for concern for implantable pacemaker and ICD EMI at LF and HF, no reactions were observed for pacemakers and ICD’s during exposure to UHF RFID or continuous-wave RFID. The FDA has not received any incident reports of pacemaker or ICD EMI caused by any RFID system. , therefore, we do not believe the current situation reveals an urgent public health risk.

In vitro tests reveal sample radio frequency identification readers inducing clinically significant electromagnetic interference to implantable pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators

RFID Interference Pacemaker

Percentage of pacemaker reactions graded for clinical significance. The percentage of tests with a reaction for pacemakers graded for clinical significance (there were no class II reactions). Pacemaker tests at nominal sensitivity during HF RFID exposure had 1% class I reactions and 1% class III reactions. HF = high frequency; LF = low frequency; RFID = radiofrequency identification; UHF = ultra high frequency; Max = maximum sensitivity; Nom = nominal sensitivity.

Abstract:

Background

The use of radiofrequency identification (RFID) systems is expanding and highlights the need to address electromagnetic interference (EMI) to implantable pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs).

Objective

This study sought to examine the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) between RFID readers and implantable pacemakers or ICDs.

Methods

During in vitro testing, 15 implantable pacemakers and 15 ICDs were exposed to 13 passive RFID readers in 3 frequency bands: 134 kHz (low frequency [LF]), 13.56 MHz (high frequency [HF]), and 915 MHz (ultra high frequency [UHF]).

Results

While being exposed to LF RFID, a reaction was observed for 67% of all pacemaker tests (maximum distance 60 cm) and 47% of all ICD tests (maximum distance 40 cm). During HF RFID exposure, a reaction was observed for 6% of all pacemaker tests (maximum distance 22.5 cm) and 1% of all ICD tests (maximum distance 7.5 cm). For both pacemakers and ICDs, no reactions were observed during exposure to UHF RFID or continuous-wave RFID. Pacemakers and ICDs were most susceptible to modulated LF RFID readers.

Conclusion

Although there is in vitro testing evidence for concern for implantable pacemaker and ICD EMI at LF and HF, the FDA has not received any incident reports of pacemaker or ICD EMI caused by any RFID system. We do not believe the current situation reveals an urgent public health risk.

Relevant Excerpts

Relevant Excerpts below were taken from the Full Text Study, which can be found here:  http://www.heartrhythmjournal.com/article/S1547-5271(09)01146-1/fulltext  This was a very good study by HeartRhythm, the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society, and I highly recommend you read it in its entirety if you plan on using RFID in a health care environment.    Lewis Kilby, eChain Technology

“Modulated LF RFID is a near-perfect source to cause EMI for implantable pacemakers and ICDs.  The majority of pacemakers and ICDs were susceptible to EMI while being exposed to modulated LF RFID readers.”

“The reactions caused by HF RFID readers were observed from 3 of 30 devices tested.”

“The RFID technologies that were most compatible with implantable pacemakers and ICDs in our testing were UHF RFID and continuous-wave RFID readers.”

“Maintaining a reasonable separation distance between RFID readers and implantable pacemakers and ICDs will also help mitigate EMI.”

“The separation distances where EMI was observed ranged from 2.5 to 60 cm.”

“Larger separation distances will help mitigate implantable pacemaker and ICD EMI, and RFID implementation should take this into consideration.”