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Implementation of Rfid in Apparel Firm

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RFID is here to stay and will soon render the ubiquitous barcode obsolete. Large retailers are considering making RFID emplacement mandatory on their purchases. Wal-Mart had issued notice mid 2004 that it would not accept consignments from within the US that were not RFID compliant, intending to include overseas suppliers within this mandate. The high cost involved saw a number of suppliers taking a lien on RFID tag attachment. The RFID industry is in search of a cheap chip, particularly for Asian exporters who are already operating at tight margins and would find the cost of an RFID tag, currently between 39-65 cents (Rs 18-28), too high a price to bear.

Researchers at PolyIC GmbH & Co. KG a joint venture of Siemens AG and Kurz GmbH Co. KG in Germany are close to a solution, to satisfy global manufacturers, retailers and other companies that have been seeking advanced but inexpensive tags for their products and materials : a low cost plastic chip that can be printed on foil. PolylC claims to have created the world's fastest plastic chip so far - 600KHz - and having pioneered a technique to print circuits directly onto foils. Next year, PolyIC plans to start plastic 4-bit chip production, useful in forgery-proof labelling applications. The next step will be a 32-bit chip aimed at applications in the logistics sector. By 2008, PolyIC expects to produce a chip with a storage capacity of 128 bits and a processing speed of 13.56MHz to comply with RFID standards. Present day bar code labels have a typical storage capacity of 44 bits.

The plastic chips are only a few square centimeters in area and have a thickness of 1 micro- meter, while the electrodes and the semiconductor layer account for only a few hundred nanometers of the total. In the lab printing process, researchers use stamps to print the conductors. Then they coat the foil with the semiconductor and insulator using a type of squeegee technology that is common in the textile-printing industry.

The goal of PolyIC is to produce RFID chips at an uppermost price of 1.3 cents, said a spokesman in Siemens' research and development division. Siemens launched PolyIC after it decided to transfer plastic chip research activities to the new joint venture with Kurz, which company sspecialises in production of stamping foils.

Metro AG, the German giant, which is at the forefront of deploying RFID technology in the European retail sector,



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