Tageos is a manufacturer of UHF RFID labels and hangtags for item-level tagging of consumer goods and business assets, supporting its global customers in various industries. Tageos’ business focus has been on developing a new RFID antenna technology at a reduced production cost compared to those that are using existing traditional processes, with the purpose of selling UHF RFID labels and tags at a significantly lower price and fulfilling the growing demand for RFID labels globally.
Since a very early stage of its development, Tageos has been using Voyantic’s RFID testing equipment to support its R&D and industrialization efforts and to make its innovation become a viable success. Today, as a major manufacturer of UHF RFID labels, Tageos maintains a high level of innovation with the support of Voyantic, the leading provider of RFID measurement and testing solutions. These solutions, widely used by the leaders and forerunners in the RFID industry, are proven to speed up development, improve production quality, and increase sales of RFID technology.
Developing a New Technology
Tageos was founded in 2007 in France to develop a new type of technology where the label’s antenna and chip are assembled directly on a printable paper roll in a single continuous manufacturing step. Versus the alternative antenna manufacturing processes, such as those that use engraving and stamping, this manufacturing process is intrinsically lower cost.
In year 2011 Tageos started working with Voyantic and acquired the Tagformance lite UHF Measurement System with the RFID cabinet to allow comprehensive tag measurement to support their R&D work. Having the system enrolled into Voyantic’s Maintenance Program, it is always up-to-date with calibrations, newest software updates – and, of course, the current standards.
Quality from Design to Production
After the final industrialization and commercial launch in 2012, Tageos proceeded to first large volume production lots and saw its main products certified in the US by the University of Arkansas RFID Center (now University of Auburn) and in Europe by the European EPC Competence Center.
Already from the very beginning it was clear to Tageos that quality is the key factor to success. Not only had they done the design work carefully taking full advantage of the Voyantic Tagformance system, but they also wanted to guarantee that each and every tag delivered to customer would meet the strict quality criteria. From the very first lots back in 2012, Tageos has been using the Voyantic Tagsurance Tester to verify the tag performance also in production. The tags are tested in high speed finishing process using multiple frequencies and a test optimized separately for each tag design.
The Success Continues
Shortly after the volume manufacturing launch Tageos was ISO certified and the penetration to the US market was done via a sales subsidiary, Tageos Inc. In year 2014 Tageos signed important contracts with some of the main end-users in Europe and the US in industries such as retail, luxury and logistics. Today Tageos uses Voyantic systems to control the quality of hundreds of millions of UHF RFID tags annually.
When asking Tageos directors what is their secret in winning the big customers, we get an answer from Matthieu Picon, CEO:
“Having a competent engineering crew providing excellent designs with documented properties, it is easy to make sales. What makes the after sales more convenient as well is the fact that we are very confident about the delivery quality of our tags, as they are 100% performance tested with Voyantic equipment prior to dispatch.”
This Is How Tageos Serves the Quality to the Customer
Tageos has a good range of tag designs in their portfolio. The tags are designed and verified using the Tagformance test system. Tageos uses the system not only in R&D, but also in sales work. The sales team has a measured proof of the tag performance always at hand and the customer application requirements are taken into consideration by providing the customer the results of the tag behavior also on tagged items.
In case of a demanding application or a tough benchmark, there may be a situation where the engineering crew is assigned to develop a new design. One might think it automatically means a long lead time and delays to deployment schedule, but with the correct tool the Tageos crew is able to achieve very quick turnaround times. The whole NPI process from analysis of the customer requirements to volume deliveries takes typically 8 weeks.
“With the Voyantic solutions we avoid excess iteration runs, save time and get things done right at once. We have a small but talented R&D team of professionals and using their time efficiently by giving them the right tools to do the job has saved us money and given them the chance to grow professionally.” says Laurent Delaby, the VP of Operations at Tageos. “The Voyantic support crew has been showing great reactivity on our inquiries and giving very professional advice. Working with them since 2011 has been very useful to efficiently set up our industrial process and quickly convince our major customers.”
Case Example: Tageos New Product Introduction Process
Product developed: EOS-400 (74x21mm) UHF RFID paper label with Impinj Monza R6 chip
Customer: a large apparel and accessories retailer in the US already using UHF RFID technology
Tagged items: apparel (denim and hanging items) and accessories
1. ANALYSIS OF THE CUSTOMER REQUIREMENTS
The customer use case is first evaluated with the existing Tageos labels (form-factors and chips) in order to see which one is the most adapted. When a new design is found necessary, there is already the necessary knowledge available to use in the development phase. At this stage, Tageos systematically tests its labels on sample items provided by the customer.
When a new design is made, the first step is a set of performance simulations on various antenna designs. Hand-built prototypes are made from the best simulated designs in order to test the performance and behavior in practice. This is done in free space and on targeted surfaces and items, using the Voyantic Tagformance system.
Once some designs are validated, a pre-series of the antenna designs is manufactured. In below graphs there are six different antenna designs from the pre-series measured in free air in the Voyantic RFID Measurement Cabinet. Both forward and reverse link are measured. In controlled environment and using the Tagformance measurement setup compensation, the results can be given as the exact power levels on the tag, not the power transmitted or received by the measurement device.
The best antenna design is qualified. The preliminary performance of the tag is validated with the customer and in this stage the customer has a detailed specification on the tag, the analysis results based on various measurements on the tag, and its suitability and superior performance in the specific application. The customer receives also a pre-series roll for their own tests.
After the customer approves the tag, a first production lot of finished tags is manufactured. From the very first lot, the tags are 100% tested on wide frequency range using the Voyantic Tagsurance production testing system. The testing is done at the finishing process step and the defective tags are marked.
From the first lot, samples are picked to repeat the tests with Tagformance to validate the production manufacturing process. More detailed analysis of the possible defected tags allows understanding the root causes for the defects and the sample based analysis of the accepted tags verifies the set acceptance levels for the testing in production is sufficient.
5. DELIVERING QUALITY IN VOLUMES
Each and every volume production lot is 100% tested with the Voyantic Tagsurance. This way it is guaranteed that the delivery to the customer matches exactly the quality of the tags the customer accepted in the qualification phase. The below graph is an example from a volume production roll of EOS-400 with Impinj Monza R6, where we can see that there are no defected, detuned, or less sensitive tags and the overall variation in sensitivity is less than 2dB.
The sampling from production continues as well and also reliability testing like bending, temperature, humidity etc. is executed. The Tagformance system is regularly used for sample based testing.