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Mar 15, 2022

Voyantic Introduces TagFinder Beta

The new database service connects RAIN RFID specifications with tag products

You probably consume AAA batteries every month, but have you ever visited the web pages of Varta, Duracell, Energizer, or Panasonic? No need whatsoever, right?

I admit that batteries and RAIN RFID tags may not be comparable products, but both are low-priced consumables and sold in billions of units annually. The difference is that batteries are easy to select and purchase, and RAIN RFID tags are neither. Read on to learn how that is about to change!

Learn from alkaline batteries

The battery industry is more than a 100-years old. IEC, ANSI, and JIS have created standards for the sizing and chemistry of batteries a long time ago. Consumers have been trained to ask for AA and AAA batteries. Availability and pricing of the products are good. This sets a benchmark for how things could be also within the RAIN RFID industry.

How easy could RAIN RFID tag selection be?

While RFID technology itself is already more than 70 years old, the RAIN RFID industry is far from a similar level of convenience to the battery industry. We do have a solid air-interface standard established, but that’s not quite enough to make the selection of RAIN components easy for everyone.

The practical readability of RAIN tags is also dependent on the label size, frequency tuning, substrate material, and the IC on the tag. To further complicate the early steps, also the sourcing of small quantities was deemed challenging in an experiment we did in 2020.

It is in our interest to make the fantastic RAIN technology and products easier for anyone to find and utilize. That is why we want to try something new for a change.

TagFinder service brings tag products and specifications together

We have built a database that includes all available RAIN tag ICs and an expanding selection of RAIN tags and labels. Now, solutions providers and end-users can search through that database to find suitable tags for their projects using the TagFinder search tool.

Try TagFinder now

TagFinder includes simple search filters that enable users to find tags based on tagging specifications and requirements. After creating a shortlist of options, users can contact the tag suppliers directly through the TagFinder tool, saving time in the sourcing process.  

In TagFinder, tags can be searched based on manufacturer, application, size, target material, read range, plus a range of other features. 

Try out the service free-of-charge!

We are thrilled to offer free access to a beta version of the TagFinder service. This is a learning experience for us as well, and your feedback and suggestions will enable us to improve the search tool and improve the content on the fly.

I recognize the need to further develop the tagging standards and guidelines that are out there. Hopefully, soon enough I will be able to share more news on that front as well.

Jul 01, 2021

Switching into a New IC in Inlay Design – Is There a “Quick n’ Dirty” Way?

A few months ago, I started receiving questions about switching to a new IC in inlay manufacturing. All these vendors had done several IC changes over the years, but there was something new going on. The questions were centered around possible shortcuts in the process.

  • “What if I just change the IC and don’t change the antenna design at all?”
  • “What if I don’t waste time in machine settings and just do it quick n’ dirty?”
  • “Are there any ICs that are ‘plug and play’ with other models?”

Unfortunately, I could not offer any help. I did find the question interesting though. At first, I tried to figure out some approaches on my own but did not get past the very basics. That is when I asked help from my colleagues Juho Partanen and Jesse Tuominen, and started doing some research on the topic.

In scale comparison of Impinj M750 and Monza R6

Together with Juho and Jesse we put together a whitepaper that outlines the process and key considerations for switching from one IC to another.

Download the white paper

Key considerations for switching from one IC to another

The IC vendors have plenty of helpful material available:

  • IC Datasheets
  • Reference antenna designs
  • Industrialization guides.

Some of the material is not publicly available, so reaching out to the IC vendor for help is a good starting point.

  • Start by verifying the suitability of the IC functionality.
    If you only need 96bit EPC pretty much any IC can do it. But some IC’s have a lot more functionality. More EPC memory, different amounts of user memory, and they support various optional EPC gen2 commands.
  • Then focus on production.
    Getting all the details and settings in the IC attachment process adjusted for the new wafer, for the new IC, and possibly for the new bonding paste can take time. This is also a time to check the durability of the new IC attachment.
  • When the production compatibility is confirmed, focus on the antenna design.
    Optimizing antenna design is always recommended, and with the IC vendor’s reference designs as a starting point, the design is not that huge of a project. In some cases, it is possible to take small shortcuts, but the time saved is not much. A good and optimized design is a better approach.
  • Focus on quality.
    As with designs, shortcuts do not make sense. The best approach is to fully utilize the new IC and optimize the tag performance and quality.

Learn How to Switch from One RAIN RFID IC to Another

Learn more about each step in the process of switching from one IC to another