How Custom Inlays Put Clients Ahead
High-volume RFID users should always get customized inlays for their individual needs. Thanks to its superior design capabilities and manufacturing processes, Tageos can offer market partners like Six RFID customized "fit to purpose" inlays in required quantities and at competitive prices.
RFID technology offers system integrators and converters tremendous opportunities, but it also presents challenges due to increasing competitive pressures. Focusing solely on lower prices is not a sustainable strategy; better fulfilling customer requirements by offering customized inlays is.
The latter is exactly what Six RFID, a leading RFID system integrator and solution provider for the packaging and printing industry, with offices in the US, Mexico, and other countries in Central America, did in a project for a medium-sized bakery business based in Mexico. With about 30 of its stores in Mexico and a huge portfolio of freshly made products (cakes, cookies, and muffins of all kinds), the company needed to tag about 100,000 items per month with RFID inlays.
Better meet application needs
To support and meet the bakery’s demand to digitize its products and processes, Six RFID designed a solution to control daily production data in real time according to the production program based on demand/forecast. To gather reliable data comparing production orders to production in real time, the RFID solution on the production floor has to be seamlessly data-connected to the ERP system used by the bakery. To achieve that, the solution must:
- accurately track and verify the mix of products to be distributed from the production site to each store;
- effectively manage and increase the visibility of expiration dates and reduce the number of expired products, thus reducing monetary losses;
- effectively manage and track returns from stores due to claims or stock rotation;
- monitor sales and customer preferences according to consumption by store.
High performance in tough conditions
The prerequisite for all of this is the reliable function of the RFID inlays tagged to the product packaging. Taking into account the conditions of use, achieving that reliable function poses some challenges. The most commonly used folding plastic packaging - also known as clamshells - has uneven surfaces and edges and is exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations, leading to moisture and condensation. These factors place the highest demands on the adhesive used for the inlays. The fact that space for RFID tags is at a premium, and that read rates approaching 100% are essential for the solution to work, does not make selecting a suitable inlay any easier.
After extensive testing, Six RFID and Tageos, working closely together, decided that one of the standard EOS-300 inlays would be a very good starting point. However, the partners decided that the demanding requirements of this case required a customized version of the inlay. With a special cold- and moisture-resistant adhesive and further undisclosed modifications, a customized product and solution with superior performance values in the required application situation was created. Nevertheless, the price and delivery time are roughly at the same level as normal inlays that can be found on the market, but which are inferior in terms of performance in the specific application.
Partner promotion and support
The level of trust and cooperation that Tageos demonstrated during the bakery project went well beyond the norm, according to Carla Alcántara, Business Development & Operations Manager at Six RFID: “Apart from the technical aspects of our collaboration, which also went very well, Tageos was supportive and did not have any hidden agenda. Instead, they respected Six RFID's role as a system integrator and the value chain that results from it.”