Performance of RFID tags can be impacted by a variety of factors at different stages in the supply chain such as the use of non-approved inlays, physical damage or improper encoding processes.

George Hoffman

CEO/Chairman, Fineline Technologies

NORCROSS, Ga. – FineLine Technologies is pleased to announce that the United States Patent Office (USPTO) has issued Patent number US 9,652,733 B2 to FineLine Technologies for Systems and Methods for Measuring and Tracking Radio-Frequency Identification Tags.

The patent includes the systems and methods of input for various types of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) data, such as chip and inlay type, scan location, encoding scheme, and payload. It also measures and tracks the data of different users at various points throughout a supply chain, and stores it in a database.  The data can then be analyzed to determine defects in RFID tag quality and help prevent or minimize costly reticketing further down the supply chain.

“A variety of factors can affect RFID tag performance at different stages in the supply chain,” says George Hoffman, CEO/chairman, FineLine Technologies. “Examples include the use of non-approved inlays, physical damage and improper encoding processes.”

The technology is currently deployed in FineLine’s QCtrak™ application.  QCtrak collects, assesses, tracks and reports on RFID tag quality throughout the supply chain.  As a ready-made compliance tool, QCtrak is configurable to each industry’s needs and can be cost effectively and easily implemented.  QCtrak™ Mobile software uses existing smart devices with the addition of a UHF reader to scan, collect, inform and relay metrics to the Cloud. QCtrak™ Cloud aggregates this information and provides comprehensive analytical reports to help supply chain owners quickly identify potential tagging problems as product moves through the supply chain.

Retailers and their suppliers utilizing RFID can verify the correct encoding of Electronic Product Code (EPC), RFID tag selection, and tag readability by program for compliant labeling. The software is configured to user responsibilities.  At the factory, a user can identify the correct EPC encoding and tag for different retailers’ programs and be alerted to errors with on-screen notifications so they can remedy issues prior to shipment.  At the DC, retailers can confirm RFID tagging compliance across vendors providing different merchandise types. At the compliance office, vendor-submitted RFID tags can be quality checked for approval.  Because the tag data from scans is stored, results can be compared across vendor, DC, Store and HQ scans.

In other supply chains, such as event ticketing where the use of NFC is increasing, encoding schemes are very complex and can include far more data than a standard EPC such as: barcode number, ticket number, asset number, UID (Unique Identifier) and TID (unique tag ID). Early detection of RFID tag quality issues in these cases is critical to successful deployment since it may prevent patron admission or adversely impact the fan experience.

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