In 2015, I wrote about Flexstr8’s NFC encoder working with the C3500: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2015/07/nfc-in-color.html
Since this last post, FlexStr8 has launched a thermal transfer NFC encoder/label printer with the Zebra GC420T: http://www.flexstr8.us/bwencoder/
And a temperature logger: http://www.flexstr8.us/smarttemp/. This temperature logger is very “cool”!
According to Ralph Roessler, President of Flexstr8, says “Initially, developing a system to encode and print color labels using the C7500 was not on our development path. But a company approached us to develop a solution for them using UHF RFID tags, which could be printed in color and on-demand. After some thought, we decided to move forward; and quickly. We’re very proud of our solution.”
|C7500 Encoding RFID Tags|
Ralph continues, “As the printer runs at 11” per second, we needed a system not only to encode and print at that speed; but also identify the bad RFID tags without stopping the printer. By adding a reader antenna near the unwind station and another antenna after the print head, we could read, encode, print and skip a label if required due to a bad tag. Bad tags do happen; probably around 1% of the time. We needed to be able to identify the any tags that should not to use for tracking.”
According to Eric Casavant, FlexStra8 Product Engineer, “we designed this system to be incredibly easy to use. The system snaps onto the 7500 in a few seconds; then upgrades the device into a print on-demand color RFID printer.”
|C7500 Pop-In RFID Encoder|
With my history with UHF RFID labels, I see an opportunity for the use of these tags/labels in apparel. RFID in apparel has grown significantly in size over the last few years. According to this article, nearly 4 billion RFID tags were used in apparel in 2015: http://www.supplychainbrain.com/content/latest-content/single-article/article/retail-apparel-industry-taps-rfid-for-inventory-accuracy/. A perfect application for the C7500 and RFID tags/labels.
After the initial work with the C7500, Flexstr8 has found two other interesting applications. Ralph says, “GHS labels for time and temperature sensitive chemicals is a natural RFID market; especially with the requirement to print colored pictograms. RFID helps users track and locate time and/or temperature sensitive compounds easily and quickly.”
Ralph continues, “We also see a new market for identifying individual cannabis plants. With our RFID encoded tags, growers can track individual plants; and especially cloned plants. With RFID, you can identify and track individual plants; which is required in certain states. Color coding and potential marketing benefits is important with the capability to print in color on tags and labels.”
If you see a market for this fascinating new technology, please share with me your thoughts. If you have a need to track items quickly and easily using on-demand color labels, contact me to discuss this new solution from FlexStr8.