On-Metal RFID tags enable 100% retail inventory tagging

Longstanding AIPIA member Avery Dennison has released two new RFID tags that are intended to be applied to small, metallic and liquid-containing products, ranging from canned sodas to shiny perfume packaging. The company's On-Metal tag can operate with similar sensitivity to that of standard UHF RFID tags, according to Francisco Melo, Avery Dennison's VP and general manager of global RFID. They enable 100% tagging of all products at a retail location, he says.

Several brands and retailers are piloting two versions of the new tags for food, beauty goods and other products that are traditionally difficult to tag. Both are sized to fit on products with small or narrow footprints. The AD-456u8 tag is designed for tagging on metal or plastic, as well as in the presence of liquids or other typically hard-to-read consumer products. It measures 64mm by 6mm, while the AD-454r6-P measures 70mm by 19mm.

Some of the more difficult use cases for RFID continue to involve perfumes and cosmetics, simply due to the size of their packaging and presence of metal and liquids. While food retailers are seeing benefits in tagging many of their products, a bottle of soda can be as difficult for tag transmission as the foil packet on a cereal bar.

Today, the dropping price of RFID tags, the growing number of tags being read for other stock-keeping units (SKUs) and the retail industry's transition toward automated purchasing are leading companies to consider tagging these more challenging products.

"If you're a consumer and you have 30 minutes to grab a bite, you want to make sure you can move fast—in which case, for the retailer, tagging a can of soda becomes important. It becomes part of that convenience element," says Melo.

The company says the development of its new tags consisted of design, as well as providing spacing. "We've creating a design that attunes itself better around liquids and metals," Melo explains, "as well as having some isolation designed in." A minimal amount of spacing ensures the tag's separation from the liquid or metal. The new tags’ price will be dependent on volumes.

Several retailers and brands are currently trialing or preparing deployments of the On-Metal tags, to track food, for self-checkout and inventory management, as well as monitoring cosmetics or other challenging products using tags.

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