RFID labels move towards global standardisation

- Last updated on GMT

AIM Global, the association for and worldwide authority on
automatic identification and data collection, has issued the AIM
RFID Mark, a standard way to clearly show the presence of an RFID
transponder, its frequency and data structure.

The AIM RFID Mark is a distinctive pattern that contains a unique two-character code. The first character indicates the frequency and coding authority, the second character indicates the data content and/or structure.

A provision is also made to identify compatible RFID readers/encoders. Both light-on-dark and dark-on-light versions of the AIM RFID Mark are provided in order to address the needs of label producers.

AIM Global felt that with the growing use of RFID-enabled bar code labels in business, industry and military environments, it may be difficult for workers with hand-held readers to differentiate labels that contain RFID transponders from those that don't.

And, as more variations on these labels appear - differing by both frequency and data format and content - workers must decide which label to read.

Indeed, the technology is being driven hard by retailers such as Metro and Wal-Mart, which see RFID as the natural replacement of industry's current bar code-based tracking systems, allowing companies to automatically track inventory throughout an entire supply chain.

Wal-Mart is now just a few months away from its deadline for the top 100 suppliers to put tags on all pallets and cases. In Europe, legislation enforcing manufacturing traceability comes into force in January 2005.

The AIM RFID Mark standard was developed by the AIM North America Standards Action Group (NASAG) under the umbrella of the AIM Global Standards Action Group (GlobalSAG) and the AIM Global RFID Action Group (AG).

"The AIM RFID Mark will allow workers to quickly and easily identify which labels contain an RFID transponder, whether it's one they need to read, and whether their reader is compatible with it,"​ said AIM NASAG committee chair Dick Sorenson, director of Product Management for LXE.

"An AIM RFID Mark on the reader itself will provide a visual cue to which type of labels to read."

AIM is encouraging all equipment manufacturers and label producers to use the AIM RFID Mark. Organisations setting standards and labelling guidelines are also encouraged to include the use of the AIM RFID Mark in their documents.

"The AIM RFID Mark is the type of activity for which AIM is uniquely suited,"​ said Dan Mullen, president of AIM Global.

"Because of our global membership of manufacturers, integrators and service providers, we can quickly respond to the need for cross-application solutions to certain issues."

The standard will be available free of charge from the AIM website​ by 15 October. The document will be packaged with the actual graphics to be used by equipment manufacturers, label producers and document developers.

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