Latest German innovations in the smart label market are helping converters print accurate and cost effective labels
Accurate and error-free RFID encoding is crucial in industries such as pharmaceuticals and food, where incorrect or inefficient labelling must be eliminated. Addressing the needs of the security printing market, several German manufacturers have launched innovative products and processes in recent months.
One such development is Atlantic Zeiser’s Tagline, a smart label personalization system that encodes and runs quality control on RFID tags as well as printing or marking the label using inkjet technology. The company says that the new machine is “the ideal solution for smart ticket and smart label applications that need to adhere to strict quality and accuracy specifications”.
The core component of Tagline consists of a patented drum within the programming unit. The encoding module has eight independent high frequency chip units to perform encoding in a read/write cycle. This process verifies that information sent to a tag is correctly stored and enables fast, accurate production of up to 40,000 labels/hour, the company states. Labels can then be printed with variable data, such as serial numbers, bar codes, security features or graphics. The Tagline encoding system can handle RFID tag encoding and optical OCR/bar code marking simultaneously.
Its modular system allows addition of optional components. One of these can be the Omega 36/36i inkjet printing system, featuring drop-on-demand technology and a corresponding dryer for proprietary inks.
This new digital inkjet printer from Atlantic Zeiser enables variable data to be printed on a variety of substrates, such as paper, carton board, aluminium, and plastics. With a print resolution of 360 dpi, the inkjet printer is said to ensure accurate reproduction of bar codes and font sizes down to four points, as well as optimum legibility of bar codes, graphics and textual information. It is designed for use in both web and sheet-fed processes and has a print width of 36mm.
Many label manufacturers produce standard self adhesive labels used for a variety of applications. An insertion process is required to equip labels with an RFID inlay.
A new RFID smart label insertion Line from the Muehlbauer Technology Group, the IL 15000, is an automatic wet RFID inlay insertion machine for printed or finished selfadhesive labels.
The finished labels are fed into the machine from a reel and transferred to the process module. Each single label is then lifted off the liner and an RFID inlay is inserted underneath the sticky side, after which, the label can be put back on the liner.
The compact IL 15000 offers a maximum processing speed of 60m/min. An optional functional test can be integrated into the system to ensure that the labels work according to the specifications.
Equally important to the automated insertion process is the placement of the chip modules. Addressing the need for accurate chip placement, bielomatik and NXP Semiconductors, the independent company founded by Philips, have developed a new manufacturing concept for UHF tags. The RF-LoopTag, a chip module with a new form factor, is said to enable easier manufacturing of UHF RFID smart labels. The new technology facilitates the placement of chip modules onto a secondary broadband UHF antenna.
Bielomatik says the RFID activated packaging materials can be streamlined through the use of RF-LoopTag technology due to its contactless coupling method, even on hidden secondary antennas. The RF-LoopTags are ready made to be used as UHF near field transponders.
The system is powered by NXP’s new UCODE G2X product line. Combined with a new UHF antenna manufacturing process, the smart label production can be carried out completely on bielomatik’s T-100 and T-165 machines, which are said to provide a “simple and cost-effective way of converting RF-LoopTags into smart labels at the highest possible speed”.