US-based diversified materials supplier Appleton’s SmartStrate thermal transfer label substrates are claimed to be the world’s first label products engineered to enhance RFID inlay reliability.
Appleton says one reason for RFID labels’ limited use to date is their susceptibility to mechanical and electrostatic damage, and their inlay components’ tendency to interfere with printability.
To combat such problems, Appleton’s Thermal and Advanced Technical Products Group has engineered inlay protection into the RFID label substrate while ensuring a smooth print surface. SmartStrate labels use a proprietary cushioning material that conforms to the inlay shape to protect it from physical damage. Appleton says that, in its tests, inlays on SmartStrate labels withstood forces 20-40 times higher than those which caused failure in RFID inlays on conventional labels. The cushioning also absorbs surface unevenness, ensuring an “ideal surface” for printing. To combat electrostatic discharge, the labels are specially coated.
Beta tests have reportedly proven the effectiveness and protective properties of SmartStrate materials.
The company is currently supplying labelstock to label printers and companies for pilots.