Brand owners and retailers looking to RFID tag goods in corrugated cases or folding cartons but keen to avoid the cost and complexity of attaching an RFID label to individual packs post-filling can now specify a system that sees the RFID inlay incorporated within the packaging substrate in “invisible” form during the box material’s manufacture.
The new HIDE-Pack technology has been jointly developed by the Integrated Solutions Group of Domino Printing Sciences and a specialist arm of a privately-owned Canadian packaging, paper and tissue company. The system was perfected at a corrugated container plant in Montréal, while a recycled liner mill undertook testing to ensure boxes containing an RFID inlay could be effectively recycled “using conventional contaminant removal equipment commonly used in paper mills”.
Tony Walsh, European business development manager at Domino’s Integrated Solutions Group, says: “The technology has been developed so the inlays become an integral part of the packaging. Layers of packaging adhesive encapsulate each inlay during the manufacture of the corrugated or cartonboard sheet in such a way that the tag will still operate even should the pack experience detrimental factors such as condensation during storage, and immersion in water. We plan licensing the technology to corrugated and cartonboard producers.”
Designed as a “non-invasive” technology that “minimally affects current manufacturing processes”, the HIDE-Pack system is reportedly compatible with “a variety of package-making equipment. Trials run over speeds from 6,000-18,000 units/hour on a flexo folder gluer “had no effect on productivity”, with a final package reject rate of “0.1% or less”.
“Looking at RFID from a supplier or consumer packaged goods manufacturer’s view the key to making RFID affordable is moving the technology back in the value chain into the manufacture of the package medium,” says Paul de Blois, vice-president and general manager, HIDE-Pack. “HIDE-Pack is an environmentally-sustainable approach to RFID that reduces capital costs, improves productivity, maintains package recyclability and improves tag reliability.”
HIDE-Pack emphasises that eliminating or reducing the need for RFID printers and applicators “simplifies RFID adoption”: “In-line RFID readers and antennae create a smaller footprint for encoding, verifying and validating HIDE-Pack-enabled boxes. Consumables in the form of traditional RFID labels are avoided, and substantial savings are achievable by eliminating the operational costs of printer-based systems.”
Domino Integrated Solutions Group
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