RFID guidelines for pallets and containers

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GS1 EPCglobal has released two new guidelines providing guidance on how to use RFID technology to identify pallets and containers in the supply chain.

Although GS1 EPCglobal’s Gen 2 ultra high-frequency RFID standards have been in place since 2006, until today it has been unclear how to tag pallets and containers.

The Returnable Transport Item Interest Group brought together major manufacturers, retailers, transport providers and solution providers to produce the guidelines. The group agreed on how best to apply GS1 EPCglobal Gen2 UHF RFID standards to returnable transport items such as pallets, roll cages, returnable plastic containers, tote boxes, and ingredients bins.

The RTI (Pallet tagging) Interest Group guideline contains:
· detailed descriptions of multi-party business use cases to understand the need for identification and management of pallets and other returnable items
· requirements that relate to what data is to be captured in the user memory portion of the tag and how it is to be maintained securely
· advice about the placement of tags to optimise accurate data capture.

Keith Sherry, general manager of BT Supply Chain Services, said: “The use of returnable transport items is an increasing phenomenon in the modern supply chain, with companies constantly seeking to reduce costs, increase handling efficiencies and improve environmental responsibility through less waste. But for that to happen, companies need standard ways of identifying these assets to be able to track and trace their flow through the supply chain.

“This guideline sets a solid foundation for companies to use GS1 EPCglobal RFID standards as an integral part of their asset tracking capabilities. Ultimately, it will lead to more efficient supply chain and greater visibility of both the assets themselves and the goods they are transporting. The business case is clear, now it’s up to companies to start implementing,” says

Containers used in ocean, air, road and rail transport experience some of the most extreme conditions in the supply chain including wide variations in temperature, humidity and pressures and exposure to fluid contaminants, dust and dirt.

The Technical Implementation Guide for Conveyance Asset Tag (CAT) Environmental Testing aims to establish a baseline level of testing for passive Gen2 UHF RFID tags to meet the rigours of transport. It also provides guidelines for the placement and encoding of RFID CAT tags for the tracking of assets such as sea containers, dry vans, air freight containers, rail cars and intermodal containers. The guideline was written by participants from iControl, Damco, Boeing, SPAWAR Systems Centre San Diego, Exel/DHL Supply Chain Americas and FedEx.

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