Wireless Applications

First Universal, Affordable Smart Label Chip

April 30, 2008

IDS-SL13A RFID chip from IDS Microchip lowers price barrier by up to a factor of 10; opens multiple new markets for automatic data-logging/tracking systems.


WOLLERAU, Switzerland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--IDS Microchip AG, the only company focused on all silicon aspects of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, today significantly broadened the scope of affordable automatic data logging RFID applications by bringing to market the samples of its breakthrough IDS-SL13A smart active label chip. Priced up to 10 times lower than existing RFID temperature-sensing modules, this chip makes it practical to automatically track, monitor, time-stamp and record information about any goods in any supply chain or cold chain transport—from expensive fragile components, medical goods and pharmaceuticals, to bags of bananas—on land, sea or sky. IDS Microchip believes the IDS-SL13A is the only commercially available chip of its kind. The company will demonstrate the new chip at the EURO ID 2008 trade fair, booth D21, in Cologne, Germany, May 13–15, 2008.

The new IDS-SL13A high-frequency RFID chip enables fast deployment of a wide range of data logging and tracking systems. It can check on and record unseen changes such as extreme temperatures that can impact goods. The chip empowers companies to immediately know shipment quality, saving significant time and expense. ISO15693-compliant, it also is ideal for hundreds of other applications such as electronic ticketing of mail, packages and passengers; or tracking hospital patient information without direct physical contact.

Oluf Alminde, director of Sales & Marketing at IDS Microchip, said, "The market for automatic data logging and tracking systems, including cold chain, is growing rapidly. Our fully tested chip—10 times more economical than what's available now, and packaged in smart active labels smaller than a credit card and as thin and flexible as plastic wrap—will revolutionize data logging and tracking system deployment. It leapfrogs two generations beyond the bar code, and we expect this unique technology will open many new markets and significantly benefit businesses worldwide."

Advanced Chip Technology
The IDS-SL13A is a passive/semi-passive tag chip optimized for single-cell, battery-powered smart labels with sensor functionality. It assigns a unique identity code to whatever is labeled. An eco-friendly battery (1.5 V or 3 V) supports the integrated real-time clock and EEPROM memory to allow on-chip logging of data from the internal temperature sensor as well as other external sensors. The analog sensor interface allows connection of an external sensor. The chip measures temperature with a 0.5°C accuracy and logs it against real time. It also includes a Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) port to connect to external circuitry for display; this allows further communication with the chip, and direct access to the EEPROM for easy setting of parameters and functions. The chip supports an alarm system and functions that calculate shelf life.

The IDS-SL13A chip also works in passive mode with no battery, without the real-time clock function. This approach is intended for applications in which a reader initiates the logging and the data is stored in the reader, using an ADC. The chip controls whether it takes data from internal or external sensors, or both. Access to the smart label chip is protected through a 3-level password authentication. Users can add other types of external sensors for packages to monitor shock control, humidity, or other factors.

Pricing and Availability
IDS-SL13A chips are available now for sampling, as tested wafers or packaged parts in a 12-pin Quad Flat No leads package (QFN). They will be in full production in Q3 2008. Pricing varies depending on volume, and are priced at slightly less than one Euro in volumes of 100,000.

About IDS Microchip
Fabless semiconductor company IDS Microchip focuses on all silicon aspects of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to help customers achieve cost-effective solutions. Its comprehensive portfolio comprises wireless and sensor-enabled integrated circuits and IP for highly integrated low-power RFID system solutions including readers, enhanced tags and labels for both HF and UHF systems. Founded in 1996 and privately funded, IDS Microchip is headquartered in Wollerau, Switzerland, with an office in Toronto and distributors throughout the world.


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