Wireless Applications

UPM Raflatac and Blue Spark Technologies Partner

March 24, 2009

The two companies will work to drive new battery assisted passive RFID research and product development.


TAMPERE, Finland & CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE )--UPM Raflatac and Blue Spark Technologies announce that they have recently formed a partnership specifically targeted towards the development and launch of new and innovative products and applications in the emerging battery assisted passive (BAP) RFID market.

Both companies bring to the alliance their own deep and unique product knowledge and engineering expertise applicable to BAP RFID technology. UPM Raflatac is a world-leading developer and supplier of HF and UHF radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and inlays and self-adhesive label materials. Blue Spark is the industry leading supplier of thin, flexible printed battery solutions suitable for use in a host of industrial and consumer applications, including RFID and smart cards.

The research and development partnership was enabled with the launch of a new EPC Gen2 battery assisted passive RFID chip from Swiss-based EM Microelectronic. EM's new EM4324 RFID chip is capable of battery assisted read ranges up to 50 m (154 ft.) and features 1024 bits of nonvolatile memory. The chip includes a "low battery" alarm. Radio frequency performance and durability assurance will be provided by UPM Raflatac's tag and inlay design capabilities, supported by the company's worldwide production and testing facilities. Power will be supplied by a variety of Blue Spark's thin, flexible printed battery solutions, including the ultra-thin Blue Spark UT Series.

"Blue Spark is excited to partner with industry leader UPM Raflatac. Together, we can leverage our knowledge and experience to create a virtual 'idea factory' that will enable us to develop and test exciting new products built around our respective technologies and bring them to market in a timely way," says Gary Johnson, President and CEO for Blue Spark Technologies

"UPM Raflatac is well known as a market leader in 'best -in-class' passive RFID inlay technology. New market development requires the best possible partners to meet industry requirements and expectations, and we are pleased to be working with Blue Spark. Battery assisted RFID inlays strength is in applications where longer read range and robust reading is required," says Samuli Stromberg, Marketing Vice President for UPM Raflatac.

Both companies view battery assisted passive RFID as the next chapter in the evolution of the RFID market. BAP effectively bridges the gap between pure passive RFID technology and high-end active and real-time location systems (RTLS), from both a price and performance standpoint. The companies will focus their efforts on developing high-volume BAP RFID-enabled products for consumer, life sciences and industrial markets.

About UPM Raflatac
UPM Raflatac, part of UPM's Engineered Materials business group, is one of the world's leading suppliers of self-adhesive label materials and the world's number one producer of HF and UHF radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and inlays. UPM Raflatac has a global service network consisting of 14 factories on five continents and a broad network of sales offices and slitting and distribution terminals worldwide. UPM Raflatac employs 2,700 people and made sales of approximately EUR 1 billion (USD 1.4 billion) in 2007.

About Blue Spark Technologies
Blue Spark Technologies, Inc. is the leader in developing flexible, printed, "green," proprietary power source solutions for battery-powered printed electronic systems. The company was founded as Thin Battery Technologies in 2002 with patented technology and technical leadership from Energizer (Eveready Battery Company). Blue Spark customers include manufacturers, product designers, and integrators across multiple industries including: interactive packaging, RFID, pharmaceutical, powered smart cards, and novelty items. Users of products powered by Blue Spark batteries enjoy increased efficiency, greater convenience and portability, improved safety, lower manufacturing and assembly costs, higher profit margins, and greater environmental responsibility.


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