Recently, we reviewed the Ultra Small RFID Tag from Hitachi Chemical. They are now offering a Development Kit bundle with 10 sample tags and the small versatile UHF RU-824 READ ME reader from MTI. The team at The RFID Network decided to see how well this small reader works with this tiny tag from Hitachi Chemical. We are skeptical that it can be read both in the very near field when using the built in tag antenna and far away using the coupled metal antennas. In this edition, we put the performance of the RU-824 READ ME reader with the Ultra-Small Packaged UHF Tag from Hitachi Chemical to the test.
As you may recall the Ultra Small Package UHF RFID tag from Hitachi Chemical is one of the most revolutionary RFID products our team has seen in years. It is the smallest UHF RFID Tag our team has ever seen: 2.5 by 2.5 by .4 millimeters and that includes a tiny built-in antenna.
Our team performed five (5) tests with the Ultra Small tag and the RU-824 Reader from MTI. First we tested using just the tag’s built in antenna. Next we used the recommended looped wire. At that point we decided to make it more difficult by using the tag’s ability to couple with surrounding metal to enhance its antenna. We decided to try it with a:
We were surprised to see that in all five (5) of the cases that we tested the RU-824 was able to read the tag. As you can see from the results summary table with the wire loop it read at over 30 cm.
|Ultra Small Tag alone||1.0 cm|
|With Wire Loop Antenna||30 cm|
|In Cell Phone||3.0 cm|
|On Circuit Board||5.0 cm|
|On Battery Cover||8.0 cm|
If you would like to purchase Tag samples outside North America, Canada, and Mexico or are interested in quantity pricing, or any of the other tag form factors shown in this video, please contact Hitachi Chemical or visit the Hitachi Chemical website.
If you would like to purchase the reader please contact Hitachi Chemical or visit the Hitachi Chemical website.
If you are interested in more information about the RU-824 READ ME reader please take a look at the MTI website and from there you will find additional contact information.
It may look like an RFID chip, but the new Ultra Small Package UHF RFID tag from Hitachi Chemical is one of the most revolutionary RFID products our team has seen in years. It is the smallest UHF RFID Tag our team has ever seen: 2.5 by 2.5 by .4 millimeters and that includes a tiny built-in antenna. Hitachi Chemical claims that these RFID tags can even be attached to the edge of ANY metal and it will use that metal as an antenna. What’s even more surprising is that these package tags can be used to make numerous other kinds of RFID tags, and because they are so small, it opens up the possibilities for a wide range of new UHF RFID tag form factors. In this edition, we put the Ultra Small Package UHF RFID Tag to the test!
These are ISO-18000-6C and EPCglobal Class 1 Generation 2 compatible passive UHF RFID tags, powered by an Impinj Monza 5 IC. The Ultra Small Package UHF RFID Tags can be used in package form, or as part of an alternative form factor tag. In the package form factor, the tags are read using a near-field antenna up to 1 centimeter away. But what makes the Package Tag unique is its ability to capacitively couple to holes, slots, and other discontinuities within a metal surface, and use those characteristics to enhance read performance. This effectively allows the read range of these RFID tags to be extended by using any metal as a booster antenna. The easiest way our team found to do this is by adding an antenna made of metallic wire, conductive thread, conductive ink, or the metallic part of an object. Simply cut a piece of wire, make a little loop, and place the package tag in the loop. You’ll then be able to read the tag using a far field antenna from further away. This process is demonstrated in the product review video.
Dr. Dan Dobkin, the author of The RF in RFID and one of our most trusted subject matter expert explains, in an excerpt from his book, The RF in RFID (chapter 7): "Another approach to tagging metallic surfaces is to create or exploit discontinuities in the metal surface. A continuous metal surface forces all electric fields to 0. However, most metal surfaces are not continuous. Metals may have holes, slots, recesses, and other structures. These discontinuities cause currents to be displaced and charges to accumulate within the metal, and electric fields to be present within the features. It is possible to attach conventional tags to span slots or holes in a metal surface and capacitively couple to the induced potentials, thus obtaining tag reads without an objectionably thick tag antenna structure, but the application must allow an appropriate slot or other discontinuity to be present in the metal piece."
Read more about Passive UHF RFID Tags by Dr. Dan Dobkin and watch our television interview.
Hitachi Chemical claims that these RFID tags can even be attached to the edge of ANY metal and it will use that metal as an antenna. RFID Network engineers did performance testing of the Hitachi Package tags for over two months with a variety of different assets, using an assortment of RFID readers and antennas. All of the read ranges published here are average read distances achieved when using stationary and hand-held RFID readers. As with all product reviews, The RFID Network engineers tend to be conservative, such as only measuring read distances when the RFID tag read is continuous with no less than 45db RSSI.
When tagging a metal object, we found the best results were achieved when the package tag was placed at the edge of the metal, not directly on the metal. When using a wire or a slot in metal, our team recommends you try to make the antenna the length of a quarter, half, or full wave form. For UHF, a 915 MHz wavelength (which the center frequency of UHF for FCC regulations) is 32.46 cm or 12.78 inches. The wire we cut is about one quarter of a wave length and we’re reading it about 10cm or 4 inches away.
|Object||Avg. Read Range|
|Test Tube||91 cm|
|Blister pack of pills||10 cm|
|In a metal can||33 cm|
|Beer Keg||23 cm|
|Wine bottle||15 cm|
Remember, an antenna made out of a metal object is still an antenna, and will behave like one. So don’t forget about all of the factors that determine read distance: power, frequency, antenna size, orientation, etc, but with all of the different materials we tested, we achieved extremely impressive performance results from a tiny 2.5mm RFID tag.
Hitachi Chemical manufacturers these tags with durability of semiconductor parts, which means they can be:
The tags are also resistant to chemicals and have been tested being submerged for 24 hours in a variety of solutions and still continued to operate after being removed, including:
These specifications make these tags suitable for a number applications including:
The Ultra Small Package UHF RFID Tags can be as part of an alternative form factor tag. Because the tag is so small, and has a built-in-antenna, it can be used in ways that prior to now, were not possible with UHF RFID. The small size makes these tags ideal for anti-counterfeiting and covert identification.
The package tag can be encased inside an alternative material. The read range can also be extended by using a booster antenna and a variety of different materials can for this purpose, including:
The Package RFID tag is the smallest UHF RFID tag our team has ever seen: 2.5 by 2.5 by .4 millimeters. Unlike any other RFID UHF tag, it has a unique ability to capacitively couple to slots or holes in a metal surface which effectively turns a metal object into an antenna. These features and performance alone are enough to earn Hitachi Chemical a 5-star rating.
Because the product is so revolutionary, Hitachi Chemical has created a class of RFID tags that did not exist before now. Given this, we have to give the Package tag an RFID Network Best-In-Class Award.
If you would like to try the Ultra Small Package UHF RFID Tags, Hitachi Chemical is offering a sample kit that includes ten (10) package tags. For the mroe serious tests, Hitachi Chemical also offers a kit with 1,000 package tag in roll format.
If you would like to purchase samples outside North America, Canada, and Mexico or are interested in quantity pricing, or any of the other tag form factors shown in this video, please contact Hitachi Chemical or visit the Hitachi Chemical website.
Here's our original video announcing the Package Tag.