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Intermec Advanced RFID Extensions (ARX)

Posted March 27, 2012

Intermec introduces the first tag motion software toolkit in a standardized reporting format. Intermec Advanced RFID Extensions (ARX) effectively identifies RFID tags of interest and discriminates surrounding tags, providing customers and software integrators the tools to essentially eliminate false-positive reporting of tags.

Getting the Most out of RFID

RFID provides business benefits and a strong ROI for many applications including asset tracking, materials management, and inventory control. Many processes for identifying objects and recording their movements can be automated by RFID. Unattended readers ensure that asset and inventory movements are recorded and alerts issued if the material is moved to the wrong place or at the wrong time. With a well designed RFID system you know all the intimate details of where everything is, where it’s been and where it needs to go. By making your systems smarter, you will be able to:

  • Realize huge improvements in asset and inventory visibility
  • Resolve problems right when they occur
  • Reduce capital and operations expenses
  • Increase flexibility of your data collection systems
  • Achieve new levels of productivity

RFID automated processes rely on the accuracy of reading the right tags: those that pass through a portal, are on a forklift, or are passing by a checkpoint on a conveyor. Because an RFID reader indiscriminately reads all of the tags that it activates, the presence of stray tags, such as those that pass through a nearby portal or are stationary on nearby racks or pallets, complicates the identification of the true tags of interest versus those that are not part of the process in action.

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E-Citation Printing

Posted March 26, 2012

Industry Need

With increasing pressure on budgets, police and municipal operations are driven to increase productivity and revenues; citation programs pose a common target due to the high-touch environment. Adoption of e-citation among public safety agencies is rapidly increasing due to a quick ROI driven by increased accuracy, legibility (yielding decreased dismissals) and reduced or eliminated manual data entry. However, the ticketing environment has significant performance challenges. Hardware components such as computers or printers as well as citation media must often operate in punishing environments.

The two common E-citation applications have significantly different media requirements.

For parking and local ordinance violations, the citation must endure challenging service conditions. Vehicles are commonly unoccupied, requiring the parking enforcement agent to secure the ticket to the vehicle, often under a windshield wiper. These tickets are directly exposed to rain, snow, wind, and sunlight, conditions which can rapidly degrade common materials. Quick completion is a priority for efficiency; when agents encounter owners returning to a citation in progress, rapid execution is critical.

The time required to issue a citation is also important for moving violations. Drivers commonly complain about the time consumed when being cited. Additionally, exposure to moving traffic poses a safety hazard to both parked vehicles and officers, making rapid citation processing a top priority. While print quality requirements remain high, durability needs are lower since the printed citation is delivered directly from the officer to the driver.

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Durable Printing for Lockout/Tagout

Posted March 26, 2012

Industry Need

Ensuring employee safety is a foundational focus of any world-class industrial operation. Fully functional equipment has well-documented procedures and robust safeguards in place to eliminate hazardous conditions. However, during installation and maintenance, significant additional risks such as exposed sources of electricity, mechanical force, or pneumatic/hydraulic pressure are encountered. These risks are mitigated by a well defined set of lockout/tagout policies. As a frequently cited OSHA violation in 2009, the importance of compliant and effective procedures to fully de-energize and communicate equipment status is underscored. Selecting the optimal printers and media to support lockout/tagout helps ensure success of this critical process.

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Cryogenic Sample Tracking

Posted March 26, 2012

Industry Need

Modern life sciences commonly require long term preservation of biological material; cryogenic processing and storage provides a means to this end. With a large quantity of small samples in storage, accurate tracking is critical. Barcoded labels (with linear or 2D symbols) are the preferred method, but the extreme environmental stresses can cause failure with standard media.

Cryogenic conditions have become commonplace in multiple applications, ranging from pharmaceutical processing to lyophilization of vaccines. Cryopreservation of tissues and cell suspensions in small vials provides its own set of challenges, requiring conformability to small diameter surfaces and adhesion to low surface energy plastics such as polypropylene and polyethylene. Increasingly common cryogenic shipping of vaccines, tissues, and medicines in liquid nitrogen with temperatures as low as -112°F /-80°C now subjects a greater range of barcoded items to these stresses.

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Country of Origin Labeling Solution

Posted March 26, 2012

Application Description

In 2008, the USDA Country of Origin requirements expanded in scope. By March 31, 2009, food manufacturers and distributors need to clearly identify national origin for many products and provide corresponding recordkeeping documents with each shipment. Mishaps in this process can cost time, money, and even valued customers. Users can now streamline, error-proof, and cost reduce this process with Intermec’s Country of Origin Labeling solution.

The Challenge

Meeting the Country of Origin requirement commonly requires multiple steps: A thermal printer images the national origin information on a shipping label, meeting the identification portion of the standard. A separate printer, typically dot matrix or laser, creates the packing slip to meet recordkeeping requirements; this slip is usually folded multiple times and inserted into a packing slip sleeve. Finally, this sleeve is manually matched to the corresponding carton (introducing potential for error) and adhered for shipment.

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Block Out Labeling

Posted March 23, 2012

Industry Need

Labels are commonly used to convey important information about the products they mark. However, an important element of labeling has become more prevalent: concealing inaccurate or out-of-date information previously in place. These kinds of labels can clearly communicate changed pricing without drawing customer attention, or may enable use of re-tasked or inaccurate packaging. Intermec’s specially designed Duratran and Duratherm Block Out labels provide this important function, reducing costs and improving efficiency.

  • Retail/Price Markdowns – When retail items need to be price-adjusted or product information must be modified, relabeling with a material that obscures the original information saves time and maintains the integrity of the original packaging.
  • Pharmacy/Unit Level Dose – On prescription items, labels are commonly applied over original packaging for distribution to the customer/patient. It is often important that the original printing does not show through. For reliable retail barcode scanning, it is critical to eliminate interference from underlying codes.
  • Warehouse/Logistics – In shipping and receiving operations, labels are sometimes applied to materials that frequently go through multiple use cycles. Shipping containers arriving in a facility can be reused to send materials to another facility by applying a new label over the existing label on the container. Previous information must not be visible through the newly applied label, especially in automated handling systems where it could interfere with routing of the container or carton.

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Real-Time Asset Tracking Drives Emergency Care Goals at Washington Hospital Center

Posted March 23, 2012

Unprecedented Insight Enables More Informed Decisions and Better Patient Care

About Washington Hospital Center

Washington Hospital Center, with 926 beds, is the largest private hospital in the nation’s capital. It’s also now ranked first among all 57 hospitals in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region by U.S. News & World Report, recognized for its heart surgery, endocrine disorders, geriatrics and ear, nose and throat care. The not-for-profit hospital is a member of MedStar Health system and shares a 47-acre campus with three medical facilities in Northwest Washington, D.C.


In 1998, three years before the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon, Washington Hospital Center began proactively looking at how to improve patient care in the emergency room. To that end, the hospital secured a federal grant to evaluate how to design emergency medicine for the future.

When the Pentagon was hit, bringing all seriously injured patients to Washington Hospital Center, the event reinforced the commitment to enhancing every aspect of the emergency care experience. The center sought to answer, how does ER medicine need to evolve to address major events like Sept. 11, bombings or Metro system accidents?

Today, the initiative has grown into the ER One Center for Building Science, under the MedStar Institute for Innovation. Specifically, a think tank of physicians, nurses, architects, researchers and others consider how building design, from flooring to lighting, can influence healthcare.

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Achieve Your Federal Identification Credentialing Goals

Posted March 23, 2012

Enabling Security, Compliance, and Efficiency

Identity management and verification depend on trusted credentialing technologies. U.S. federal, state and local governments and private enterprises alike are seeking ways to improve security, not just for facility access, but also for single-sign-on into cyberspace. Furthermore, non-federal issuers of identity cards demand cost-effective, compliant methods to produce identity cards that interoperate with federal government Personal Identity Verification (PIV) and PIV-Interoperable (PIV-I) systems.

Beyond government applications, the private sector also stands to gain from secure credentialing standards and technologies. The PIV-I card is a non-federally issued credential designed for use by state and regional employees, including first responders. The PIV-I card meets all FIPS 201 standards and is recognized and trusted by the federal government. PIV-I cards can provide states, local jurisdictions, and enterprises a single, interoperable, and secure credential usable across multiple application areas. The result is a more secure infrastructure, and better services for employees, contractors, businesses, and consumers.

This white paper provides an overview of FIPS 201-compliant smart ID cards and shows the significant benefits the technology enables. The paper also shows how to produce PIV-I compliant access cards that contain tamperresistant coatings, radio frequency identification (RFID), and other features using the latest printing technologies.

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Key Considerations for Bar Coded Infant Wristbands

Posted March 23, 2012

Make the Switch from Vinyl with Confidence

Medical centers worldwide are switching to bar coded wristbands to improve the safety and quality of care while meeting industry mandates. However, nurses in maternity wards are concerned that the switch from vinyl to new materials may not be suitable for infants. Tried and tested for decades, vinyl is non-abrasive, hypoallergenic, and does not damage the delicate skin of babies and premature infants. In fact, infants are the hardest patients to create wristbands for, and few adequate solutions exist that support this need.

Fortunately, bar coded wristband solutions now offer soft nylon material that is perfect for the delicate skin of a tiny infant. Even with the right material, the information provided on the wristband must afford easy readability, and deliver the right information in the right way. Due to the small size of an infant’s wrist, little room exists on the wristband to contain all the information required for effective bar coding.

The purpose of this white paper is to provide maternity ward staff the information they need to make the right decisions when it comes to bar coded infant wristbands. Durable, supple wristbands that deliver the full benefits of bar coding make it easier for nurses to perform infant care tasks, and help eliminate workarounds. The result is improved efficiency and quality of care. Medical staff is more productive, there are fewer chances for errors, and nurses can provide more focused attention to infants in their care.

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RFID Chip-Based Serialization for Retail

Posted March 23, 2012

An alternative to IT solutions for managing item-level tagging

Item-level radio frequency identification (RFID) using standard Electronic Product Codes (EPCs) is rapidly becoming a key factor in improving retail inventory management. The main driver for adoption is quite simple—taking inventory with RFID is 25 times faster than with bar codes. RFID is faster for two reasons. First, it does not require line of sight access to the tag. Second, the person operating the reader does not have to ensure that they only scanned each tag once.

The key difference is that RFID uses radio waves to count large numbers of tags simultaneously, even if a stack of garments covers the tags or if they are inside a box. During the inventory process, readers often scan each tag several times. For this reason, accurate counts are only possible if each tag carries a unique serial number. In addition to rapid counting, serialization enables the tracking and tracing of individual items throughout the product lifecycle—an additional benefit for some product categories.

As major retailers like Walmart, J. C. Penney, and Macy’s roll out item-level RFID, brand owners must find a low-cost, reliable way to implement serialization. Because serialization is new for most apparel suppliers, it has the potential to be disruptive to existing packaging and labeling business processes. Chip-based serialization is a way to avoid disruption by IT projects, constrained supply chains, and extra serialization costs.

Serialization can be regarded as an IT problem that requires an enterprise software solution to allocate and distribute serial numbers, but it doesn’t have to be. Chip-based serialization is a non-IT alternative that preserves sourcing flexibility and uses the existing business process for tagging and ticketing. To help retailers understand serialization, this paper overviews EPC concepts for item-level RFID, reviews IT-based approaches to serialization, and introduces chip-based serialization as an attractive solution.

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