Towards the 'one-cent' tag
RFID are normally made out of silicon material, which are ideal
for the job, but have a downside - the associated cost of the tags. This
means that many companies cannot afford RFID in some applications, and
are forced to use either barcoding or manual methods instead. A solution
to the cost problem may be on the horizon, however, if a company named
OrganicID has its way. It has formed a partnership with International
Paper to use organic materials to make RFID tags cheaper.
Any result of the partnership is going to take time to appear, as the
the tags are still very much in development. But both companies see an
obvious long-term potential, as the material is cheap and the printing
process is itself inherently cheap, so it should be possible to create
a very low-cost RFID tag. In operation, OrganicID would supply the circuit
design and organic materials expertise and a partner like International
Paper could the tags. It is estimated that a specialist organic printing
facility would cost under $10 million.
While it is true that silicon offers far better performance than organic
materials the company does not see this as important in the RFID world.
Tags only need to be low-performance devices, and while RFID reads off
organic materials would be slower, they would not be so slow as to be
noticeable or have a negative impact on the handling processes. But if
it works it could lead to 'one-cent' tags, at which point item-level
tracking would become possible. This, in turn, could lead to a real supply
chain revolution, which is what the company is hoping to help create.