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TECHNOLOGY'S EDGE

February 2010
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RFID Inventory Management System

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Uptown Cycles, an independent retailer of high-performance cycling equipment, has deployed an RFID-enabled inventory management system from UPM Raflatac, Freedom Shopping, and Zebra Technologies at its store here. The FLiP system, designed by Freedom Shopping, integrates into Uptown Cycles' point-of-sale (POS) system, enabling the merchant to harness the power of item-level RFID tagging for electronic article surveillance (EAS) in order to increase inventory accuracy, reduce out-of-stocks, enhance customer experience, and improve store security.

The FLiP system includes fixed and handheld RFID scanners, a software bridge that syncs the RFID tag database with the POS system, a self-service payment kiosk, and an RFID-powered intelligent EAS system. To tag existing inventory or receive new shipments, employees use RFID handhelds to scan product bar codes; the system identifies goods in the POS system, queries for item quantities, and wirelessly sends information to a Zebra Technologies' RZ400 printer. The printer generates a master sales tag, which includes an item description, bar code, and encoded RFID tag.

Merchandise, including bicycles, apparel, safety gear, and food, is tagged with UPM Raflatac Web and ShortDipole UHF RFID tags. Item-level RFID streamlines the checkout process, enabling customers to use the self-service kiosk to check out independently or have a clerk scan all goods for payment simultaneously. The tag data from purchased items is flagged in the system during the payment process, eliminating false alarms associated with non-intelligent EAS systems. As a consequence, employees are able to instantly identify and prevent real instances of pending theft.

"The RFID system designed by Freedom Shopping, UPM Raflatac, and Zebra Technologies helped Uptown Cycles improve operational and customer-facing processes, while reducing shrinkage and theft," says Chris Sheehan, co-owner and manager, Uptown Cycles. "We are using RFID data to remove cost and waste from our processes, which is translating to higher productivity and increased revenue for our store."

IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA Award Winners

SAN JOSE, Calif.—IDTechEx's Printed Electronics USA conference held in December grew by almost 25 percent compared to 2008, with more than 850 attendees from 28 countries. One of the highlights of the event is the annual IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA Awards ceremony, aimed at recognizing outstanding achievement in the emerging fields of printed electronics.

The 2009 award winners are:

• Best Technical Development Materials Award—Hitachi Chemical, Japan, won this award for development of an inkjet printable low sintering temperature copper ink.

 

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