Trimble Expands Functionality of ThingMagic RFID Readers

August 21, 2012  - By
Image: GPS World

Trimble announced the availability of a number of new capabilities for its ThingMagic Mercury 6e (M6e) embedded UHF RFID module and Mercury 6 (M6) finished UHF RFID reader. Available through a firmware upgrade, the added functionality helps users develop and deploy reliable, high-performance RFID-enabled solutions for a broad range of traditional and innovative applications. Trimble also introduced a redesign of its Universal Reader Assistant, a graphical user interface developed to simplify the use and deployment of ThingMagic RFID readers.

According to the announcement, this upgrade delivers significant enhancements including an increase in tag read rate of up to 75 percent and greater data acquisition rates with every tag read. Several application-specific features designed to read RFID tags in diverse and challenging conditions have also been introduced, including:

  • A new “fast search” tag reading mode
  • The ability to obtain up to 128 bytes of data with every tag read
  • ISO 18000-6B performance enhancements
  • Support for IDS Micro SL900A Gen2 Class 3 Sensor Tags

Driven by increased demand for RFID-enabled solutions in the transportation, supply chain, retail and healthcare markets, Trimble reports these new features offer several application specific improvements:

The ThingMagic M6e embedded module now includes a ‘fast search’ algorithm which forces tags to respond rapidly and repeatedly for optimal read performance across diverse use cases. This feature supports applications such as tolling, vehicle management and race timing where fast moving tags need to be distinguished from each other with a high degree of accuracy. Operational up to 200 kilometers per hour, ‘fast search’ supports both Gen2 and ISO 18000-6B tags.

Superior receive sensitivity, higher tag read rates, and better adaptation to changing tag populations enhance the ability of the ThingMagic M6e and M6 readers to read RFID tags in varied environments and on more items. For example, in a retail supply chain, manufacturers can track high volumes of items on densely packed pallets across multiple distribution points and retailers can inventory tagged items rapidly and with predictable accuracy. In addition, the ability to read more data from every tag supports emerging retail uses such as anti-counterfeiting, brand protection and other security-sensitive applications, without impacting the performance of tag inventory or tag encoding activities.

This upgrade also adds support for the full cool-Log command set for IDS SL900A sensor tags, addressing increased demand for temperature and state monitoring within utilities, food/cold-chain, healthcare and other markets. The IDS 900A is an EPC global Class 3 tag IC which can be operated in either semi-passive or passive mode.

“This release represents a significant step in optimizing our portfolio of high-performance embedded RFID modules and finished RFID readers for use across industries,” said Tom Grant, general manager of Trimble’s ThingMagic Division. “Superior performance and versatility continue to be primary differentiators for our products. Equally important are advancements in ease of use which are fundamental to the growth of RFID-enabled solutions and driving better business results across a growing number of connected enterprise applications.”

With a key goal of driving the barriers for deploying RFID technology as low as possible, this update improves the out-of-the-box experience for solution developers and end users of ThingMagic M6 readers. An improved Web interface includes a reorganization of configuration and management screens, new performance tuning settings, and enhanced tag data access and displays. Enhancements also include zero configuration support for automating network connectivity, Web-based device discovery and management and advanced testing capabilities.

Trimble reports that a redesign of the ThingMagic Universal Reader Assistant is also available. Supported by all ThingMagic readers, this utility is used to initialize readers and perform common tasks, including selecting application specific performance settings. With a focus on ease-of-use, this redesign meets the needs of an expanding customer base by reducing complexity for novice users while permitting low-level control for advanced users.

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