What if your clothes could charge your cell phone? Imagine wearing fabric made from photovoltaic textiles acting as solar panels that could charge a mobile phone. Researchers at the University of Exeter in the UK have developed a new photoelectric device that is both flexible and transparent. At...
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With this step Mühlbauer completes its long-term strategy to provide a complete turnkey solution for realizing the most flexible, fully integrated, and cost-efficient RFID factory, including antenna production, inlay assembly, label converting, and personalization, the firm said. “We believe partnering with the NovaCentrix team is in the long-term best interests of Mühlbauer and our customers for realizing the most efficient RFID antenna manufacturing – directly before attaching the chip,” noted Thomas Betz, management board member for Mühlbauer.
NovaCentrix CEO Charles Munson reported: “The first version of the reel-to-reel antenna manufacturing line, ‘APS 20000,’ will be designed to provide a capacity of 100 million antennas per year. The system consists of modules for printing, drying, photonic curing, and quality control …. The goal of this highly flexible and scalable concept is to further increase the competitive advantages of the RFID inlay and label manufacturers by enabling them to produce their antennas in house with very short reaction times and to achieve further cost reduction by a significantly improved cost of ownership, especially for antennas on paper substrates.”
Offering an option to RFID is Colorbit USA. The U.S. division of Japanese company B-Core, Colorbit was launched this year to introduce a new color-coded automatic identification to the North American and European markets. The technology enables users to track goods or assets via a printed or painted color code captured by a digital camera. Users can track inventory or assets via unique colored patterns as an alternative to serialized bar codes or radio-frequency identification.
The system consists of B-Core’s software that provides a series of unique colored cells representing a serial number. A user would print each pattern on a label that is then attached to an item, or paint that pattern directly onto that object. The code could also be generated using tri-color light-emitting diodes (LEDs) installed on the asset. When a digital camera in a mobile phone or tablet PC, or a fixed camera, captures the image of a Colorbit scheme, the software determines its serial number, thereby identifying the goods.
The technology offers a lower-cost alternative to RFID, according to Chris Anderson, Colorbit USA’s managing partner, because it does not require readers, or even tags, since users can print a Colorbit label themselves on any color printer. It does require a clear line of sight, however, so the labels or painted Colorbit codes must be facing the camera. The pattern of colors could be printed in a variety of form factors, including a spiral, making them more attractive to product designers. In addition, they need not be scanned individually—a single photograph containing multiple printed labels will capture all of them.
Futuristic Learning at the PRINT 13 Show
The Future Print Pavilion at the quadrennial PRINT 13 show in Chicago (September 8-12, www.print2013.com) will showcase resources and expertise to guide graphic communications professionals into the future, said show manager the Graphic Arts Show Co. (GASC). Among the hottest new and emerging print technologies featured are RFID, printed electronics, and 3D printing. (See also www.myprintresource.com/article/10941568.)
Featured on the show floor inside the pavilion, which is sponsored by FlexTech Alliance, will be the “Experiential Lab” where attendees can get up close and personal to examine and learn more about key emerging technologies. In addition, there will be a specialized Future Print seminar track. Among the educational offerings are:
- “The Future of Print” by industry guru Frank Romano
- “Printed Electronics/Functional Imaging: Advanced Workflow and Printing Techniques” by Cal Poly's Colleen Twomey
- “Printed Electronics: How to Implement Your Next Profit Opportunity” by Cal Poly's Xiaoying Rong
- “3D Printing for the Commercial Printer” by Julie Shaffer of Printing Industries of America
- “21st Century Print Technologies Explored” by media consultant Steven Schnoll.
“Printing technologies and opportunities are always changing and expanding,” said GASC president Ralph Nappi. “Today’s graphic communications professionals use technologies that were unheard of 10 or 20 years ago. Attendees at PRINT 13 will be able to explore new and emerging technologies that one day will be seen as routine profit centers.”