RFID Converting Machinery

February 27, 2007

The creation of labels containing RFID circuitry requires sophisticated and exacting equipment. Following is an overview of several of the products available in the narrow web marketplace today from some of the industry's top manufacturers.

AB Graphic International

Omega Ti150
AB Graphic offers several products for converters involved with RFID. The Omega Ti150 RFID and EAS Converter is designed to permit radio frequency identification or electronic article surveillance inlays to be incorporated into a pre-printed and diecut self-adhesive label. The Omega Ti150 can accept rolls from almost all makes of label printing presses and gives printers new market opportunities at a relatively low investment cost. It takes the rolls of finished, pre-printed and diecut self-adhesive labels and integrates almost any type of electronic inlay in a sandwich between the label substrate and its backing paper.

The primary label is dispensed from the reel creating a finished sandwich of label, electronic inlay and backing paper. The Omega Ti150 has a maximum web width of 150mm down to a minimum of 60mm. Depending on the type of substrate and label size, maximum web speed is up to 60m/minute with applicator speeds reaching up to 1,000 labels per minute.

AB Graphic has also developed the Omega Ti140 to meet the growing market demand for incorporating brand protection and security and authentication features. The Ti140 model is a machine that will take a printed web, apply a double sided laminate and RFID inlays, slit the web in half and laminate the first half of the web to the second, thus making a product that is printed on both sides through diecut to register with an encapsulated RFID.

The Omega 1600
A third option is the Omega 1600 RFID/EAS Converter, a high performance model that takes rolls of pre-printed self-adhesive labels and integrates almost any type of electronic inlay in a sandwich between the label substrate and its backing paper. It is then diecut and rewound to finished rolls or individual pieces. The system has a 28" diameter unwind and delamination and relamination unit with a liner compensation system capable of accepting RFID, EAS and similar inlays. The lamination unit with carrier rewind configured for unwinding of RFID tags and rewinding of the static liner can also be used for standard lamination.

A second lamination unit with carrier rewind provides for over lamination of the web. Diecutting is provided through a single rotary die base that includes matrix stripping and two die positions. The second die position can be supplied to provide for sheet delivery. The line is completed by an Omega rewind module with nip roller drive, scissor slitting, cross web adjustment, and independently driven, pneumatic rewind mandrel that includes labels in, labels out selection and web advance arm for accurate placement of rewind cores.


The Schober RFID-TI is an entrance solution for the production of smart labels. It has a dual reader for HF and UHF frequencies that verifies the transponders or finished RFID labels to ensure total production monitoring. The tag/inlay inserter is a servo motor driven dispensing unit for clear and opaque EAS/transponder rolls and driven unwind and web guides to dispense inlays with precision. It uses automatic advance in case of missing EAS tags or transponders. If necessary, a set of discharge electrodes can be installed at critical points in the machine to eliminate electrostatic interference during operation.

The Schober RFID-TI
The Schober RFID-STP/BTP is a rotary web converting system for production of RFID labels, tickets and tags. The machine is designed to work with wet and dry inlays. The hotmelt-jet applicator combines with Schober's cut and place technology for the application of non-adhesive inlays with registration accuracy. The machine includes several converting stations. In addition to the laminating process, punching, perforating and cutting applications can be performed to produce a variety of products, such as self-adhesive logistic labels or baggage tags. Rewind with fine adjustment ensures consistent matrix removal.

The RFID-STP/BTP uses inline reading and verification of transponders to ensure total production monitoring. A marking device to identify defective products is available as an option. Inline numbering/personalizing as well as chip encoding is possible.


Mühlbauer offers several machines for the converter. The label converting machine CL 15000 is designed for fully automatic production of sticky RFID inlays, self-adhesive RFID labels or RFID paper tickets. The raw materials like facestock or liner as well as the RFID inlay material are processed directly from a reel.

Mühlbauer's CL 15000
The CL 15000 is a modular and flexible system. The system configuration can be adapted to the particular output requirement. Up to three layers can be processed at the same time. The system aligns and laminates the different layers together, referencing the print marks on the materials. The lamination is done with a cold laminating process. After the converting process, the RFID labels are wound again onto a reel or the RFID tickets are stacked into the output stacker.

Mühlbauer's label test line TL 15000 is designed for a fully automatic quality check of each single self-adhesive label to guarantee 100 percent output quality. The finished self-adhesive RFID labels are fed into the machine from a reel and transferred to the HF/UHF test module which determines the different read ranges of the labels. An optical print inspection system can be optionally integrated into the TL 15000.

The label insertion line IL 15000 is designed for a fully automatic insertion of RFID inlays into already finished self-adhesive labels. The labels are fed into the machine from a reel and transferred to the process module. First, each single label is lifted off the liner and an RFID inlay is inserted underneath the sticky side of the label. After this process step, the label will be put back to the liner. At the end of the line, the labels are wound again on a reel.

Mark Andy

Mark Andy has developed two options to produce RFID smart labels inline in a workflow designed by the company: basic and advanced. In the basic wet inlay insertion configuration, label facestock is printed inline flexographically, then delaminated from the release liner and routed to the Basic RFID module. A roll of inlays is mounted within the Basic RFID module and routed to the vacuum applicator and cut-off unit. The inlay liner is delaminated from the facestock and the inlay dispensed onto the back of the label with the adhesive side away from the label adhesive.

The inlay is advanced by the label applicator when a registration mark is detected. The inlay is secured to the back of the facestock with the label's adhesive. The label is left with continuous adhesive because the glue side of the inlay is still exposed. The facestock and liner webs are relaminated together. The label is diecut or converted and finished in either rolls or delivered on a conveyor.

The Tamarack P500 inlay insertion module
With the advanced dry or wet inlay insertion, label facestock is printed, then delaminated from the release liner and routed to the Advanced RFID module built into the press. A roll of inlays are unwound, fed to length and routed to a servo driven insertion module capable of cutting the inlays into individual RFID tags in precise register with the label repeat. The inlay is secured to the back of the facestock with the adhesive of the label.

If the application requires continuous adhesive, a hot melt system may be used to pattern-apply glue to the liner in register with the label.  The facestock and liner webs are relaminated and routed to the press finishing section. The label is diecut or converted and finished in either rolls or delivered on a conveyor. Several methods of inlay verification and rejection are also available.

The Tamarack P500 RFID inlay insertion system can be used on Mark Andy presses. The Tamarack system uses vacuum transfer technology to accurately place the RFID inlay into each label, tag or package. This system accepts film or pressure sensitive type inlays, plus has the advantage of inserting straps as they become available.

The Label-Aire RFID inlay insertion system also can be used. The Label-Aire uses label application technology to place the RFID inlay. This system requires that the RFID inlay be carried on a liner material.

Melzer maschinenbau

Melzer has several machines to work with RFID. For smart labels, the company offers the SL-100 and SL-400. Each work with Melzer's patented transponder selection. The SL-100 version processes transponders from a reel. The machine is equipped with a test station at the beginning of the production process and another one at the exit for controlling the finished product. Production output is up to 10,000 labels per hour on paper, PET, PP, or Tyvek.

The SL-400
For the SL-400, four separate transponder reels are required. It has four independently working test stations, at the entrance and at the exit of the production process. After diecutting the label format, the four tracks are separated by a slitter, past the trim removal station and are rewound to label reels. The machine can produce 40,000 labels per hour.

To produce smart tickets and tags, Melzer has the ST-100 (single track) and the ST-400 (four track). In contrast to the smart label machines, these produce single tickets or tags with a transponder. All transponders are tested before they enter the production process. Each machine is equipped with a male/female punch and punched out products are tested as to their function.

The ST-100 and ST-400 process materials of up to 250 µm thickness. As with the smart label machines, only pre-selected — i.e., 100 percent tested transponders — are processed.

Delta Industrial

The Predator
Delta Industrial offers the Predator RFID Converting Module to the marketplace. The company says one of the benefits of the Predator is its method of tag inspection and rejection. The first inspection system surveys and identifies defective tags. Defective tags are rejected from the system prior to placement. A second inspection system provides label inspection, reading of pre-printed bar codes and data writing of tags after the label is completed prior to label rewind. An optional printer can be added for sequential numbering of labels. Delta says the dual inspection system provides quality verification of all defective tags, which in turn leads to cost savings of purchased input materials.

According to Delta, the Predator module specifically accommodates the market's changing demands for lower product costs, tighter tolerances, increased production rates, and variability in product design. The Predator offers a modular design approach which enables customers to use it as a standalone module or in combination with any of Delta's Mod-Tech modules.

bielomatik jagenberg

bielomatik offers the T-100/165 Explorer as part of its RFID product line. The Explorer is specifically intended to prevent disruption of current conventional label manufacturing procedures while providing a simplified means to create smart labels. It allows a converter to continue using features on existing presses such as adhesive applicators and diecutters. This avoids the need to purchase additional equipment for a smart label converting machine.

bielomatik's T-100/165 Explorer
The Explorer accepts rolls of blank or pre-printed labels and rolls of pressure sensitive singulated transponders in order to produce smart labels. A label is delaminated from its liner, a pressure sensitive transponder is placed to register on the label liner and the label is then relaminated on top of the transponder/liner combination. As with all of bielomatik's RFID machines, a final test is made on each smart label prior to winding.

The company also has the Qualifier T-165, a high speed solution for smart label testing, defect removal, automatic replacement, and encoding. It tests, removes and replaces defective labels at production speeds of up to 195 fpm (60 m/min). HF and UHF inspection is performed with bielomatik's adjustable universal readers. Chip encoding can be performed after the editing process. The machine can complement any existing smart label manufacturing system.

Drilling Technical Services

The DTS RFID Model 210 System maximizes the speed of assembly of inlays/transponders in a one or two across assembly format. To attain maximum process speed, the web runs in a normal printing press fashion at continuous speed. This system includes both an inline application process and an offline testing apparatus. The tandem applicator, with the substandard transponder removal system, allows inlay placement in the tag and label products to approach zero defects.

The DTS system uses a dry format, where the adhesive is applied intermittently inline to the transponder only on the label, thus eliminating the liner and lamination cost. The process removes bad product at press speed, which minimizes any repair required during the finishing process.

RFID reader from DTS
The DTS Model 210 delaminates and transports the substrate through the RFID assembly process. Continuous and intermittent hot melt spray adhesive stations are used for various product formats. Static control and grounding systems are strategically placed throughout the process.

The DTS RFID testing module confirms the quality of the product before shipping to the customer. Depending on the quality levels desired, bad product or lot numbers can be provided by onboard inkjet. The module can be integrated into existing finishing equipment or can be provided as a complete testing and finishing system. Due to the converting assembly process, the repair and finishing processes require manpower normally associated with that used in tag and label production. Thus, the current labor-intensive RFID product repair systems are eliminated.


Worldlabel, an internet marketing division of Innotech Resources Pte Ltd, has introduced the Infinity V1 RFID tag and inlay embedding system for smart RFID label converting. The company says this new machine provides a low cost method of converting RFID tags and inlays to be embedded accurately into a paper or film label, even though each production batch has varying sized labels and requires a different type of RFID tag to be embedded in a different area of the label.

The Infinity incorporates a number of patent pending processes and techniques that Worldlabel says provides the highest read rates in the industry. The company also says the online bad tag detection and removal system assures maximum quality, reliability and readability of the labels.

The machine is produced in Singapore and the current lead time is approximately 12 weeks. The Infinity can be modulated with current label converting lines or used stand alone. Worldlabel says setup is easy, turn around time for creating different batches of RFID labels is quick and a user friendly touch pad enables the operator to key in the metric of the length needed for accurate insertion.

Edale Ltd.

Edale offers two levels of off-line RFID inlay insertion equipment to produce labels or tickets, both using their new "plug and play", 100 percent servo driven Lambda converting and printing solution.

The Lambda RFID is the company's advanced option which features the Tamarack P500 RFID equipment. UHF, HF and EAS, and wet or dry RFID inlays can be used. Speeds up to 150 m/min are possible, depending on the verification system and finished label repeat length. Rolls of unconverted or pre-printed labelstock are unwound and then delaminated. A roll of RFID inlays is metered to the vacuum applicator. Each inlay is scanned to maintain cut-off registration, and to identify marked defective inlays which are removed before application. The inlays are cut-off and very accurately placed on the facestock.

The Lambda RFID
A hot melt transfer adhesive is applied to the liner in register to where the RFID inlay sits. The webs are relaminated and then converted through rotary die stations to create the labels. Where specified, inlays are read and verified; non-read labels are marked. The end product can either be rewound or cut to size and conveyed to a delivery table.

The Lambda RFID Entry is Edale's entry-level solution. Wet inlays are inserted in between the delaminated, unconverted or pre-printed labelstock by means of a label applicator. The Lambda RFID Entry has the possibility of being upgraded to incorporate the Tamarack equipment or, like all Lambdas, is completely adaptable to alternative applications. Both solutions produce very minimal waste and offer quick job changes.