Smartrac’s Circus Flex and its non-identical twin Circus Dura are specifically designed to offer enhanced environmental resistance for demanding brand and retail applications. Sharing an IC and antenna design, Circus Dura excels in robustness through stiffness while Circus Flex excels in robustness through flexibility.
The latter’s striking feature is the protection of the IC area using a special “glop top” seal, which shields the IC and its connection to the antenna. The tag responds to customer demand for highly protected flexible tags, while Circus Dura remains the optimum solution for highly protected stiff tags. Maximum stiffness and flexibility exclude each other, and with the advent of these two highly stress-resistant inlays and tags, brands and retailers can choose what best suits their needs.
Companies across a great variety of industries, such as industrial and automotive applications, have a need to tag metallic parts, tools, machines, equipment or even metal doors and hence have a strong demand for flexible, easy-to-handle, on-metal NFC inlays for wide-ranging surfaces. Smartrac is one of the first suppliers to fully meet that demand by introducing ferrite-based NFC inlays that are flexible enough to suit roll-to-roll manufacturing processes.
Combining flexible ferrite material and performance-optimized antenna designs on metal surfaces, Smartrac’s new super-thin, ferrite-based inlays can now be produced by applying a layer of this material to the inlay, which isolates the magnetic field from the metal surface. This means that, due to their enhanced flexibility compared to conventional ferrite-based NFC tags from other manufacturers, Smartrac’s On-Metal NFC inlays and tags can now be used on a wider range of metallic surfaces – concave, convex, possibly even roughened, rugged or grainy surfaces – and read by a mobile phone app or NFC reader. In addition, converters can overprint the inlays if required.
The introduction of On-Metal NFC products to Smartrac’s portfolio opens the door to multiple applications involving metal surfaces that need to be identified or interacted with. These include asset management; product authentication; gray market detection; warranty activation; planned service and maintenance instructions; spare parts ordering; product feedback for product development, and many more. On top of that, consumer goods made from metal can now be NFC-enabled as well, resulting in potentially endless possibilities.
“By extending our NFC portfolio in response to the needs of our customers, such as brand owners and retailers, as well as industrial and automotive clients, we are not only expanding Smartrac’s position as the NFC technology and innovation leader. We are also broadening our range of customer-oriented RFID-based Internet of Things solutions by leveraging our new products’ capabilities," says Matti Tavilampi, director of RFID sensors and products, Global Product Management at Smartrac.
The ferrite layer option will be made available across a range of Smartrac HF/NFC products and will initially be offered for Circus and BullsEye antenna types equipped with NXP’s NTAG213 IC.
BullsEye On-Metal and Circus On-Metal will become available in July 2018, while Circus Flex and Circus Dura tags are available in large quantities as of now.