Manufacturing News

RFID orders surge

US research company, IDTechEx has reported a surge in orders of radio frequency identification technology products in 2009.

Despite the world’s largest RFID project being completed (the $US6 billion China National ID card scheme), the global RFID market will rise 5% this year to $US5.56 billion, says the company, up from $US5.25 billion in 2008.

This includes tags, readers and software/services for RFID cards, labels, fobs and all other form factors.

By far the biggest segment of this is RFID cards, and $US2.57 billion of the total $US5.56 billion is being spent on all other forms of RFID – from RFID labels to active tags.

The tagging of pallets and cases as demanded by retailers (mostly in the US) will use approximately 225 million RFID labels in 2009, but researchers see take off in retail outside mandates, such as from Marks & Spencer and American Apparel, where 200 million tags will be used on apparel in 2009.

RFID in the form of tickets used for transit will demand 350 million tags in 2009.

The tagging of animals (such as pigs and sheep) is now substantial as it becomes a legal requirement in many more territories, with 105 million tags being used for this sector in 2009.

This is happening in regions such as China and Australasia. In total, 2.35 billion tags will be sold in 2009 versus 1.97 billion in 2008.

However, the largest orders continue to be placed in the US, UK, China and Japan.

In the US, CSC and IBM landed an order for $US570 million to upgrade the UK e-passport applications and enrollment system as an example.

As well, Unisys was one of four companies selected by the US Army Program Executive Office-Enterprise Information Systems for a contract for the RFID III program. This contract has a total ceiling value of $US428 million.

Currently, RFID tags are attached to approximately 125,000 shipments of military supplies each week.

This year, the Chinese are putting RFID where it is not encountered in the West, such as on fast fishing boats to prevent collisions.

However, China is also making the world’s largest investment in installing RFID throughout its factories and supply chain in order to underpin the nation’s pre-eminence in manufacturing.

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