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Toppan Develops ZETag® Active Tag for Long-Range Communication

Press release from the issuing company

The ZETa® lineup. From left, Standard ZETag®, ZETag® with RFID, Ultra Thin ZETag®, ZETag® with GPS. © TOPPAN INC.

Pilot testing kits combine tags and management platform that support increased efficiency for logistics equipment management with the ability to detect tags at distances of approximately two kilometers.

Tokyo – Toppan, a global leader in communication, security, packaging, décor materials, and electronics solutions, has developed ZETag®, a new active tag for logistics management that is capable of communication over distances of up to approximately two kilometers. Toppan has also created ZETagDRIVE™, a cloud-based platform that can manage the location information of more than a million ZETags. Pilot testing kits combining ZETag, ZETagDRIVE, and communication base stations will be available from October this year.

The logistics and shipping industries in Japan are facing a labor shortage due to the difficulty of securing personnel in a tight labor market impacted by a shrinking working-age population and declining birthrates. Expanded at-home consumption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is also driving up e-commerce demand and the volume of goods being transported. With the ZETag active tag and ZETagDRIVE management platform, Toppan aims to support enhanced efficiency for logistics through automated management and visualization of the location of equipment, such as pallets and cage trolleys, to alleviate management workload and better facilitate cargo handling operations.

ZETag is a battery-powered active tag that transmits its own unique ID information. It uses the Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) ZETA1 network protocol and is capable of long-range communication with base stations over distances between 500 meters and two kilometers (with some variation depending on communication environment and usage conditions). This enables automated management of the location of pallets, cage trolleys, and other items used outdoors and in large warehouses while eliminating the need to use the type of readers required for conventional passive RFID tags or to pass tagged items through gates equipped with antennae.

The antenna used for ZETag features a new design developed in collaboration with Staf Corporation. It ensures that long-range communication is possible even if the tag is attached to metallic materials that can cause damping of radio field intensity.

ZETag is powered by a button battery. One of the intrinsic advantages of the ZETA protocol is bidirectional communication. ZETag, however, is configured to enable only unidirectional communication from tags to the base station, and radio field intensity for transmission is set at 10 mW. This means power consumption can be reduced significantly, enabling communication in excess of 30,000 times (when using a 620 mAh battery).

ZETagDRIVE is a cloud-based platform for collecting, recording, and managing information from ZETags detected by the base station. Conscious of logistics scenarios in which tens or hundreds of thousands of items need to be managed simultaneously, ZETagDRIVE employs a distributed architecture to support large-scale access to more than one million ZETags at the same time.

“ZETag and ZETagDRIVE combine to be a compelling solution to streamline and provide more visibility for large-scale item management operations,” said Shintaro Moroi, general manager in the Business Architecture Center of Toppan’s DX Design Division. “We will leverage ZETag to address challenges facing society and drive digital transformation in logistics.”

ZETag and ZETagDRIVE will be on show in the Toppan booth (A-51, South Hall 3, 4) at the Auto-ID & Communication Expo at Tokyo Big Sight from October 6 to 8. They will also be presented as part of TOPPAN Auto-ID 2021 Autumn, an online exhibition running from October 11 through November 10.
 

1. ZETA is the latest LPWA network protocol designed for the IoT. It has been developed by ZiFiSense (http://www.zifisense.co.uk/index.html) and features Ultra Narrow Band (UNB), distributed access with intelligent mesh topology and bi-directional communication. As an LPWA protocol, ZETA is receiving attention for its ability to be operated at a lower cost and with fewer base stations than other LPWA protocols due to multi-hop communication via motes.

About Auto-ID & Communication Expo

Dates: October 6 to 8, 2021
Times:?10:00 to 17:00
Venue: Tokyo Big Sight, South Hall 3, 4
Organizer: Japan Automatic Identification Systems Association?
https://www.autoid-expo.com/tokyo/en/ 

About TOPPAN Auto-ID 2021 Autumn

Dates: October 11 to November 10, 2021
Organizer: Business Promotion Center, DX Design Division, Toppan Inc.
Language: Japanese
Access https://exh.t-norte.com/shoudan/autoid-onlinetwo* on a PC or smartphone to participate.
*Uses Toppan’s online business conferencing platform NORTE Exh.

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