Tagging the Untaggable with RFID-enabled Cable Ties

SMARTRAC has solved the problem of RFID-tagging products and parts that won’t accept a conventional tag, using an innovative and easily deployed new product called RATCH TAG.


If embedding RFID tags into parts or products isn’t feasible, and conventionally attaching them isn’t safe or robust enough, SMARTRAC now has the solution: its new RATCH TAG. These innovative, RFID-enabled cable ties are ideal for the tagging and asset control of critical equipment in applications such as lifting, automotive wiring and supply chain, off-shore operations or entertainment and stage rigging, to name just a few.

There have been RFID-enabled cable ties on the market for some time – but they usually feature some kind of compromise. That’s because they use existing tags or inlays that are somehow fixed to the cable tie. This approach was not sufficient for the RFID and IoT pacesetter, so SMARTRAC has just introduced the industry’s first RFID-enabled cable ties with fully integrated RFID tags to the market, outperforming their non-integrated counterparts in compactness and robustness, hence flexible deployment. The latter is further boosted by RATCH TAG’s availability for use with both HF and UHF frequency bands.


Superior Material and Construction

The RFID component is securely concealed on the inside surface of the outer tag housing. This ensures that the RFID component is not only bonded in to the housing, but that it is mechanically retained within a Nylon material engineered for extreme durability and strength. The high-quality crystalline polyamide material supports the product’s use in some of the most demanding of industrial environments, while the high-quality, single-use ratchet mechanism helps to prevent easy removal and decreases the risk of unseen tampering. The combination of these features makes SMARTRAC’s RATCH TAG a perfect fit for today’s industrial environment, where the rapid, secure and durable identification of parts or subassemblies is required.


Fully Integrated RFID is Key to Tamper Detection and Other Challenging Applications

The complete integration of the transponder units into the cable ties is the prerequisite for providing tamper evidence, hence fraud protection. By wrapping or threading RATCH TAG to wire harnesses or cable assemblies at defined stages of manufacturing, construction processes or during planned inspections, any subsequent manipulation can easily be detected using RFID readers.


This is an interesting feature for many application environments. Besides those initially mentioned – lifting operation safety, off-shore construction work, automotive wiring and supply chain, entertainment and stage rigging – these environments also include audit and inspection work in many areas, medical equipment and test-tube tracking, safety harness and lifejacket audit and control*, or industrial subassembly tracking. Today, the latter use case may mainly apply to safety-critical areas such as aerospace or shipbuilding, but is set to gain in importance as the industrial Internet of Things (aka Industry 4.0) evolves.


SMARTRAC Technology Packaged in a Smart Way

Equipped with ICs from leading manufacturers, RATCH TAG cable ties are available in high volumes for HF and UHF (RAIN RFID) frequency bands, ensuring best-in-class performance on different materials. An NFC-compatible version is currently also under development. In both bands, a focused and short read range ensures single-tag detection and effectively eliminates multiple tag reads. That feature makes the new tag perfectly suited to high-value audit trail and safety-critical inspections. Currently available in black or highly visible yellow, RATCH TAG comes in a 195mm x 4.6 mm format with a maximum width of 8.5 mm for the RFID element – dimensions that make them the smallest RFID-enabled cable ties on the market. RATCH TAGS comply with either ISO 15693 (HF) or ISO 18000 6c (UHF/RAIN RFID) standards.


For further information about our RATCH TAGS, please download the product datasheet or contact our sales & customer service team.

*Lifting safety levels in climbing as well

Closely related to safety harness and lifejacket audit and control is RATCH TAG’s application in climbing. While mountaineers and rock-climbers presumably don’t need RFID-enabled cable ties, operators and inspectors of high-rope courses or rock-climbing centers are one major target group, since the product can be used to facilitate safety harness audit and control.

Did you know…

…that cable ties were first invented by a gentleman called Maurus C. Logan, who worked for Thomas & Betts, an electrical company, which marketed the small but truly groundbreaking invention under the brand name Ty-Rap in 1958. Initially, Logan designed his Ty-Raps for airplane wire harnesses.
(Source: Wikipedia)