The Beginning of Re-defining Sustainability in RFID: Smartrac's WEB Green Inlays
Earlier this year, Smartrac caused a considerable stir within the market when it announced its Green Tag Program and hence the development of truly sustainable RFID products. Meanwhile, Smartrac has brought to market the WEB Green inlay, its very first “green” product and the initial outcome of a technology partnership with 4E Antenna.
While greenwashing fairly conventional RFID products may not be too difficult, producing transponders that live up to a serious sustainability promise under strict Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) scrutiny is a challenge. In its Green Tag Program, Smartrac defined demanding criteria for its so called Green Tags, e.g. the use of plastic-free, recyclable paper as the substrate, minimal use of adhesives, and the avoidance of chemical etching in the production of aluminum antennas. The latter is important since it allows the complete recycling of aluminum residues, using less material, and results, amongst other benefits, in a significant carbon footprint reduction.
Laser-cut Aluminum Antennas
In cooperation with 4E Antenna AB, a Walki Group associate company and leading producer of paper-based antennas and circuits, Smartrac can now offer WEB GREEN inlays (RAIN RFID) that come with laser-cut aluminum antennas. Available in inlay, paper label and hangtag format, these products are compliant with ‘standard’ high-quality WEB inlays and match all ARC category certifications of their conventional counterparts, underpinning WEB Green’s reliability and performance.
Adding Sustainability to Retail Applications
WEB Green inlays are designed for the unique identification of items such as apparel and electronics and are particularly suitable for item-level retail applications, offering high performance and best-in-class orientation sensitivity. As far as availability is concerned, sample production starts in June 2019, with volume manufacturing to follow soon in due course. In addition, Smartrac’s Green Tag Program is expected to grow rapidly, with further Green RAIN RFID (UHF) products already in the pipeline.
Innovative Manufacturing Approach with Positive Environmental Impact
“Specifically, the production process for 4E Antenna’s paper-based RFID antennas begins with a special laminated aluminum and paper substrate. A laser is then used to precision-cut an antenna design from the aluminum layer. By leveraging Smartrac’s proven global expertise in designing and producing premium RFID inlays and tags, the benefits of this innovative manufacturing approach will have a significantly positive environmental and economic impact worldwide,” said Lars Granbom, CEO of 4E Antenna AB.
Commitment to High-quality and Truly Sustainable RFID Products
Smartrac's technology partnership with 4E Antenna AB complements the company’s ‘Innovation first’ strategy and underscores its continuous commitment to truly sustainable RFID products and – equally importantly – to high quality. The latter commitment was recently underlined by Smartrac achieving ARC Quality Certification. “Smartrac’s innovation pipeline of “green” RF design, process engineering and materials science powered by our significant IP portfolio enables us to be on the leading edge of RFID sustainability. We will continue to make every effort to fulfill our promise to protect the environment,” said Matti Tavilampi, Director Global Product Management at Smartrac.
For further technical and shipping information on WEB Green and other upcoming Green products, please contact our Sales & Customer Service Team.