Looking for a more efficient and scalable tagging solution, HLH engaged partners SimplyRFID, an RFID solutions company, and Confidex, an RFID label supplier. Both recommended Zebra® printers as a dramatically faster way to generate labels.
"We looked at a few different RFID printing options and, at the end of the day, everyone seemed to say that Zebra was the most durable," Dunster said.
The Zebra® R110Xi4™ RFID printer/encoder–optimized for high-volume operations–prints and encodes UHF RFID smart labels. By encoding RFID inlays that are spaced closer together (0.6"/16 mm), the R110Xi4 enables a lower cost per label, fewer media-roll changes and faster throughput than other printer/encoder manufacturers. That results in throughput of up to 100 tags per minute–considerably faster than the company's previous approach.
Additionally, the Zebra R110Xi4 has the flexibility to work with a broad range of media types. In this case, HLH uses Zebra printers with Confidex Carrier™ labels, making for a fast, durable combination that can handle growing volumes.
For each tree, HLH runs the Carrier labels through Zebra printers and affixes them on stakes. Each label has an RFID chip and a serial number that is linked with GPS coordinates in the database along with details about tree ownership, growth, maintenance, lumber-yield and pedigree. They then dip stakes in a plastic sealant that protects them from the elements.
As they plant each sapling, the 3-inch tag, encased in plastic, is inserted into the ground sticking up enough to be easily read from a distance of about 10 feet. To read tags–even with years of buildup of leaves and debris–the company uses the Convergence Systems CS101 handheld interrogator. From the CS101, data is transmitted wirelessly to the company's database.