Low power tag has 2km range

October 05, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Low power tag has 2km range
Toppan in Japan has developed a tracking tag using an ultranarrowband technology that has a range of up to 2km

ZETag is battery-powered active tag that transmits its own unique ID information. It uses the Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) Zeta network protocol from ZiFiSense in cambridge, UK. This is a bidirectional Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) communication protocol with distributed access with intelligent mesh topology that uses fewer base stations than other LPWA protocols due to multi-hop communication via motes.

The logistics and shipping industries are facing significant labour shortages worldwide. 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.

To get the long life time from a button battery, the ZETag is configured for 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).

The antenna used for ZETag features a new design developed in collaboration with Staf in Japan. This provides long-range communication from 500m to 2km even if the tag is attached to metallic materials that can cause damping of radio field intensity.

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.

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. 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.”

www.toppan.com; www.zifisense.co.uk

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