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NXP tags help to authenticate parts in equipment like printers, vacuums and water purifiers

 NXP and austriamicrosystems have developed the first in a range of RFID-based solutions for product authentication in embedded consumer applications such as printers and water purifiers that frequently require replacement parts. Through the use of RFID, manufacturers can track the use of non-certified replacement parts like ink cartridges, possibly leading to the voiding of product warranties.

Chris Feige, NXP’s general manager for tagging and authentication, says that brand owners now have one-stop-shopping ability for embedding RFID systems into consumer products, even in cases of very demanding requirements on cost, performance and physical space. “Such RFID-enabled authentication of consumable products leads to revenue, brand and end-user protection,” he says.

The solution targets applications where authentication of consumables plays an important role, such as ensuring product quality and consumer safety for items such as vacuum cleaner bags, water filters, and beverage concentrates. By utilizing RFID technology, equipment manufacturers can warn users about health risks and the threat of product malfunction when non-authentic parts are used. In cases when an end user ignores warnings and willingly utilizes unauthorized consumables, the equipment manufacturer would have the option to void equipment’s warranty.

Besides low power and low complexity, the authentication systems require very low external code load, meaning it is easy to use a host controller or a low-end microcontroller. NXP’s G2iL and G2iL+ products — in addition to offering password protected features, privacy commands and anti-tampering functions — also offer high chip sensitivity which leads to high read reliability even with extremely small tags. And with austriamicrosystems’ reference designs for Ultra Low Cost EPC Gen 2 compliant UHF RFID reader systems with lowest reader BOM, applications that have previously been out of reach due to cost restraints now become addressable.

“The cost versus performance considerations for embedded applications in consumer products mean that we are the only real choice on the market at the moment,” said Kambiz Dawoodi General Manager Consumer & Communications, austriamicrosystems. “This collaboration with NXP means we now can also provide a solution with the most competitive tag silicon on the market.”

The solution is on display at the RFID/USN Korea 2010 being held this week. 

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