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Books are read with RFID

Centraal Boekhuis conducts item-level RFID tagging of books, as well as of boxes and pallets.
FILED IN:  Machinery  > Labeling  > RFID
Working in the Dutch book trade for more than 135 years, Centraal Boekhuis (CB) in Culemborg, The Netherlands, bridges the gap between publishers and bookstores. During stocking at CB, each book is identified with a label printed and applied in real-time by Logopak (www.logopakcorp.com) 906 II TB labeling systems at a rate of 60 books/min. A telescoping applicator with blow-on technology accepts varying book heights of up to about 3 in. without slowing. The label contains a bar code for the sorter, pricing, and additional information for use by bookstores and customers. CB has operated its six sorter lines with Logopak labeling systems since 2003.

One of CB's most important customers is the book trade group BGN (Boek Groep Nederland), which operates 42 stores including Selexyz stores, based in Almere, The Netherlands. In 2006, BGN opened its first store utilizing RFID-based technology in the supply
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chain. Selexyz now has three RFID-enabled stores with more planned, says CB senior manager Ronald Janssen.

The RFID labels were manually applied to the books, a process that proved very labor-intensive and only feasible in a small number of Selexyz stores. It was immediately apparent that automated print-and-apply RFID labeling would ultimately need to be implemented in order to satisfy the growing number of books requiring the RFID tag. Logopak was challenged by CB to meet their requirement of accurately printing and applying a label with an EPC Class 1 Gen 2 RFID tag, at a rate of 60 books/min, inclusive of data verification. Additional specifications included password protection.

RFID tags applied in-line at 60/min

In March 2008 Logopak partnered with CB to begin testing the new Logopak 906 II TB-RFID labeling system, which has an RFID encoder from Sirit (www.sirit.com). The system test was successfully conducted in-line under full production conditions at CB at 60 books/min. The result was an achievement of 100% accuracy in printed, encoded and applied RFID labels, it was reported. Packaging World has learned that the Gen 2 tags are from Tagsys (www.tagsys.com) and use Monza™2 chips from Impinj (www.impinj.com).


The labels, the same size and format as B's nonRFID labels, measure about 3 x 1 1/2 in. After labeling, the tagged books are boxed and read in an RFID tunnel. Janssen tells PW he has seen read accuracy as high as 99%, but there have been some challenges with metal-containing products such as audio books. Janssen has set a goal of 99.4% read accuracy in the months ahead for all products and has a plan to tag all boxes of books to gain benefits internally from RFID. Bookstore personnel read the tagged books in-bound and on-shelf using hand-held RFID readers.

As a result of this successful benchmark test, Centraal Boekhuis plans full implementation of the Logopak 906 II TB-RFID labeling system into its sorter lines. The first two systems were added in June 2008 with four more to be added by mid-2009.

To listen to a Podcast of our interview with Mr. Janssen of Centraal Boekhuis, who is frank about his experiences with RFID, see RFID hits the books at Centraal Boekhuis .

To see a video of this RFID labeling application in operation, see RFID at Centraal Boekhuis.


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