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Article | February 28, 1997
Retailers find security in source tagging (sidebar)
The acoustomagnetic side
The other primary supplier of electronic article surveillance technology in the U.S. is Sensormatic Electronics (Boca Raton FL). Its major users include Kmart Wal-Mart Home Depot and Food Lion. Like others Sensormatic uses three components: a source tag a deactivator and sensors. The Ultra-Strip plastic label measures 11/2" long x 1/4" wide and 47 mils thick. For packages it's available with pressure-sensitive backing for manual application at store level or automated application by manufacturer or converter. Rollstock and fan-fold varieties are available. The deactivator is mounted near the bar-code scanner at point-of-sale. Like others when the bar code is scanned the EAS label is also deactivated. Two types of deactivators are available: the contact deactivator requires direct contact and the proximity deactivator which requires that the EAS label be within 6" of the bar code. "That range will double in the very near future" says Kim Warneof Sensormatic. The third component sensor panels are placed at exit doors either in a gate form or "buried" in the floor invisible to consumers. They have a range of approximately 9'. Also Sensormatic's tags have the capability of being reactivated at the store level. Introduced in 1988 acoustomagnetic technology is a combination of electromagnetic technology and resonant technology. Tags themselves contain both materials. When exposed in a specific magnetic field (emitted by the sensor) the electromagnetic part of the tag vibrates which causes the resonant part to resonate much like a tuning fork. This sound is sent back to the system triggering the alarm. Sensormatic's original "hard tags" mostly found on apparel items began appearing in stores as far back as 1968.
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