Readers must be able to scan 100 tags per second
By Dennis Sullivan
The pool of vendors doing business with the military just got larger with some of the biggest names in the RFID industry trying to capture a share of the estimated $200 million government contracting market.
Last month, nine companies won approval from the U.S. Army Contracting Agency and were awarded Blanket Purchase Agreements to sell to the military RFID Class 0 and Class 1 fixed and transportable readers that can also be upgraded to comply with the Gen 2 standards. It’s the second of five groups of RFID sales awards. The first awards group only won approval to sell 96-bit Class 1 passive tags. The three other awards groups, which have not been announced yet, include sales of 96-bit Class 1 printers, engineering services and Class 0 and Class hand-held readers. The other group announcements are expected soon.
The BPAs allow vendors to sell RFID equipment to the Department of Defense without having to go through the process of bidding for each job. Those that won approval to sell readers are: Alien Technologies Corp., CDO Technologies Inc., Intermec, ADT Security Services, Cheval Rouge, Sys-Tec Corp., RSI ID Technologies, WFI Government Services and Intecs International Inc.
The agreements are expected to result in the sale of at least 700 fixed RFID readers from multiple vendors over the next year. DoD will soon require all of its suppliers to place RFID tags on all cases and pallets.
“The Department of Defense has enormous warehouses with a total of tens of thousands of dock doors, and eventually every one of those doors is going to need a fixed RFID reader,” says Cliff Horowitz, chairman, CEO and president of Samsys Technologies Inc., which supplies readers to resellers WFI Government Services and CDO Technologies.
Vendors are required to meet some very interesting requirements. The equipment must be able to operate in extremely harsh conditions from the desert to the Arctic and in temperatures ranging from -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The readers must also read at least 100 tags per second.
DoD seeks comments on proposed regulations
The Department of Defense (DoD) recently released a proposed Defense Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) amendment regarding passive RFID tagging requirements for its suppliers. The proposed amendment would require DoD contractors to affix passive RFID tags at the case and palletized unit load levels when shipping packaged operational rations, clothing, individual equipment, tools, personal demand items, such as non-military sales items, or weapon system repair parts to the Defense Logistic Agency distribution centers in Susquehanna, Pa., and San Joaquin, Calif. The deadline for submitting comments is June 27, 2005.
This article originally appeared in the June 2005 issue of RFID Operations.