Alien Technology Corporation has won an order from Gillette for 500 million low-cost RFID tags. This is the first major commercial order for products incorporating the electronic product code (EPC) developed by researchers and member companies at the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Alien Technology credits its patented manufacturing approach, Fluidic Self-Assembly, for allowing the integrated circuits to be cost-effectively handled and packaged into EPC tags in large volumes. Alien had previously leveraged its assembly expertise in an attempt to fabricate small flexible displays for smart cards in 2000.
EPC labels contain individual item serial numbers and other information such as manufacturing location, date codes, and other vital supply chain data. Manufacturers also expect dramatic reductions in counterfeit branded products due to the use of EPC. The tags operate in the 915 MHz range.
Philips Electronics has also announced its intention to produce low-cost chips in large numbers with a new process called I-connect.