Forensics Lab Piloting RFID System for Automated Supply Tracking

To make the management of its equipment and evidence automatic, HFSC is piloting an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) radio frequency identification system, initially to track lab equipment and supplies. In the long run, the same technology will automatically track and manage the locations of firearms, biological evidence and evidence collected at crime scenes. JPL RFID, a software and hardware integration company, provided the tags and readers, as well as its own software and database to manage the data, says Jason Pitcock, JPL’s president.

With the use of RFID technology, the lab was able to create a single storage room for all of its lab supplies, with an RFID reader installed at the doorway and tags on each piece of equipment and every box of supplies

The badge’s unique ID number is linked to the user’s identity in the lab’s software. As a worker enters the storage area, that person’s tag ID is captured, and as he or she leaves with a piece of equipment, the item’s ID is captured along with the badge ID, in order to identify what was taken. In that way, the software has an up-to-date record of what is in the storage room and what needs to be replenished at any given time. HFSC uses a kanban method to identify low supply levels and place reorders.

To conduct periodic inventory counts, staff members carry a Convergence Systems Ltd. (CSL) CS108 ( handheld RFID sled reader through the storage area to reconcile what is in the system with what is actually on the shelf. While those counts took hours to complete when performed manually, they can be accomplished within a matter of seconds with the RFID reader. For the RFID handheld reader, says Jerry Garrett, CSL’s managing director, “We are using the same composite antenna material that we used in the powerful CS101 handheld reader. This antenna provides the key element for the CS108 to achieve an 18- meter reader range—the longest read range in the industry for a handheld. More power means a high reliability in data capture.”

The next phase will include tracking firearm and toxicology evidence. When it comes to firearms, without an RFID system in place, the lab sends two workers to count all guns periodically—a process that takes two days to complete. Now, the lab will apply RFID tags to each gun, thereby reducing that inventory count and enabling Geiger counter functionality. All guns are expected to be tagged by the end of this month. In that way, guns can be accounted for in inventory counts, and individual guns can be easily located when needed.

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CSL Family of RFID Antennas Are in Demand

As more industries continue to take advantage of the benefits of RFID, the technology is finding its way into a growing number of diverse applications. In order to accommodate the best fist, performance and price for each individual application, CSL offers a variety of UHF RFID antennas



    • ŸFor applications where the tag orientation and reading direction is known and controllable, CSL offers linear polarized UHF RFID antennas suited for both long-range and near-field operation.


    • Ÿs_142632865487CSL’s ultra-thin UHF RFID antennas offer an extremely thin form factor (6mm) for applications with limited space for antenna mounting, such as retail display cabinets and conveyor belts. This antenna is perfect for use anywhere a thin form factor is needed, such as the retail store, document control and the production line.


    • s_039038465118The CSL square near-field antenna is ideally suited for item-level tagging. Near-field technology enables items rich in water content to be tagged, including food and pharmaceutical products. With a versatile design and exceptional read rate, this square antenna can be mounted in various configurations in a range of environments, from the point of sale counter or factory production line, to a distribution center or hospital.


    • s_028030988394ŸCSL’s product offering of UHF RFID antennas also includes access control antennas to trigger operation of an electric door lock or barrister arm, offering LED lights and a buzzer for visual and audio alerts.


Whether you are deploying RFID for Cold Chain Logistics, Access Control, Retail Management, Warehouse Management, Asset Tracking or Healthcare, you can rest assured that CSL offers the right antenna for the best read performance for your application. Contact CSL to learn more.

Best of Both Worlds with Hybrid RTLS

To capture the benefits of real-time location technology while overcoming traditional disadvantages, Convergence Systems Limited (CSL) offers a hybrid RTLS system that uses both passive UHF tags and active RFID technology. With CSL’s hybrid RTLS solution, assets can be tracked, located and monitored with ease and accuracy, using a system that is affordable and easy to maintain.

In the hybrid RTLS system, assets are tagged with passive UHF tags that cost less than $0.10 each, greatly reducing the cost to implement the system. RFID Fixed Readers (known as “anchors”) are positioned at the perimeter of the area to be monitored and connected to the Ethernet. In the middle of the area, omni-directional Fixed Readers (termed “slaves”) provide ubiquitous coverage. Each coverage area is known as a “cell”, and multiple cells are possible


Example of CSL RTLS system with various beamwidth anchors

Next, UHF RFID Handheld Readers are coupled with a RTLS signal to send asset positioning information to the RTLS Fixed Readers, which then transmit that information to the company network.

When a worker is seeking a specific tagged asset, the system provides the last known location for a starting point. Using the RFID Handheld Reader, the worker scans the tracking area and picks up the tag at approximately seven meters away.

The Handheld Reader emits an audio signal, much like a “Geiger counter”, to locate the tagged asset. As they walk toward the item, the beeping frequency increases. If the worker walks away from it, the beeping frequency will decrease.


The combination of active RFID technology and passive tags provides the best of both worlds – complete real-time visibility for accurate tracking in a cost-effective solution. Staying connected to yard operations in real-time provides up-to-the-minute information and complete visibility, enabling intelligent work processes that allow you to optimize yard operations and improve the flow of goods in and out.

2015 RFID Journal LIVE in San Diego

unnamedConvergence Systems Limited wants to thank all our partners and customers for stopping by our booth at RFID Journal LIVE last week. CSL featured the ruggedized CS208-3G for high performance and 3G connectivity as well as our portfolio of UHF RFID tags, readers and antennas. Visitors were happy to find stationary reader solutions from 4 to 16 ports at the right price and performance to enable automatic inventory management and people tracking.   We were also pleased to see many inquiries regarding our Time-of-Arrival based RTLS solutions.

Top 10 Applications of RFID in Manufacturing

As RFID technology continues to advance, new solutions are constantly being developed to enable the benefits of improved efficiency and productivity across a range of industries. Manufacturing was one of the first industries to explore the capabilities of RFID more than two decades ago, and yet applications in this sector are still progressing all the time.

Continue reading “Top 10 Applications of RFID in Manufacturing”

RFID Journal LIVE 2014 Show Report

RFID Child Tracking on School Bus CSL just returned from a very successful RFID Journal show in Orlando, Florida. Joining CSL this year was Roc Lastinger, one of our new VARs that has been providing projects for healthcare and cold chain transportation. There was close to 3,000 attendees and we received some high quality sales leads for the new products as well as additional requests from companies want to become a CSL VARs. A large percentage of the visitors were international.

We also introduced a change in our company focus from just being a hardware provider to a solution provider. As an example, the back drop of our booth depicted a use case for child security by tracking them on school busses with the new CS208-3G Intelligent Integrated RFID Reader with GPS and CSL’s Dual Mode BAP ID card for the child ID card.

We were a finalist for the best show demo award with our live demonstration of the CS208-3G communicating RFID tag data via SMS to a mobile phone. In addition, we showed a demonstration of our new CS8304 ColdChain Data Logging Tag communicating with our CS101 handheld reader. Click here for a copy of the CS8304 Datasheet.

Next year the show will be in San Diego, California on April 15-17, 2015. We plan to continue to innovate our product line and develop solutions further for the key RFID solution categories.

Big Wheels Keep on Rolling with the CS101 RFID Handheld Reader

A significant element of any successful logistics operation is safety. When vehicles hit the road, the last thing you want is a break-down or a tire blowout. Fortunately, Americas Technologies Solutions Corp (ATS) has developed an EPC Class 1 Gen 2 RFID tire tag that enables quick and easy monitoring of tire condition.

Designed to be embedded in the tire mold prior to manufacturing, the tag survives the high-temperature tire curing process, and is robust enough to remain operational throughout the lifetime of the tire.

Brazilian tire manufacturer Tipler offers a high-performance line of tires incorporating this embedded RFID technology, allowing unique identification of each tire. This enables efficient tracking as part of fleet management, as well as automation of data collection to monitor such information as tire life and mileage.

Strong as Steel

Tipler-CSLThe ATS RFID tire tag provides maximum read range to allow reliable reading of even the inner tires on a tandem axle. However, due to the high-performance construction of steel belted tires with the embedded RFID technology, it’s important to choose a powerful RFID reader to accurately scan the RFID tire tags.

For this reason, ATS and Tipler have selected the CS101 RFID Reader from Convergence Systems Limited (CSL) to use in conjunction with the RFID tire tags. In fact, the CS101 Handheld Reader is the only RFID reader to date that has demonstrated the ability to reliably read the embedded RFID tags through steel belted tires.

The CS101 offers the longest read range, highest read rate and highest read yield among available UHF RFID handheld readers. With a ruggedized design, Wi-Fi capability, full Qwerty keypad and touch screen, the CS101 delivers versatility and reliability at an affordable cost, enabling fixed reader class performance in a portable device.

How Does EPC Work, And Why Should You Care?


EPC is short for Electronic Product Code. Its standards are created and run by EPCGlobal, made up of the same people who created the Barcode standards. In fact, an EPC works a lot like a barcode, but is much more powerful.

An EPC is a number used to uniquely identify a specific product. Unlike with barcodes, two identical products sitting one behind the other on a store shelf can have two unique numbers. In other words, if a company manufactures 1,000 bottles of the same exact shampoo, for example, every bottle would have a different EPC number. These numbers can be associated with lots of different, specific information, such as when and where it was manufactured, and what store it’s headed to.


An EPC is stored on a microchip that is attached to an antenna. The chip and antenna sit on a tag; more specifically, an RFID tag. The tag itself doesn’t hold any power, and the EPC doesn’t hold any information other than the unique number/letter combination. Because EPC tags are usually small, their antennas aren’t that strong. So an EPC will not transmit to an RFID reader until it is less than about 10 feed away.

When an RFID reader goes to read the tag, it sends just enough power to the tag to tell it to send the EPC number back to the reader. Once the reader receives that EPC number, it transfers that number to a computer or server that holds all the information about all of its EPC tags. This is where the information about the EPC-tagged item is stored, not on the tag itself. This helps tremendously with keeping an item’s information secure and safe.


EPC provides numerous benefits for both the consumer and for businesses. For businesses, EPC can help improve its supply chain visibility and efficiency. For the customer, this means better product availability, better quality assurance (help with monitoring the freshness of expiring food, for example), and speedier service (faster checkout, faster product returns). By providing better tracking possibilities, it can also help shield both manufacturers and consumers from fake merchandise and help with product recalls.

And finally, in a world where A) customers want that thing they want now, and B) businesses don’t want to sit on inventory, EPC allows retailers to more accurately keep track of their inventory, allowing them to more efficiently reorder products. It also helps them to always have what products their consumers want in stock.

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Intro to the CS101 Temperature Tag App

The CS101 is capable of reading Temperature Sensor Tags (part #CS8300-2), which send information about what the temperature is in/around the tag. After installing the CSL Temp Tag App on the CS101, you can enable this capability and read these tags. Here is a quick introduction to this application:
At first when you start up the application, no tags will be shown.

Temperature App Select

You can find nearby tags by clicking on the ‘Start’ button, or you can look for a specific tag by clicking on the ‘Find’ button. Once you’ve clicked on the ‘Start’ button, for example, all nearby Temperature Sensor Tags will be shown, as you see here:

Temperature App Select 2

To change certain settings in the tag such as the temperature threshold, click on the Configure tab, where you will be provided with the following options:

Temperature App Configure

You may also associate the tag with certain assets, using the Associate tab:



You may notice when you first scan for Temperature Sensor Tags, that under the temperature column, they are turned “OFF.” This is the default state, to save the battery in the tag. Once you are ready to turn it on and use it, you can do this in the Commission tab:

Temperature App Commission

Just click on the tag to highlight it, then click on the ‘Tag Commissioning’ button. This will turn the tag on. You can see this by going back to the Select tab. When you first go back to the Select tab, you will see nothing, and will need to click on the ‘Start’ button again to find the tag. Once found, you should now see the tag telling you what temperature it is at:

Temperature App Select

At this point, you cannot change any configuration settings. To change them, or to save the battery when the tag is not in use, you will need to turn the tag off. Just click on the tag, then go to the Configure tab, which now looks like this:

Temperature App Configure

To turn the tag off, click on the ‘Disable Monitoring’ button. When you’re ready to exit the application, just click on the Exit tab in the upper right corner.