Japanese company AsReader has recently released several new products that provide radio frequency identification (RFID) reading capabilities for locations with limited reading environments. One of the Paddle-Type RFID readers (ASR-P252B) enables users to interrogate tags on high racks or loading pallets, which are notoriously difficult to read. In addition, the company released two pocket-sized readers that can be mounted on a desk or wall for mobile or temporary RFID reading applications.

rfid readers

AsReader says launching new products is part of its mission, but the ultimate goal is to introduce RFID technology into broader environments where traditional RFID readers may not be able to capture a product’s tag.

Already in use in Japan, the Paddle-Type reader is now available in the U.S. and will follow in Europe in June, according to AsReader chief operating officer Paul Whitney. The company will be presenting its products at RFID Journal LIVE! The reader can be used in the retail and medical industries, as well as in warehouses or yards where goods may be stacked or hard to reach, whether they are on pallets or racks, or in the back of a truck, without interference.

The device consists of a reader module and an antenna array, about the size of a slender table tennis paddle, and includes a built-in 2D/1D barcode scanner. It’s designed to attach to a pole or extension arm, and comes with two receivers: a quarter-inch-diameter attachment at the bottom, and another in the center of the reader.

So users can use an extension pole of their choice, reach up to 20 to 30 feet, and then transmit the read or scan data to a separate iOS or android-based device via a Bluetooth connection. Of course it can also be hardwired via USB.

The device offers a maximum read range of approximately 6 meters (19.7 feet), about half the read distance of AsReader’s ASR-L251G gun-style device. Whitney reports that the shorter range was part of the design, as opposed to the Gun-Type’s linear design. It uses a smaller circular antenna, while comparing the antennas in both products to a light bulb and a spotlight.

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Extended Reading Range with Brooms and Forklifts

With its new product, AsReader hopes to give businesses the ability to read tags in places that would normally be out of reach, including those on pallets that are packed tightly together, piled up and out of reach when someone is standing on the floor. For loaded pallets, customers are using paddle-type devices to slide under pallets in dedicated forklift-only spaces to read tags from underneath, AsReader said.

reading tag

Whitney said the Paddle Type reader is designed to help users who have a lot of metal on their pallets that is blocking radio frequency transmission. Another use case this product was designed for is reading metal objects stacked on the back of a truck. Such applications can include steel pipes used in construction, which are often stacked 30 feet high in the rear of a vehicle or inside a trailer.

For many businesses introducing RFID into their logistics or operations, the tags may not be read on the truck, even though they are applied to the pipeline and can be read on the ground. That’s important, Whitney noted, because companies use the technology to identify items when an order leaves or arrives at the site. For example, there may be 10 pipes on a vehicle, but the employee with the reader may only capture 7 tag reads, and the company does not want workers climbing up to read these tags for reasons of efficiency and safety.

Reading Untouchable Tags in Japan

With the popularity of RFID, some companies are using their ingenuity to complete tag reading in hard-to-reach places. Whitney has seen operators tape readers to long broom handles or window poles, or to other extenders that extend workers’ reach. In other cases, workers have been elevated on a forklift with handheld readers to capture tags, an unsafe practice that paddle readers will put an end to.

rfid reader

Companies deploying card readers in Japan typically have workers hold the readers under pallets or stick them up into the sky above warehouse ceilings, where pallets can be stacked five or six stories high. In addition, some retailers are using the device to “loosen” merchandise on hangers (ensuring that clothes hang evenly on the hanger and can be seen by customers) and reach into deep metal cabinets.

These paddles simply need to be inserted between items to help nap the fabric while reading the tags. There are two extension pole sockets on each card reader, one on the bottom of the handle and one in the middle of the device. Users can complete 90-degree angles to turn the paddle, such as between pallets stacked high or within the reach of workers below pallets.

A Desktop RFID Reader the Size of a Credit Card

AsReader also released two versions of another device — a desktop reader not much bigger than a credit card. The company says the P35 is self-contained, with the reader and antenna built into a small device that can be placed on a counter or tabletop and plugged into a PC, laptop or Android-based device for power and connectivity. It also works with iOS devices with a power adapter. Use cases include tag reading at temporary sites, such as at a conference or event where RFID badges need to be read as attendees enter the venue.

The device comes with a manual button to trigger reading, enabling users to configure the reader to only ask for tags when the button is pressed. The P37 is smaller but does not include an antenna, so it has an external antenna port and the user needs to connect an antenna of their choice to the reader.

The device can be used in a cabinet to read items such as jewelry on trays placed on the reader antenna, or it can be installed on the floor of a showroom.

In Japan, many companies are already using pocket readers, AsReader said. Some businesses are using the P37 to capture tag readers at relatively long distances for mobile deployments because of the high-powered antenna, Whitney said, so that tags entering and leaving the space can be queried like stationary readers would normally.

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