October 16, 2007 Fujitsu has developed a new way to tag and track rentals and returns of uniforms using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. Tagfront uses UHF-band washable, soft linen RFID tags built into the uniforms to facilitate batch readings and enable more efficient real-time tracking of clothing inventories.
Recently shown at CEATEC Japan 2007, the durable, soft linen RFID tags are built into the uniforms so that when scanned by the system, an accurate recording of information regarding the status of the clothing including the wearer can be provided. The ID tag of the clothing is combined with a staff ID number to show in real time which uniform is being worn by whom. This helps customers to reduce the risk of loss and theft of uniforms as they have an accurate way of determining who last was in possession of each item.
The tags have high readability and can be read from over four feet away which means that multiple tags can be scanned into one batch without actually touching the uniforms. This eliminates manual counting of returns or errors in entering ID data of the items. It also lessens the time needed to process batches of clothing prior to being sent off for cleaning.
The tag itself is less than 2.5 inches in length and completely flexible, weighing only 2 grams (less than 0.1 ounce). It can withstand high temperatures of ironing and can be washed over 100 times with no adverse effects to its scanning ability. The Tagfront system has applications for both companies with high volume of uniforms such as hotels and resorts or for clothing rental outlets such as bridal and formal wear retailers.
Another recently development encompassing this technology is the interactive RFID fitting-room mirror from Paxar. When a customer trying on clothes in a retail fitting room brings an RFID-tagged piece of clothing in front of a “magic mirror”, it automatically displays personalized information including brand messaging, garment description, size and color availability, as well as mix-and-match guides that suggest other items for accessorizing a wardrobe.
See the Fujitsu site for further reading.