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FRAM and RFID - If ID has to be quick and safe | Interview with Jozsef Miho

Articles | By Fujitsu Electronics | 11 June 2015
“ISO standards create a bottleneck when used with RFID communication. If there is too much data, there comes a point when the access time is simply too long.” “ISO standards create a bottleneck when used with RFID communication. If there is too much data, there comes a point when the access time is simply too long.”

Industry, medicine and logistics are not the only ways of using FRAM-based tags. Fujitsu Semiconductor is keen to develop the business beyond these major markets.

FRAM memory technology has a special position among the various types of non-volatile memories that are used for RFID tags. They have a special place in applications where EEPROM-based tags are pushed to their limits and where it is necessary to store large amounts of data at high speeds. „The industry is now in great need of this. And yet, we are also interested in using other applications in which the characteristics of FRAM are challenged so as to develop customised solutions,“ says Jozsef Miho, Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe.

Jozsef Miho, Product Marketing Engineer, Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe, interviewed by “RFID im Blick”

In which RFID applications and for what reasons are high writing speeds and overwrite cycles particularly important?

High writing speeds shorten the time it takes to write data to a tag. This is particularly true with fast-moving items where speed is crucial. With FRAM-based tags, it is possible to speed up production and increase the flow rates of tagged goods. A high writing speed also reduces the risk of errors and improves the user experience when it comes to manual access, as in access control systems. The benefits of frequent rewriting are obvious: with automated production in industry, for example, a tag needs to be accessed very frequently.

Jozsef MihoJozsef Miho “The full endurance limit of an EEPROM tag can be reached in just a few days with around one million write accesses. With only one write per second, EEPROM tags would last less than two weeks, as opposed to a FRAM tag, which would keep going for around 30,000 years (with only 1012 accesses).“

What room for development is there in the future, for example in terms of storage capacity? And at what point will this be useful?

An RFID interface could be combined with any memory size, the question is, what makes sense. ISO standards create a bottleneck when used with RFID communication. Eventually a point is reached when the data access time is just too long. What works depends largely on the application. As a special solution, Fujitsu has developed a 64 kbyte UHF tag that is unique in its memory size and makes it possible to store all maintenance cycles on one tag, for use in the Avionic Industry for example. On the other hand, there are also companies that want to build their own non- ISO compatible interface and want to connect a stand-alone FRAM memory to it. This allows for much higher speeds, so a bigger storage capacity again makes sense.

Fujitsu Semiconductor is planning to bring a UHF-IC to the market later this year. All it has is an EPC code, providing the medical market with a radiation resistant tag. Medical devices are legally required to have a unique identification, so it is a question of how much UHF-IC will drive the demand?

We expect to have samples of this IC in the very near future and hope this product can go into mass production in the first quarter of this year. The medical market generally doesn’t need a memory element, just a „number“ for identification. Currently, the RFID tags need to be attached after the products have been sterilised in a separate working stage, because EEPROM-based tags lose data under radiation. This step could be skipped by using radio-resistant tags. The tags could be attached during production and then delivered to the end customer directly after radiation. This will create an enormous cost saving, so we expect a high demand, especially as the legal requirements for tracking and tracing get more and more strict.

Fujitsu Semiconductor are really pushing the boundaries of its products. What is the overall aim?

We are constantly working on improving the sensitivity of the IC to achieve greater access ranges. Further development goals are to expand the temperature ranges and speed up write accesses. We also research which additional features would work well with individual applications that would benefit from the FRAM specifications. We are very customer oriented and willing to offer customised solutions when asked.

Last modified on Thursday, 11 June 2015 14:08
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