When a large Silicon Valley-based IT manufacturing and networking company decided in 2014 to add RFID tags to its existing products, it discovered one of the key capabilities that sets Vizinex apart from its competitors: Custom RFID Solutions.
Where most RFID manufacturers will try to figure out how to shoehorn a product they already make into a customer’s existing assembly, Vizinex will develop and build custom products that specifically meet the customer’s needs.
In this case, the IT company had a vast array of products, from servers to routers to switches, manufactured at contracted plants around the world. Much of the equipment had been designed to specific physical requirements dictated by where that equipment is used in a data center.
“We did start off using third-party tags that we could just peel and stick,” said the IT company’s test engineer who managed the project. “And we had the challenge anybody else does when they do that. They look cosmetically ugly and they get peeled off. Our internal design group did not like having tags out on front of the products because it did look cosmetically unappealing.”
The decision to make the RFID tags invisible to customers meant finding ways to embed them during the manufacturing process across products of different sizes and configurations. And that’s an area in which Vizinex has extensive expertise and experience.
“We look at a problem and try to figure out the answer to the problem, as opposed to trying to figure out an answer that suits our solution” says Vizinex Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Robert Oberle.
The Biggest Challenge
That’s exactly what Vizinex did with the IT company. The first problem was figuring out where to put the RFID tags in products that had not been designed to accommodate them.
“The front panels of the IT equipment are so compressed,” said the customer’s engineer who managed the project. “So you have very little room to put an RFID tag to begin with. You’ve got lots of ports tying up your front panel.
“It’s very challenging on the mechanical side coming up with the location to put an RFID tag,” he added. “That by far was our biggest challenge across all these products — figuring out where in the world we were going to put a tag when we had no footprint to put one.”
A one-size-fits-all solution was not an option. So Vizinex has worked with company engineers to develop and build custom RFID solutions that fit in spaces ranging from an ejector arm, to a bezel switch (the plastic front of a device), to the side of a particular box, among others—all while adhering to the customer’s performance metrics.
Each of the tags include the serial number, product ID, version ID and an RFID identifier that identifies the company that made the product.
The engineer managing the project for the IT company said Vizinex has either done the first design configuring tags for various spaces or had previously come up with a design that would work. He credited Vizinex with being “far out front in leading the design versus what the other vendors are doing.”
Working Through Challenges
The IT company had previously worked with Vizinex to purchase standard RFID tags to track hundreds of thousands of IT assets the company has in its lab. The relationship has strengthened with the latest ongoing project.
“Vizinex is extremely good to work with,” the engineer said. “I’ve been extremely pleased with them. They’re always very responsive. I think on any engagement with any vendor, you’re going to have challenges to work through. But they’ve been extremely good about working through them. From my perspective, they’re still going to be our lead supplier.”
If you have a challenging RFID tag application, contact us today and realize the benefits of Vizinex RFID.