Manufacture of Very Large Volumes of Tags
May 24, 2004
It is not possible to manufacture hundreds of billions let alone trillions of RFID tags every year using today's electronics production technology. However, when suitably low-cost product designs are proven in a few years, new and appropriate production facilities will also be available.
For tags employing silicon chips there will remain the Achilles heel of batch production of the chips themselves in fabrication facilities of escalating costs running into billions each. However, assembly and interconnection of these increasingly tiny chips onto plastic or paper substrates will be possible in a continuous process. Alien Technology will soon be achieving one million an hour using Fluidic Self Assembly - dropping chamfered chips through water into dips in vibrated plastic tape. Philips, MIT and several Japanese companies also have processes for ultra high speed chip assembly. From then on, there is a choice of reel-to-reel processes for depositing antennas and outer protection.
Several chipless RFID tag technologies can be reel-to-reel from start to finish and SAW devices can be assembled by simplified cruder (ie cheaper) forms of the above-mentioned silicon chip processes.