Coming soon: SP1 RFID sled by DENSO


Radio frequency identification (RFID) is delivering a boost in sales for retailers by an average of 1.5 to 5.5 percent, while increasing inventory accuracy by about 20 to 30 per cent, according to the study “Measuring the impact of RFID in Retailing: Key lessons from 10 case-study companies”, which was conducted by Adrian Beck, an emeritus professor at the University of Leicester.

DENSO, part of the Toyota group and inventor of the QR Code, now offers a new RFID device, which is practical and efficient, especially for retailers: The company’s SP1 RFID sled can easily be connected to a smart device. That way, RFID functionality can be added and an increased performance can be realised.

Viv Bradshaw, Technology Consultant at the DENSO Auto-ID Business Unit, said: “A bigger range of tasks and higher efficiency can be achieved with the new SP1 RFID sled, and the device is almost self-explanatory so that users do not lose precious time by having to get used to it.” The SP1 RFID sled can be easily connected with the host smart device. A QR Code is read on the SP1 RFID sled with the smart device, and the devices are then quickly paired via Bluetooth. No other code is necessary. The software SDK supports Android, iOS, and Xamarin. 

Perfect match: Bluetooth and the SP1 RFID sled

To connect the user’s existing smart device with the SP1 RFID sled by DENSO, part of the Toyota group and inventor of the QR Code, Bluetooth is used. “Electrical connectors are not used due to reliability issues over time. Bluetooth and QR Codes are safer,” explains Bradshaw.

There are numerous connection and operation advantages of the practical and efficient SP1 RFID sled. For instance, if there are multiple ordinary devices around the user’s PDA, all of them are displayed as a connecting option. The user needs to find out the desired device by confirming the device name and number. With DENSO’s innovative RFID sled, the QR Code on the SP1 includes all necessary information for pairing with the user’s PDA. There is no issue of pairing the SP1 RFID sled with the wrong device.

Another advantage of the SP1 RFID sled is the fact that no data gets lost, even if a Bluetooth disconnection occurs during operation. “Ordinary devices do not store data and the whole scanning operation data may be lost, resulting in a complete re-scan,” says Bradshaw. “However, the SP1 RFID sled stores all scanned data internally and if a wireless disconnection occurs, it can re-synchronise with the application program to re-send the un-sent data or even everything again without the operator’s intervention. Thus, no potential re-scans are necessary,” he continues.

DENSO’s SP1 RFID sled does not only save data but also a lot of time – and nerves

The SP1 RFID sled by DENSO, part of the Toyota group and inventor of the QR Code, can scan up to 700 RFID tags per second, which saves a lot of time during inventories and everyday operations, especially in retail. “The reading speed of our SP1 RFID sled reduces stock taking time by 50 per cent, compared to our previous devices,” says Bradshaw.

That way, inventories can be done much faster. And sometimes, when employees are in a rush, devices can fall down. However, the SP1 RFID sled can survive up to 30 falls from up to 1.2 metres. It is also IP54 certified against water and dust. During DENSO’s tests, drops were simulated. Ultimately, stress points were reduced, leading to a better reliability. The integrated moulding of the RFID antenna and pistol grip further increases enclosure strength.

Keep calm and do not worry about over-heating or slowing down

Another advantage, especially when working with the RFID device for a longer period of time, is its ergonomic and lightweight design. With just about 400 grams of weight, the SP1 RFID sled makes long-term working comfortable.

However, when working with an RFID device non-stop, which is the case during stock taking, there is the problem of overheating, and thus, slowing down. “Continuous high speed reading requires methods to dissipate heat efficiently,” explains Bradshaw. In fact, the RFID module needs to dissipate as much heat as 90 per cent of energy in order to run smoothly.

“Other RFID devices have limits in this regard, but we at DENSO wanted to meet the high standards of our clients and offer a solution to ensure continuous high-speed operation unlike other devices,” says Bradshaw. With the SP1 RFID sled and its optimised design, DENSO, part of the Toyota group and inventor of the QR Code, found just the solution that was needed.

Background: How the SP1 RFID sled was developed in Japan

The extensive research to develop the time-saving and innovative SP1 RFID sled was performed in the large-scale EMC chamber of DENSO, part of the Toyota group and inventor of the QR Code. The EMC chamber measures 20 metres approximately, which in itself is a rare feature in the industry.

“At DENSO in Japan, we set up a demo store with about 2,000 items to test our RFID device. The EMC chamber is basically like a sound-proof room, where absolute measurements were realised”, explains Bradshaw.

The SP1 RFID sled by the specialists for mobile data collection was tested and improved during this measurement process in the large EMC chamber. In the end, the high performance design was optimised in-house, and the antenna of the SP1 RFID sled was also one of the results. Its cross-dipole design offers vertical and horizontal switching.

The specialists at DENSO, part of the Toyota group and inventor of the QR Code, also measured tag performance and came to the conclusion that their new RFID device can realise the highest level of reading performance in the industry. “The combination of outstanding reading performance and the most suitable RFID tag for the environment ensures maximised efficiency. And thus, we are very excited to present our new SP1 RFID sled to our customers and potential new clients”, Bradshaw sums up.

For the European market, the DENSO Auto-ID Business Unit is the contact window for all enquiries on QR Codes, mobile data capture, handheld terminals, and scanners. The durable and robust terminals and scanners manufactured by DENSO are to be found in storage, logistics, at the POS, in production, and field & sales automation applications. Short and informative video clips about the terminals, scanners, and solutions from the DENSO Auto-ID Business Unit can now be viewed on YouTube. The clips include the 20th anniversary of the QR Code, a company presentation, and introductions to the various devices for mobile data capture such as the BHT-1500, BHT-1400 and the GT20 scanner.

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