As retail demand for UHF RFID traceability grows, along with requests for greater sustainability, SML is offering its tags and packaging products under a new brand name, Inspire, enabling it to better serve the needs of its customers. Meanwhile, the company's EcoInspire brand is designed for sustainability, to make tags more ecofriendly on several fronts. SML has also launched its new EcoHangers, built from recycled chipboard, though the hangers do not come with RFID technology.

The passive UHF RFID and related products are intended to meet the demands of a growing market, says Lesley Suen, SML's senior VP of corporate marketing. SML already offers software under its Clarity brand name, so Inspire serves as its corresponding tags and packaging brand name for customers seeking to use SML's RFID or non-RFID labels and packaging for their own products.

SML Group is one of the largest providers of RFID labels to the retail market for item-level RFID tracking. It sells labels, as well as packaging—both RFID-enabled and non-RFID. However, Suen says, "We've never really branded the tag line before. We felt it would be beneficial to offer a branded line." The company's complete portfolio of RFID packaging and woven labels, care labels, trim accessories, hangtags, heat transfers and stickers will now be sold under the Inspire brand name.

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In the meantime, the firm has also been engineering a more sustainable product to meet its customers' needs. Many brands and retailers are already charged with making their own products more sustainable (such as having more environmentally conscious contents in their clothing or other products), and they have been seeking price labels and tags with a reduced carbon footprint as well.

The EcoInspire tags are being built without a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) layer, according to Dean Frew, SML's CTO and senior VP of RFID solutions. In some cases, he says, they are also built with an alternative antenna technology, such as printed antennas or other non-metallic antennas. The EcoInspire product line may include recycled polyester, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper or organic cotton for sewn-in garment labels.

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