Bringing RFID to the film industry

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Background

When Robert Lynn, owner of Unified Transponder Concepts, says he knows the film industry he means it! Lynn brings over 35 years of film industry experience – many of those years spent on set behind the camera – to his customers today. After all, who better to help ensure 100% equipment returns than someone who personally understands the value of it.

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Unified Transponder Concepts is an IOT (Internet of Things) integrator, delivering auto data collection for asset tracking and inventory visibility, supplying everything from custom RFID tags, readers, BLE beacons and bridges to middleware interfacing with any third party asset tracking software.

To provide an entire solution, UTC turns to partners like Metalcraft for the custom RFID tags. UTC has been recommending Metalcraft pre-printed barcodes and RFID tags to customers for more than 5 years. “We are grateful for our relationship (with Metalcraft) that allows us the opportunity to test new tag designs before they are released to the public,” said Lynn.

Opportunity and Challenges

Lynn and his team currently help customers track over a half million items in the film and live entertainment industries made up of costumes, draperies, props, and production rental equipment. In addition, UTC is supplying multiple studios, live events and equipment rental houses with RFID tags, readers, and software for tracking assets – resulting in better inventory visibility.

Solution

Two specific applications Lynn recalls where Metalcraft tags fit the bill involved some demanding conditions, but the tags more than rose to the challenge. The first was with William F. White International using Metalcraft’s Universal RFID Mini, sometimes with a clear protective film, on production equipment. The curved metallic surfaces on the production equipment and tough environmental conditions – traveling from locations with subzero temperatures to intense summer heat, sometimes overnight – can be a challenge to some tags; however, showed no adverse effects on the Metalcraft labels.

The second application involved tracking theatrical drapes for Rose Brand. These items are traditionally stored in protective duffle bags or laminated road cases and identified individually with a barcode label, so an immense amount of time is spent packing and unpacking fabrics for verifying (size, color, condition) and shipping. RFID, including Metalcraft Standard RFID tags affixed to the branding labels, makes process time for check-in and check out much quicker and extremely accurate not only reducing man-hours during the rental cycle, but quarterly and/or yearly inventory can be taken much faster. In addition, with less handling, the wear and tear and cleaning of the fabrics also has been reduced.

Result

Lynn feels the partnership between UTC and Metalcraft aligns well because the two companies are alike in many important ways. “Metalcraft has the same mindset as UTC,” said Lynn. “They deliver the same high-quality products and services that UTC promises to our clients.”

And, although Metalcraft may not be the least expensive option available, Lynn feels they offer something else that is much more valuable. “After supplying a client with a less expensive product from a different vendor, we found the quality of the printing was not what we had come to expect from Metalcraft,” he said. “Since then, the price for Metalcraft has always included the peace of mind knowing that we would get it right the first time.”

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