Screen Printed Antennas on Fiber-Based Substrates for Sustainable HF RFID Assisted E-Fulfilment Smart Packaging
Intelligent packaging is an emerging technology, aiming to improve the standard communication function of packaging. Radio frequency identification (RFID) assisted smart packaging is of high interest, but the uptake is limited as the market needs cost-efficient and sustainable applications. The integration of screen printed antennas and RFID chips as smart labels in reusable cardboard packaging could offer a solution. Although paper is an interesting and recyclable material, printing on this substrate is challenging as the ink conductivity is highly influenced by the paper properties. In this study, the best paper/functional silver ink combinations were first selected out of 76 paper substrates based on the paper surface roughness, air permeance, sheet resistance and SEM characterization. Next, a flexible high frequency RFID chip (13.56 MHz) was connected on top of screen printed antennas with a conductive adhesive. Functional RFID labels were integrated in cardboard packaging and its potential application as reusable smart box for third party logistics was tested. In parallel, a web-based software application mimicking its functional abilities in the logistic cycle was developed. This multidisciplinary approach to developing an easy-scalable screen printed antenna and RFID-assisted smart packaging application is a good example for future implementation of hybrid electronics in sustainable smart packaging.