Ultra-Slim UHF RFID Antenna Development

FlexiRay Closes Market Gaps with RFID Innovation & Integration

RFID Antenna Development

FlexiRay is a trademark of the company Barco with over 30 years of experience in the automatic identification industry.

The focus at FlexiRay is on the development and manufacture of UHF RFID antennas and portals with an ultra slim form factor and aesthetic design. These antennas are designed for use at entrances or passages, in narrow corridors, on conveyor belts, for smart cabinets and more.

All products are manufactured in the Czech Republic and distributed worldwide.

Company story powered by: the Think WIOT Group and FlexiRay

Ultra-Slim UHF RFID Antenna Development Made in the Czech Republic

Ultra-Slim UHF RFID Antenna Development Made in the Czech Republic


RFID From the Center of Europe

The development of the first very thin antennas with a flexible range led to the establishment of FlexiRay.

Miroslav Jakšík studied Automation Technology at the Brno University of Technology. Following his studies, he worked for IT companies for two years. All this took place at the time of political upheavals in Europe. The company Barco, to which FlexiRay belongs, was founded in Czechoslovakia, one year after the Czech Republic was formed. Miroslav Jakšík and the other founders of the company saw it as an opportunity to implement their own ideas and realize the potential of technologies in interesting products.

FlexiRay belongs to the company Barco. Barco has been operating on the IT market since 1993. We started with barcode capture. Today, the company focuses on the integration of barcode and RFID technologies into corporate information systems, as well as data collection systems using data terminals and wireless WiFi networks.

As a system integrator in this field, Barco offers a comprehensive portfolio of services: Analysis and design of solutions, supply and installation of mobile terminals, barcode scanners and their accessories and the like. FlexiRay, which we established in 2012, represents the business area with the greatest growth. We also began developing UHF products in 2012.

Yes, because FlexiRay was founded after we developed the first very thin antennas with flexible range. Before that, we were more of an IT company than a technology developer.

Although we were among the first RFID system providers in the Czech Republic – and also in Slovakia through our subsidiary – FlexiRay was founded only after our first prototype of a very thin antenna.

In short – out of necessity. In the beginning, we implemented our RFID projects with Barco based on RFID equipment we had purchased from various manufacturers. The "key project" began in 2009, when we installed an RFID solution for the Czech bakery Penam. We were enormously limited by the space available there. We needed a more space-saving antenna.

Secondly, it was very difficult for us to set up reading points on these conveyor belts in the bakery's production area. We would have had to restrict the reading power of the antenna so as not to include the capture of goods from the neighboring conveyor belt.

However, because of these old antennas, we could not change the reading distance. This was very difficult to implement. In the end, we designed a customized antenna for this project. It was very thin and had exactly the required reading range due to the adapted antenna length.

Yes, this happened very quickly. We developed prototypes for the first generation of very thin antennas, which were only three to four millimeters thick, and implemented this project in the bakery. When we sold our antennas, we realized internally that there was a potential to bring these antennas to the market. We created the FlexiRay brand and developed four types, each with a different antenna length for different reading requirements.

We have remained true to this basic principle of flexible antenna lengths depending on customer needs to this day. All products are developed and manufactured in the Czech Republic.

Global Antenna Specialist

No, this was a slow development. At the beginning, we didn't even plan to sell abroad. Our business in the Czech Republic did very well. Fortunately, when we decided to expand it, it went very well. At that time, there were only one or two other manufacturers internationally who had similar antennas in their portfolio, which were thicker than our antennas.

Things have changed. There are now other antenna manufacturers who offer very thin antennas. However, our antennas are also characterized by the variable antenna length. However, competition has of course become fiercer.

We receive most inquiries and orders from Western Europe and North America. This is due to the level of automation of production there. Since the leading companies in the industry are located in North America or in Western Europe, this is really the core of our business.

We sell through resellers and system integrators, and have customers in 25 countries, on four continents. Most of the companies are vendors from the automatic identification industry that use our antennas in their projects. Many of our customers also come from the automatic identification sector and have already had experience with devices from Impinj, Zebra Technologies and Kathrein Solutions in their own installations.

Yes, I do. This is because we can see a clear upward trend. Take our antennas: they are very special and are used "only" for projects where the customer needs these particular antenna parameters, i.e. that they must be thin and possibly very long. The market share of such projects is probably not very big. However, we are also seeing growth.

The number of projects with smart cabinets, shelves, smart refrigerators, lockers, rental systems in libraries and the like is steadily increasing, and extra slim antennas are needed everywhere. The overall market in the RFID industry is, of course, growing much more dynamically. That's why I think the crisis years are behind us.

In my opinion, RFID and automation will become an indispensable part of industrial life in Western Europe and North America.

FlexiRay has worked extensively to develop unique thin antennas to fill a performance gap in the RFID market.

Ultra-Slim UHF RFID Antennas

FlexiRay was born from the conviction that the poor design of conventional RFID antennas and also the radiation characteristics are the bottleneck of many RFID installations.

FlexiRay's headquarters are located in Buchlovice in the southeast of the Czech Republic. The company's share capital is eight million euros.

FlexiRay Products

The high-quality design of FlexiRay antennas has been specifically developed to make them suitable for non-industrial applications.

FlexiRay antennas suitable for non-industrial applications

FlexiRay antennas suitable for non-industrial applications.

Yes, there are aesthetic motivations. Many antennas look very industrial. It certainly doesn't stand out in warehouses or in military units. However, the number of RFID applications in offices, libraries, retail stores and healthcare projects is increasing, and a different aesthetic is needed for these areas. Our antennas bring this innately.

The antennas are flat and stylish, and the surfaces are smooth. With their smooth surfaces, the SFR3 and SFR4 antenna families can also be seamlessly and discreetly blended into the room by applying a wood pattern or the color of the wall on which the antenna will be installed.

I would say both. We offer our antennas in three designs. The first is the SF2 line, which is very thin at three millimeters. We developed it for desktop reader setups and for cabinets. Second is the SFR3, which is 14 millimeters thick and has a robust housing for indoor and outdoor installation in production and logistics projects. And thirdly, there is the SFR4, which has slightly better parameters than the SFR3 and a different design.

We manufacture all these antennas in four lengths ranging from 10 centimeters to one meter. Which length is the right one depends largely on the customer's project. If the antennas are needed in North America, they are FCC-compliant, for Europe, they are ETSI-compliant. All in all, we have quite a lot of variants. We can also make concrete customer-specific adaptations for connectors and cables.

In addition to the portfolio of thin antennas, we actually offer a reader and a portal. The reader with the antenna SFX enables the creation of RFID reading zones at entrances and exits, hallways, doors and gates. It is IP65 rated and can be used indoors or outdoors. Again, the design is appealing and aesthetically valuable.

Furthermore, we have also recently started to offer an RFID portal. It features a sleek design and a small footprint, and is ideal for tracking assets, devices, documents, files and people indoors. The portal is available in three variants: with a left-facing antenna, a right-facing antenna and with two antennas for two reading zones.

We are currently preparing the launch of the new SF5/SFR5 line, which can replace parts of the SF2/SFR3 antennas. The wave field will be more homogeneous, the polarization will be circular and we will gain 8 dBi. We are really looking forward to this. In 2023/24, we also want to further expand our dealer network.

FlexiRay antennas are offered in different sizes as standard. The longest antenna measures one meter. It has its own radiation pattern tailored to the exact task to be accomplished and is capable of replacing two ordinary patch antennas as gateways or portals in the installation.

Instead of two antenna connections on the reader with two antennas for the gateway side, only one antenna connection can be used with a FlexiRay antenna.

If you have an idea or a project, please contact Miroslav Jakšík.

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