Over the coming years, RFID is forecast to become standardized within the industry as manufacturers seek better traceability and accurate product sourcing. Weyerhaeuser's move comes as many retailers are mandating that their suppliers investment in the RFID systems to track goods throughout the supply chain.
The company said yesterday it has purchased OrganicID, a Colorado-based RFID developer that specializes in developing low-cost, printable RFID circuits using organic materials. The company estimates that this method will decrease the price of RFID tags to less than one cent and thereby enable the use of RFID tags in item level tracking.
The price of traditional silicon-based RFID tags, which currently range from $0.20 to $1.00, has kept many manufacturers from integrating their systems with RFID. Industry players are constantly looking for cheap RFID alternatives to replace traditional optical bar codes.
OrganicID's approach involves printable electronic inks with conductive, insulating, or semiconductor qualities. When printed in a patterned layer formation, the ink can form electronic circuits.
In an statement, Weyerhaeuser said that the technology "is important to the packaging industry as more consumer products manufacturers and retailers move toward RFID to identify, count and manage inventory."
Weyerhaeuser's acquisition comes as the company is struggling against a decrease in book value. Part of the companies problems stem from a $78.7 million judgment against it for monopolizing and trying to monopolize the market in the Pacific Northwest.
To offset losses Weyerhaeuser has been rapidly diversifying its assets. Last week, it announced a $3.3bn merger with Domtar, Canada's largest paper company. Weyerhaeuser did not disclose the cost of the OrganicID acquisition.
OrganicID was founded in December 2003. Weyerhaeuser was establish in 1900 and is principally engaged in growing and harvesting of timber. The company's also has containerboard and packaging operations in 14 countries.