More about Gary Andrechak

So, I'm supposedly the RFID smart guy at DSS. I've been in the RFID industry since 2001. I lived through a lot of UHF RFID technology maturity.  I had the opportunity to write a patent using the metal sputtering in DVDs to improve RFID tag performance and coauthored a business book on item level RFID.  I learned you can gamma sterilize some RIFD tags which is very handy in the sterile medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing worlds. I also learned how to put RFID tags in golf balls. Most importantly, I learned the hard way how it is not so easy to put RFID inlays in plastic cards.  That much, I know.  


My first personal experience with RFID came in 1992 when my employer at the time moved to a larger facility on 3 floors of an office building in lower Manhattan.  We were issued passive 125 kHz access control cards to get into our space in the building.  It was like being handed some kind of card shaped magic wand.  You waved the card at the door frame and the lock suddenly responded.  The cards were made from FR-4 green circuit board material laminated within layers of Formica countertop material, a precursor construction to the 2 part clamshell prox compatible cards, just thicker.  I asked Tony, our VP of Operations, how long the battery would last.  He said there was no battery and the cards should last indefinitely.  Tony said if you lose the card, we can cancel its access in the system and issue you a new one, but don't lose it--these cost us $12 each. Wow. Being in the consumer packaged goods market research industry, this is high tech, I thought. I had no idea it was RFID inside until 9 years later when I changed careers. I left consumer products and market research to work for a high tech Japanese multinational helping commercialize new products not sold in the USA, yet.  One of the products I worked on was a tiny passive authentication IC chip.  This is when I learned how to spell RFID and relocated to San Francisco from the NYC area as part of the process.


At the request of the Bank of Japan, Hitachi had developed an RFID chip so small and so thin it could be inserted into bank notes as an authentication inclusion. It was very cool. Money goes through a lot of use and abuse. It turns out a lot more product development was needed to effectively commercialize this in paper. Paper is far from ideal packaging material for IC chips. Our challenge was to find the low hanging uses for this tiny 2.45 GHz radio glitter. I was intrigued by the potential. Serial numbering billions of high value or high risk products with a uniquely numbered irrefutable marker that could be read from outside its packaging. Barcodes were so 1980's and something better was breaking on the horizon. 


While working as product manager looking for applications for the Hitachi Mu-chip, I needed to insert our tiny tinsel inlays into plastic cards. We looked all over the world for a card manufacturer that could do this over-lamination with a tiny tinsel strip inlay.  We never found a great supplier that could make the cards.



Around this same time, RFID technology went through a massive transformation with huge levels of technical investment. UHF RFID was all the buzz.  It used the same revolutionary way of communicating as the Mu-chip did, called backscatter communication.  At UHF frequencies, it could read from tens of feet away, not inches. Some big gorilla retailers had visions of using it for unattended monitoring of everything in their supply chains, and willed it to happen with supplier mandates for applying these RFID labels to every box of goods entering their distribution systems. Stock outs would disappear because both the retailers and suppliers would have x-ray vision at to where everything was moving from factory to shopping cart.  


I moved onward to sell retailer compliance services for the new RFID mandates. Then on to gamma sterilizable RFID applications and medical device tracking. Then as fate would have it, I met up with a security consultant from a past introduction.  He suggested I introduce myself to the guys at DSS Plastics Group.  They made plastic cards and they wanted to expand their RFID product reach.  I introduced DSS Plastics Group to a past customer that needed large quantities of UHF RFID cards printed quickly. DSS stood up to the incredible challenge and delivered. I was so impressed. I came to work for the company.  And yes, the plastic shop 2 miles from my previous employer could have made that card I looked all over the world for. My direct phone number is 1 415 585-1214. Email button below.