Based on its recent analysis of the smart card solutions market, Frost & Sullivan recognises Infineon Technologies AG (Infineon) with the 2013 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation Leadership. Infineon has developed the flexible ‘Coil on Module’ chip package and related card antenna designs to accelerate introduction of cards that can be used for both contact-based as well as contactless applications.
The new package technology improves the robustness of the cards and makes their manufacturing process more efficient and up to five times faster than with conventional technologies. It allows flexible card design hence enabling card manufacturers to better serve growing demand for contactless solutions without requiring major investments in new manufacturing equipment. At the same time, banks and financial institutions benefit from improved performance, and longer lifetime and simplified supply chain of the final products. Infineon’s modules, chips and antenna portfolio in contactless technologies have been successful in addressing the dual interface market.
“Infineon is a leading manufacturer of semiconductor solutions, which has enabled it to gain deeper expertise in manufacturing processes and subsequently, on ways to improve chips and packaging technologies,” said Frost & Sullivan Global Programme Director, Digital Identification, ICT, Jean-Noel Georges. “Leveraging this experience, the company has developed a complete solution for Dual Interface cards that bridge the gap from today’s contact-based applications to tomorrow’s contactless world.”
Infineon’s new package solution for dual interface and contactless card manufacturing includes a security chip and an antenna embedded on the plastic card. To eliminate issues such as damaged antenna and the lack of contact between the module and antenna during the personalisation of the dual interface card, Infineon uses radio frequency (RF). This is a huge improvement over the traditional physical link and improves the performance and reliability of the final product as well as the contactless data transfer.
Infineon’s product addresses numerous challenges, the first among them being the issue of reliability and robustness. Unlike Infineon’s products, traditional contactless assembly technologies are difficult to deploy because they may generate a lot of rejected cards during the antenna-module connection process, and this lowers the production capacity and increases costs. Infineon’s Coil on Module package eliminates the need for a mechanical connection of module and antenna through the use of RF and does away with this issue
The second challenge is product lifecycle. Again, the use of RF gives the company an edge, as it decreases the impact of mechanical constraints on the contactless card’s performance. This approach offers greater added value for ID cards, as the cards’ lifetime is expected to extend to 10 years.
Finally, Infineon also offers greater flexibility as the competitor`s offerings, as clients can select modules from the Infineon portfolio and associated card antenna designs without specific card antenna adaptation. By combining different card bodies, including the associated card antenna designs from Infineon, with different Coil on Module / chip combinations with the same functionality, this gives the card manufacturer the same flexibility in dual interface card production as they already value from contact based card production. This assembly solution simplifies stock management, increases manufacturing yield and therefore, slashes the manufacturing costs and improves the return on investment (ROI). It also lowers the number of rejected cards and lengthens the lifetime of the final product. As all Infineon modules can be used with relevant antennas, the module antenna combination can be adjusted to suit customer final card product requirements
“The contactless card market – and, more specifically, dual interface card solutions – has already started to skyrocket,” noted Georges. “The global adoption of contactless cards is rapidly increasing, with many customers like banks, financial institutions, national agencies, cards manufacturers already looking for efficient assembly solutions. Overall, the explosion of contactless payment cards and the need for governments to use contactless cards for identity management are expected to give a huge boost to Infineon’s market prospects.”
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that that has developed an innovative element in a product by leverage leading-edge technologies. The award recognises the value added features/benefits of the product and the increased ROI it offers customers, which in turn increases customer acquisition and overall market penetration potential.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.