As part of our ongoing series of RAIN Alliance member profiles, we asked Metalcraft’s Colynn Black about his work and the challenges tag and label manufacturers, like Metalcraft, face in today’s RAIN RFID market.
- Tell us about yourself and introduce Metalcraft.
I have been with Metalcraft for about six years now and started from the ground up, learning the ins and outs of RFID technology as well as tag and label manufacturing. Metalcraft is a tag and label manufacturer that focuses on identification solutions for all sectors around the world. Many may not know that Metalcraft started as a metal nameplate company producing crash-indented metal nameplates. We still produce many of the products that originated with the company, but we have expanded our capabilities into photo-anodized metal plates, barcode roll labels, and RFID tags. My role started as the RFID Technician but quickly grew to the RFID Engineer and RFID Production Team Lead. I’ve enjoyed taking many of the technical skills and knowledge I acquired during my time as the engineer and production lead into my business development director role. It’s been extremely fulfilling to move into a role where I’m now helping establish solutions at the customer-facing level as opposed to focusing entirely on efficiency during the manufacturing process. I would have never been able to bring the value to our partners that I can today without my background experience on the engineering side, so I am very thankful to Metalcraft for that opportunity.
- What makes Metalcraft unique?
Metalcraft is unique because we bring value beyond that of a typical tag convertor. We do not shy away from a project just because it doesn’t fit our “standard products”. Every tag Metalcraft manufactures is customized for the end-user’s exact need. From the construction, performance, and reliability of the tag to the encoding and RF performance. With the newest addition of our inlay manufacturing facility Inlay Innovation, we now work with partners and end-users to design custom RFID inlays to optimize performance in their unique environment. We believe custom inlays should not have to come with an inflated price tag or overpriced engineering fees. This addition has allowed Metalcraft to bring even more value to its partners.
- What are you currently working on with regard to the RAIN Alliance? How will end-users benefit from your work?
I’ve recently been appointed as the co-chair of the Technical Work Group which has been responsible for many advancements in RAIN hardware, software, and technical standard improvement initiatives. Our future projects will include improving the Gen2v3 air protocol standard for the benefit of the RAIN Alliance members as well as educating all the RAIN members/users on the new Gen2v3 protocol.
- What is the biggest challenge today for companies like yours in the RAIN RFID market?
Like many in the industry, changing the mindset of current and potential RAIN users is an ongoing battle. I mean that the implementation of RAIN RFID into your business or workflow shouldn’t be considered an end goal or solution. RFID is a means to an end. If the end goal is to increase inventory accuracy, then simply tagging your inventory with RAIN RFID isn’t going to solve your inventory issues if they are present. RAIN RFID will bring those issues to light. RFID is simply a data carrier that can bring data and analytics to your fingertips in an extremely efficient and automated manner. In other words, RFID is a means to help you understand your inventory issues by giving you information that wasn’t there before. It will then allow you to find a solution to the issue. This is a mindset that is constantly evolving and becoming clearer with advancements in cloud and IoT technologies.
- How will the RAIN Alliance enhance your organization’s current efforts?
The RAIN Alliance was established to advance the industry and RAIN technology forward for the benefit of everyone, not just one particular company. With that mindset, the workgroups and members involved will be provided resources that aid in the spread and adoption of RAIN technology which in turn, will allow us all to be more profitable and sustainable.
Metalcraft has been a supporter and member of RAIN since its early inception.
- What do you do in your spare time for fun?
As a husband and father of two little ones, I enjoy spending every moment I have with my wife, son, and daughter. My hobbies include lots of outdoor activities such as fishing (both open water in the summer and ice fishing in the winter), golfing, camping, and working on miscellaneous projects with my hands. I’m also an avid reader and enjoy a good book. I also volunteer a lot of my time at the local Catholic church and try to live out my faith in all that I do.
- What is your all-time favorite movie or book?
It’s hard to choose just one, but for movies, I always enjoy Good Will Hunting and Rudy. For a book, even though I mainly read non-fiction, my favorite remains J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.