Avery Dennison opened this week a new factory for manufacturing radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in Brazil serving the South American market. The site is located within the company’s Labels & Graphic Materials (LGM) headquarters in the city of Vinhedo (Sao Paulo State). The Brazil location is Avery Dennison’s eighth RFID manufacturing site, joining facilities in the United States, Mexico, Europe and China.
Avery Dennison has been producing labels and adhesives (for industries such as manufacturing, food, home, and personal care) in Vinhedo since the 1970s. “Expanding our capabilities in Brazil to include production of RFID tags makes strong business sense for us,” said Ronaldo Mello, vice president and general manager of Avery Dennison Label and Graphic Materials, Latin America. “The growing Latin American market, particularly within Brazil, presented an opportunity for us to better serve our South American customers.”
Deon Stander, Avery Dennison’s president and chief operating officer (COO), sat down in Vinhedo for an exclusive interview with IoP Journal (click here to watch). Stander began by stating Avery Dennison’s core beliefs about the implications of digital technology for its business and its customers. “We believe in a future where every physical item will have a unique digital identity and a digital life, enabling opportunity across the supply chain, and between brands and consumers. As the largest RFID UHF player in the world, our role is to make this vision a real possibility for all industries.”
He added that Avery Dennison’s investment in Brazil follows another set of investments the company has made across North America, Europe and Asia. “One of the best ways to deliver value to our customers is by establishing manufacturing locations close to their production facilities. Given the significant growth of RFID in Brazil, establishing a manufacturing presence here makes sense. This is just one of a series of investments we plan to make as we grow our RFID business over the next few years.”
Historically, said Stander, the largest growth opportunities for RFID have been within the apparel industry. “In apparel, every item is labeled and tagged, creating a natural opportunity for RFID in supporting the supply chain, but also in creating ways for brands to directly connect with their consumers, establishing long term relationships.
“However,” he added, “we also see significant opportunities in other segments, like food and logistics.”
Technology is the key to unlocking RFIDs full value, particularly in meeting customer requirements for sustainable solutions. According to Stander, sustainability is both a core business strategy for Avery Dennison as well as one of the company’s values. “We have established a set of sustainability goals for 2025 and 2030 that encompass areas like advancing the circular economy and reducing our environmental impact through our manufacturing processes and the supply chain.”
These sustainability goals align Avery Dennison with customers who, said Stander, have identified sustainability as a key priority and who are considering how to reduce their impact on the environment while also ensuring the products they sell can be recycled, repurposed, or reused. RFID supports sustainability by enabling product traceability from manufacturer to consumer, and connecting consumers to information about handling their products.
“RFID technology supports sustainability throughout the product lifecycle,” Stander explained. “First, the product’s unique digital identifier traces where it was made and its journey through the supply chain to the consumer. Second, when the product is in the consumer’s hands, the RFID tag connects the consumer to information about how to best care for and maintain the product. And third, at the end of the product’s life with that consumer, the RFID tag connects consumers to information about how to recycle or dispose of the product. UHF RFID can play a very key role in this entire cycle.”
In terms of when these opportunities will come to life, Stander believes the future is already here. “We’re seeing how the RFID technology has been applied to industries like apparel and food. RFID already tells us how and where items are made, and how to get items to stores in a very efficient way. It also supports consumers in selecting, maintaining and disposing of items.”
But while RFID technology is already delivering key benefits across multiple industries, Stander was careful to assert that while Avery Dennison is an industry leader, it relies on collaboration with an ecosystem of partners to deliver its RFID-enabled vision.
“No company stands by itself,” he said. “We’re clearly a market leader, but we also see a central part of our role as helping the entire industry grow. To do that, we need partners. We need not only the customers but also the system integrators, the converters, and all other companies as well, because we all play a role in making this industry more vibrant. When there is mass adoption, then everybody wins. It also will take, I believe, every part of the supply chain for us to achieve the sustainability that we need as an industry.”
Stander concluded by summarizing a bright future for RFID technology. “RFID is a proven technology with multiple use cases. We have the infrastructure to handle data on a mass scale, and in today’s more digitized, sustainable world, technologies like RFID are increasingly necessary for businesses to remain competitive. We are excited to partner with companies on this journey and help drive that change.”