How to Remove a Jammed Tag

Most Companies don't even want to talk about Tag jams, but it happens. Approached incorrectly it can lead to damaged clothing and a bad customer experience, performed in the correct manner below, no damage and no problem.

How does a Clutch Work?

The pictures on the left show the typical construction of the lock mechanism of a retail security tag. It comprises of a bell shaped housing, inside of which is a steel plunger. In the tip of the bell above the plunger are normally 3 ball bearings. Under the plunger is a spring which pushes the the plunger against the ball bearing in the crown of the dome.

There is a hole in the tip of the dome which allows the entry of the point of the security pin. As the pin is pushed into the clutch it displaces the ball bearings which pushes the plunger back slightly against the spring. The pin then continues through the hole in the plunger until the pin is fully inserted. The plunger pushes the ball bearings forward until they lodge between the curve of the housing and the shaft of the pin, locking the pin firmly between them and the housing. If the pin is pulled outwards it actually locks the pin more tightly in the locking mechanism.

When the tag is placed on the releaser the very intense magnetic field pulls the plunger on top of the spring away from the top of the dome, allowing the ball bearings to fall away from the shaft releasing the pin

Why Does It Jam?

If the ball bearings fail to fall away when the plunger is pulled back the pin will not release, the four most likely reasons are:

  1. A customer has pulled hard on the pin head or the garment whilst holding the Tag, which could be accidental or a deliberate attempt to remove the tag.
  2. Bad luck. If you carry out an operation a thousand times chance says it will finally just happen.
  3. The Pin is bent or damaged.
  4. The Tag has been stored off a garment with a pin inserted and the Jam will be discovered when you try to remove the pin to use the Tag.

How to remove

After removing a jammed tag always check the material around where the pin was to see if an attempt has been made to forcibly remove the Tag. The pin does not make a hole, it should simply displace the threads of the weave, if an attempt to forcibly remove the tag has been made any marks or pulls can normally be removed by holding the garment about 50mm from the mark and gripping the fabric between you thumb and forefinger on the other hand and pulling across the mark. You may need to carry this out from several directions.

Prevention is better than cure

  1. Do not store tags off a garment with the Pin in.
  2. If a Jam has occurred after removal check the garment and pull the weave back together if required.
  3. Check the Pin is not bent or damaged if it is dispose of carefully to prevent re-occurrence

AM 58Khz Synchronisation WHY?

Un-Synchronised systems can cause false alarms or insensitivity in either your store or adjacent store

Why do 58Khz tag systems and deactivation units need synchronisation?

The way this technology works is that it transmits a very short burst of signal at 58Khz (typically less than 2 thousandths of a second long) also the transmit burst has a very sharp turn on and turn off time) This pulse is locked to the frequency of the mains 230V supplied to the system

This transmit burst energises the tag or label (which is tuned to 58Khz) the target then rings (oscillates) in sympathy with the Transmit burst, you can visualise this as hitting a tuning fork. The tag will continue oscillate/ring for a short period of time after the transmit burst finishes.

During this time the signal will become less and less until the ring down period is finished. The tag system looks with its receiver at the short period of time after the transmitter is tuned off for a signal at 58Khz,(the tag window) for this signal to regarded as a tag the duration of the signal and the rate at which its level falls have to meet some very strict criteria for the system to process it as a tag signal.

The system will then look at a number of timed periods after the Transmit burst for 58Khz signal These “noise windows” are used to set the background environmental noise levels for processing the tag window and to prevent false alarms

If another 58Kz system is within 40M of the tag system the two need to transmit at exactly the same time. Whilst if both were fed with the same main supply from the same phase of the switchboard of the shop this will happen there are many reasons in the real world this is not so

The mains supply to the board may be 3 phase where there is a 120 degree phase difference between each phase. There may be heavy loads such as lift motors which can shift the mains timing or an adjacent store may be fed from a different grid transformer with a phase difference. It may be that an adjacent system may have been deliberately adjusted off of the standard zero crossing trigger point for a technical reason.

System that are not synchronised may cause either false alarms or insensitively to other systems or may suffer these problems themselves from the other system