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The famous German soft toy manufacturer, Margarete Steiff GmbH, recently became a Tonies® partner opening up a profitable new market segment.

inotec case study nfc steiff

The partnership has permitted world-renowned Steiff branded cuddly toys to be marketed as a collection of Tonie Steiff branded cuddly toys. To enable the transformation, Margarete Steiff GmbH, selected inotec to supply five million of its near-field RFID tags for its new electronically adapted range of toys.

Following the Margarete Steiff procurement director’s search for a suitable supplier which was supported by a recommendation from an inotec customer, leading auto-ID label solutions provider inotec was chosen to produce the tags.

Placed into the Tonie Steiff toy during manufacture, the inotec near-field-communication (NFC) tag is used to control the Tonie branded audio speaker – the ‘Toniebox’. The Toniebox is an international success story; it allows children to listen to audio files independently. By placing a Tonie toy figurine on top of the Toniebox, the box reads the near-field RFID chip within the toy and starts playing stories and music.

So far, three of Margarete Steiff’s branded products tagged with the inotec communications device have gone into production. They are the Hoppie Rabbit, Lita Lamm and Jimmy Teddy Bear from the company’s ’Soft Cuddly Friends‘ collection. The inotec NFC tag implanted into each of the three Soft Cuddly Friends Tonies contains six charming stories told beautifully by Rob Rackstraw.

The innovative inotec solution
NFC tags are RFID systems that work in the near field. The radius of the near field is determined by the frequency or wavelength used and the type of transponder. NFC transponders such as those in the inotec NFC transponder label work over short distances of five to ten centimetres.

Inotec developed and manufactured a child safe waterproof NFC tag solution specifically for Margarete Steiff’s Soft Cuddly Friends Tonies. The innovative solution provides a completely safe and secure contactless data exchange between the Toniebox and the cuddly toys.

On-going partnership
Enthusing about the large multimillion RDIF tag order from Margarete Steiff, the renowned premium label soft toy manufacturer, inotec’s sales director David Stocker said: “High-quality and extremely reliable NFC tags have been produced by inotec for decades. Consequently, we were delighted to develop this new bespoke application for this prominent German toy manufacturer. Following the development and commercial success of the Tonie Steiff Soft Cuddly Friends collection, we are looking forward to broadening our partnership with Margarete Steiff in the future.”

For more information please contact inotec UK on 01482 654466 or email