Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Keeping track of food as packing crates get smart

23.06.2005


Rising concern over food quality is pushing the industry to create ever more advanced systems to ensure food safety. A smart packing crate that uses Radio Frequency ID (RFID) tags for easy tracking and tracing of meat is a case in point.

The Info-box System (iBoS) uses a special packing crate, the info-box, produced by project partner Bekuplast GmbH. The iBoS team developed a transponder, or beacon, and state-of-the-art RFID tags that could be moulded into the box during its manufacture. This means retailers, wholesalers and producers can track meat from the warehouse to the supermarket accompanied by the Internet-accessible supply chain management system also developed under the IST-funded iBoS project.

For example, iBoS identifies meat by a sample code, so if there is a problem with a product it can be quickly traced back to the point of origin. "It enables the transparency of meat products logistics by electronic identification, in order to close the currently existing information-gap between slaughterhouse and supermarket," says Wilco van de Vosse, project coordinator, and services and product manager at ACR Logistics, one of the project partners. "Transparency improves food safety by more reliable and secure logistical processes, easy tracking and tracing, and also considerably improves logistics efficiency," says van de Vosse.



What’s more, it could ultimately be used to enable an ’automatic checkout’, where a computer reads the contents of a shopping basket and simply presents customers with a bill, saving considerable time.

It works like this. RFID gives off a unique signal that can be read by appropriate receiver. It’s the radio frequency equivalent of a bar code. Currently RFID is used primarily in the warehouse, but some manufacturers are beginning to include the chips in their retail products, again for logistics control.

The iBoS RFID transponder can be read in difficult conditions, independent of orientation, light, temperature, humidity. "It’s the first RFID transponder suitable for use in meat logistics," says van de Vosse.

Up to 250 transponders can be read simultaneously, which dramatically speeds up processing time. iBoS is also ISO (International Standards Organisation) compliant to ensure compatibility with other products, unlike most proprietary devices currently on the market.
In addition to signalling to an RFID reader, the transponder can store up to 18 Blocks of 32 Bits (8 Char. each) of data and it can be used in combination with bar codes, all integrated into one label, which means it can adapt seamlessly to existing supply chain systems.

It’s also a read/write chip, unlike the majority of chips now available which are read-only. So, links in the supply chain can add data. For example the slaughterhouse will be able to add data to the transponder about the type of product, like article, weight and price.

The team trialled the system and are pleased with its success. In trials the Supply Chain Management System offered better quality control; information could be read with simple readers, without the need to connect to the back office. Since there is no manual scanning of bar codes, no weighing of each individual crate and no counting is required, there are no errors, and the process is faster and more efficient.

Furthermore, it’s easier to improve the supply process because information is readily available. Over time, it will mean new, more efficient working methods. The system includes an optional temperature sensor and logger that provides evidence of compliance with required transport temperatures.

Currently RFID technology is below five per cent market share in the packing identification market in mainly express logistics because of the relative high cost. It costs €1 while bar code labels cost less than 1 cent. However, iBoS adds considerable value to the tracking process and should promote the rapid adoption of RFID technology. Meat product logistics is expensive, very critical, has a large scale of economy and can have direct impact on human health.

The system can be applied to other products too, and the project team believes that as business adopts the technology prices will come down, further accelerating the introduction of RFID.

"Until the introduction of the new ISO transponder no reliable RFID technology at suited wavelength was available to be used in combination with liquid products (like food and, in particular, meat). Therefore transponders have never been used in the perishable food logistics chain before."

The project finished last year but since then the partners continued to improve the system. "There have been advances in the software, the transponder and the box, every element is undergoing continuous improvement," says van de Vosse.

Currently the partners are demonstrating the product to potential users and establishing commercial partnerships to produce the system on a large scale.

"There are a lot of elements to this system. It’s not just a box, or a chip, but you also have gate readers that can receive the transponder signal, you have the back office software and other elements like the optional temperature sensor. Developing commercial partnerships for the whole system is complex, but there are many companies who are interested in being involved," concludes van de Vosse.

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>