Another of the more recent developments in RFID solutions is time and temperature indication.
Nowadays temperature indicator labels (thermochromic labels and battery-powered sensors) are commonly used within the perishable goods supply chain and relate temperature violations to a color change. Even though these sensors are cheap, their inspection requires the monitoring person to go and check each label one at the time, which is labor-intensive and requires direct line of sight.
The manufacturers and purchasers of temperature-sensitive products, like pharmaceuticals and food, have a vested interest to ensure the quality of their products, as well as to identify supply chain issues that may compromise the integrity of their products and brands. There is a clear desire to be able to monitor temperature profiles of individual products at the required time intervals along the supply chain. Monitoring can lead to more efficient processing of perishable goods as well as a better way to assure the end-users with regards to the product’s quality.
This cost-effective, smart labeling solution doesn’t only log time and temperature, but also offers a complete solution with multiple services such as cloud environment, application programming interface and individual calibration capabilities. The recorded data is stored in an NFC (near field communication) chip and can be uploaded to a smartphone or computer at any time anywhere throughout the supply chain. The technology incorporates sensor functionality and temperature data logging capabilities in a cost-effective form. When applied onto a product or container, the RFID labels can be programmed by the user to record the temperature history of goods at defined time intervals during shipment. Once the shipment reaches its destination, the temperature data can be uploaded to a smartphone or computer to be reviewed
This type of RFID tags can track the temperatures a product is exposed to at defined time intervals throughout the supply chain and can indicate if the product is suitable for its intended use. This RFID tag monitors storage and transportation temperature of perishable goods at defined time intervals, such as fresh food, pharmaceuticals or sensitive chemicals. If the pre-defined upper temperature limit or lower temperature limit is crossed during the monitoring period, an alarm is raised and stored into the memory of the label. This allows users to detect the interruption point in a cold chain with any commercial UHF RFID reader, anytime during transportation and storage. Cold chain efficiency can be significantly improved by utilizing temperature sensors to monitor ambient temperature conditions.
The desired temperature limits, measurement time interval and other configuration data are set by the user prior to attaching the label onto the monitored item. If preferred, the configuration data can already be set at the production facility. There are, however, some factors that can influence the read performance, like: context of communication, environmental surroundings and the communication initiation method.