RFID system monitors temperature of refrigerated trucks

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

A UK company has released a wireless system monitoring system
allowing managers to keep track of the temperatures of refrigerated
truck trailers while they are parked or being chilled for loading.

The system would aid plant managers that all food safety requirements are met for products up to the point they leave the premises. It provides another way to automate a key safety check along the supply chain.

The hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP) system dictates that shippers and consignees of meat, poultry, and seafood must provide details and documents of their food handling and processing along the supply chain.

The international system is due to become part of the EU's food safety laws next year.

Currently most temperature checks of refigerated trucks in the yard must be done by staff inspectors, who must visit each truck in the yard to ensure temperature conditions are being met by transporters.

The OEM Group's Secureseal system uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to link computers in a plant's transport office or warehouse with the trailers in the yard.

Steve Tickner, an OEM spokesperson, said the system provides data automatically, giving staff an instant check on which trailers are in the yard, which are being chilled and at what temperature.

"The unique thing about this system is that the trailers temperature can be measured whilst they are uncoupled from their trucks ,something that has not previously been available,"​ he told FoodProductionDaily.com.

The system also monitors the temperature during loading and on departure to ensure compliance and load protection at anytime the trailer is on site.

"This enables 'instant' information on which trailer is at the optimum temperature and would save a fleet having to manually check the trailers,"​ Tickner said. "In addition to the above we can also provide additional information for the fleet such as trailer service and trailer location."

The identification and temperatures of trailers parked up or being chilled for loading are transmitted to the transport office using specially developed low power radio frequency technology. The RFID transmitters have a range of up to 300 metres.

RFID is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data wirelessly using devices called tags or transponders. An RFID tag is a small object that can be attached to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person. RFID tags contain antennas to enable them to receive and respond to radio-frequency queries from an RFID transceiver.

The wireless transmission eliminates the need for walk-arounds to check temperature status of each trailer.

The system is a development of the company's SecureTemp, which is an in-cab trailer alert system that provides wireless connection to RFID temperature sensors in chilled compartments.

SecureTemp is a "wireless" system which alerts the driver if the refrigerated unit on a trailer fails, allowing remedial action to be taken before a load is spoilt. The system is made up of a long-life battery powered RFID temperature transmitter fitted inside the trailer and an in-cab receiver with an audible and visual display.

SecureTemp helps chilled fleet operators fulfil their due diligence obligations and reduces the cost of spoiled loads and lost orders, OEM stated. SecureTemp was developed with help from Samworth Brothers Distribution, owners of Ginsters.

"SecureTemp will enable logistics companies adhere to the stringent regulations which apply to the refrigerated transport sector and, as well as preventing loads from being spoiled, will enable a load to be replaced quickly where delivery times are critical,"​ OEM stated.

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