RFID Temperature Monitoring Gains Traction in the Supply Chain

Data capture and sharing improvements in pharmaceutical and food environments


To overcome such challenges, Intelleflex’s ZEST collection platform allows users to securely share and access authenticated reader and tag data without the need to interface directly with the readers. This data can then be utilized via Web-enabled, partner-built applications for tracking, managing and monitoring products, assets and personnel.

Coupled together with the RFID reader, the solutions “give users the ability to capture and collect data about the status of a product as it moves through the supply chain,” said Payne. “Prior to the cellular reader we had several ways of doing that through edge servers and local databases.” But ZEST removes arbitrary “siloing” of data and enables businesses to collect, evaluate and share data within a department or company, or across trading and business partners.

Other use cases

The reader’s battery-assisted passive technology serves as the “secret sauce” to penetrate through infrastructure that may impede the wireless radio signal, such as walls made with metal content. This ability promote a cost-effective solution to classic uses of active RFID, which in environments such as pharma or pre-cooling rooms, may come at a higher price point.

“In  the pharmaceutical space you have an increasing amount of temperature-sensitive medications—such as vaccines—that have to be shipped and stored at consistent temperatures, typically between the range of two-to-seven degrees Celsius,” said Payne. “And if it goes out of that range, the product can be rendered ineffective or even potentially dangerous for human use. What you want to be able to do in the pharmaceutical space is document throughout every stage of the supply chain that the product has been properly held, stored and transported so that when it’s delivered to the healthcare provider, they have a documented proof of quality and know that what they are about to administer to their patients is safe for use,” Payne explained.

Other use cases outside of the healthcare and food industries include the oil and energy area, in which facilities want to know the assets that are on-site, where they are located and where personnel are on-site in the event of a disaster where evacuation procedures need to be initiated. In other work facilities, equipment may be leased and having the ability to manage asset utilization is another key benefit.

With built-in self monitoring, interference detection and loopback test mode capabilities, the CMR-6100 reader (which supports ISO/IEC 18000-6:2010 and EPCglobal C1G2 passive standards) can be managed, maintained and updated remotely, making it ideal for deployments at worksites, fields or where access to local area networks is not an option. Built with XC3 Technology, its transmission range operates at distances of 300 feet or more; and in and around RF-challenging environments including pallets, inside containers and around metals and liquids.

“The supply chain industry has tried for decades to solve the ‘black hole’ problem and while great strides have been made in terms of having more visibility to goods in motion around the world, supply chain partners to date have had to rely on visual inspections and guesswork about the actual condition of those products,” said Michael Liard, Director, RFID, VDC Research Group Inc., Natick, Mass. “When it comes to perishables, this isn’t good enough; in the case of temperature-sensitive food safety or biologics, if efficacy is compromised, grave consequences can result. Intelleflex’s new solution provides cold chain partners with a cost-effective means to collect on-demand evidence of the condition of goods as they travel throughout the global supply chain, enabling partners to make real-time decisions to ensure safety and freshness or efficacy of the delivered product.”

The Intelleflex CMR-6100 reader is available through Intelleflex partners. ZEST Data Services is currently available in beta and will be fully released in the fall of 2012 as a component of end-to-end services from Intelleflex partners.

Business benefit takeaways

Intelleflex’s ZEST Data Services, CMR-6100 cellular reader and tags feature capabilities which:

  • Improve the quality, safety and delivered freshness of fresh, frozen and packaged foods while reducing waste and delivering track-and-trace records in the event of recalls.
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