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Bereket Doner Tracks Its Meat Products Via RFID

The Turkish company is using EPC Gen 2 RFID technology to track goods as they are loaded onto pallets and weighed prior to shipping, while also ensuring against theft by reading tags passing through doorways.
By Claire Swedberg
To use RFID, Bereket Döner required tags that were robust enough to sustain extreme cold, but that could also be read outside the freezer once the meat was frozen. Additionally, the tags needed to be attached in such a way that they could not easily be removed in the event that someone tried to steal the meat by detaching its tag and carrying the product through an RFID reader portal without that tag being detected.

With the RES system, the meat is stretch-wrapped after being processed. An Alien Technology ALN-9654 G ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 passive RFID tag is then applied after the first layer of plastic wrapping, after which the wrapping is continued with many more layers of plastic over the tag, thereby making it impossible to remove without cutting the packaging and thus rendering the product unsellable. The tag is commissioned when a worker scans the bar code on the front of the tag, which has the same ID number as the one encoded to the tag's RFID chip, which is also read at that time via a Motorola XR400 interrogator. The AIMS RFID-enabled inventory- and order-management system then stores that ID, along with the meat's size and production date.

When a restaurant places an order, that order is entered into the company's SQL-based management system, which shares that information with the AIMS software. Workers at the plant pick products from the freezer to fill the order, and load the boxes onto a pallet containing other meat for a specific order (typically, 125 to 130 boxes are loaded onto a single pallet). The loaded pallets are moved through an RFID reader portal, where the meat is weighed. The weights and unique tag ID numbers are then stored together in the AIMS software, along with other details, such as each item's description and production date.

Ensuring that the tags—which have endured the freezing process and are packed against meat—could be read was a challenge, Can says. The company developed an enclosed reader portal with doors on both ends to prevent stray reads from tags on separate pallets, which was set up in a hallway through which loaded pallets pass while en route to the loading dock. The portal contains two readers—a Motorola FX7400 interrogator and an Alien Technology ALR-9900+ model—as well as four Motorola AN 400 antennas attached to a rotating arm that moves the antennas around the loaded pallet to ensure that all tags are read.

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