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Passive RFID Temperature-Sensing Kit Allows Testing

Metalcraft's Temperature Sensor Kit enables systems integrators or their customers to test UHF RFID-based temperature-sensing systems for specific use cases, without large investments in software or integration.
By Claire Swedberg

"We've offered sensor tags for a while," Elling says. "What we found was [that] we had a lot of interest in them, but basically a lot of companies wouldn't know how the system would work in their environment." That made an RFID system a hard sell, he notes, for companies that needed financial support from management for an untried solution. "They needed the data, some testing, some sample applications to say 'Yes, this looks like it will work, now we can move forward to a larger project.'"

There are a wide variety of use cases, according to Jared Doerfler, Metalcraft's sales manager. But initially, he says, they tend to fall into three categories: cold chain management, emergency medical services and manufacturing. For cold chains, the kit can help users track the temperatures of products moving through distribution centers or warehouses, as well as when they are in transit. And for emergency medical services, the technology is being tested on fleets of ambulances to track the temperatures around some assets used to treat patients.

In manufacturing, companies want to ensure that their products are in the best environment, even before they leave a factory. For instance, one manufacturer is using the kit to track the temperatures of goods as they are stored, palletized and shipped from its facility. In this use case, Elling says, companies typically wish to have data that confirms temperatures never exceed specified parameters, and to collect that information automatically, rather than using a manual method of tracking temperatures. The system also works in the agriculture sphere, Doerfler says, for managing the conditions around food or feed as goods are harvested, stored, chilled or shipped.

"I think the kit will accomplish two things," Elling predicts. For one thing, he says, it will enable companies to start automating temperature-sensing as part of their manufacturing or supply chain processes. What's more, he adds, "I think you'll see a wider adoption of [RFID] for the transparency of sensor data related to goods or assets." That means businesses will be able to share their data with others in their supply chain, or with customers who will be purchasing products.

That greater visibility of data, Doerfler says, will be meaningful for multiple parties as temperature data is being automatically collected. "It will allow our partners and customers to make better decisions that will positively impact everyone involved," he explains. In the meantime, companies continue to bring new use cases to Metalcraft, some of which may not be feasible, though others might be. "It's interesting to see what comes in," Elling states. "There's a market out there... We believe this is a great kit to get companies going" with RFID.

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