Temperature Sensors Down Under

By Bob Violino

Global Licensing & Innovation will resell KSW Microtec's low-cost, RFID TempSense labels in Australia and New Zealand.


June 5, 2003 – Smart label specialist KSW-Microtec has signed an exclusive reseller deal covering Australia and New Zealand for its integrated RFID temperature sensor label.

GL&I’s Beggs with a TempSense label

Global Licensing & Innovation, a technology- oriented business unit of Carter Holt Harvey (which itself is a subsidiary of International Paper) will resell KSW’s TempSense label to the region’s perishable goods industries. GL&I plans to integrate the labels with its existing packaging business. It will also sell the tags separately, or with consulting services.

The TempSense label was launched last July (see New Low-cost Temperature Sensor). It’s the size of a credit card, operates at 13.56 MHz and is compatible with the ISO 15693 standard. The sensor, microchip, battery and antenna are all integrated into the label.

The device tracks the storage temperature of perishable goods as they travel through the supply chain. The labels can be attached or inserted into a shipment or pallet-load of perishable goods as it leaves the farm gate, wharf or packinghouse.

The TempSense label’s wireless capabilities are essential, according to Peter Beggs, GL&I’s general manager. “The real value comes from being able to read temperature information through the shipping box or carton using non-line of sight technology,” he says.

Most existing solutions placed inside shipping packaging can only be checked after the shipping container has been opened and the produce unloaded, according to Beggs. “It’s after-the-fact checking, and by then it’s too late,” he says. “This technology virtually eliminates that uncertainty as temperature reading technology can be distributed at predetermined points throughout shipment process.”

Melbourne, Australia-based GL&I says it will begin offering the new services in a month’s time, although it is still evaluating readers to deploy alongside the KSW labels. “We’re looking for vendors that can provide sufficient support and back-up in the Southern Hemisphere,” says Beggs. GL&I is also set to partner with an Australian software company to deliver a Web portal application that will collate information from the readers and make it available over the web.

So far, the TempSense labels are being used in three trials down under. Companies are using them to track the temperature of fruit, confectionery and pet food. Each trial is currently using less than a thousand labels.

Dresden, Germany-based KSW maintains that its temperature tracking labels greatly undercut traditional time temperature integrators, which cost around $25 each. “When we get to 1 million tags, pricing will be around US$2.50 each, says Eitan Avni, KSW’s director of business development. “But the ultimate goal is around $1.” — Jonathan Collins

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