Transformation of cold chain solutions using Digital Technologies
Real-time Cold chain tracking: Technologies have been developed to track the location and condition of goods, monitor the parameters like temperature, humidity etc. They also give alerts and warnings after analysing the patterns which will help to take preventive measures from a Control centre before the product is spoiled.
Intelligent Packaging Technologies: Intelligent and active packaging technologies incorporate communication and monitoring capabilities to traditional packaging. Intelligent packaging monitors the conditions outside the package as well as the quality of the product. It is more convenient for monitoring and provides better protection against tamper and theft. These technologies use wireless sensor networks for monitoring logistics, sales and consumption.
Self-monitoring tags: RFID has been used as identification tags for a long time now, but these can be additionally incorporated with sensing devices. These smart sensor tags have sensors for temperature, humidity, pH and gas sensors. The temperature sensors should be as per the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Remote sensing of product quality: Remote sensing can be incorporated with improved chilling technologies and rapid microbial detection techniques. With these technologies, shelf life and safety risks are assessed, and decisions are transmitted to the RFID interface. The remote sensing devices are also incorporated into various elements in transit such as trucks and containers.
Dynamic First Expired First Out (FEFO): Based on the deviation in the quality of the product as per the sensor data, the delivery order can be dynamically altered. Instead of just looking at the shelf life, the expected life during the transit processes will also be taken into consideration.
The cold chain supply needs strict monitoring, safe handling and timely decisive measures to ensure the quality of the product being received at the consumer end. Currently, the lack of effective solutions in this field is leading to huge losses in essential supplies like food and medicines.Hence, it is an immediate need to optimise the cold chain solutions using digital technologies to improve the longevity of perishable goods.