Academic research is driving new use cases in the RFID sector. Already this month RFID 24-7 has reported on research initiatives out of the University of Cincinnati and the University of Pittsburgh that are destined to revolutionize the healthcare industry.
Now, the University of Dayton Research Institute is in the spotlight. The school, long a pioneer in RFID research, says that American Thermal Instruments of Moraine, Ohio, has licensed University of Dayton Research Institute researcher Bob Kauffman’s SMART technology to develop and manufacture monitors that will report unsafe temperature changes in products ranging from perishable items like fruit to train wheels while they are in transit.
Utilizing the SMART (Status and Motion Activated Radiofrequency Tag) system, monitors for perishable items such as food and medicine will be located in shipping containers for transport from production facility to distribution center to store shelf. Similarly, monitors for transportation applications will be attached to components whose controlled temperature is critical to the integrity of the vehicle.
A handheld scanner can be used at checkpoints along the way to quickly and easily check for temperature issues without having to open packaging. According to the University of Dayton web site, the RFID system could be on the market within 18 months, if not sooner. The company has already signed clients from the restaurant and transportation industries to use the temperature monitors.
“Temperature changes affect the taste, freshness, appearance and viability of food products,” says ATI president Randall Lane. “Every hour that a case of lettuce spends in temperatures that are too high means one less day of shelf life, which is significant for a produce company that ships more than seven million cases a year.
“But there are also instances where unsafe temperature fluctuations cause more than just expensive waste. They can be dangerous. For example, we monitor heart stents, which are made of metal. If a stent gets too hot in transit, it won’t open up and work properly once it’s been implanted. A case of vaccines worth millions of dollars can be rendered useless if they’re allowed to warm up for even a brief period of time.”