RFID Technology in Cold Chain Logistics

As the globalization of the world economy accelerates, the demand for response speed in the supply chain continues to increase, prompting the global logistics industry to continuously explore new technologies that can improve efficiency and service quality. Modern logistics makes full use of information technology to organically combine transportation, warehousing, loading and unloading, processing, sorting and distribution to form a complete supply chain. The fundamental purpose of modern logistics is to improve logistics efficiency, reduce logistics costs, meet customer needs, and increasingly show the development trend of informatization, networking, automation, functionalization, and standardization, among which informatization is the core of modern logistics. RFID will occupy a decisive position in the information construction of the logistics industry.

1 Overview of Cold Chain Logistics
“Cold chain” is a supply chain that controls the temperature, and “Cold Chain Logistics” refers to the temperature sensitive products in production, storage, transportation, sales, and all stages before consumption, always in the regulations under the low temperature environment, it is a systematic project to ensure the quality of items and reduce logistics losses. The current scope of application of cold chain logistics includes: primary agricultural products: vegetables, fruits; meat, poultry, eggs; aquatic products, flower products. Processed food: quick-frozen food, poultry, meat, aquatic products and other packaged cooked food, ice cream and dairy products; raw materials for fast food. Special goods: such as medicines.

2 Introduction to Cold Chain Logistics
Cold chain logistics can be divided into three parts: production, distribution center section, and sales section. The distribution center is based on the user’s order and sales forecast, carries out large-scale purchase, purchase, processing, storage, and then according to the customer’s order required goods and quantity, transported to the customer’s logistics place on time at the prescribed time.

Barcode technology is widely used in the traditional cold chain process. Bar code scanning effectively reduces errors caused by manual data processing and helps cold chain management, but bar code technology also has corresponding problems. However, barcode scanning always requires manual participation, which makes data collection relatively difficult, especially for retail stores that lack effective logistics facilities. Also due to contamination and deformation, the scanning accuracy of the barcode is reduced, especially in the case of continuous processing, the reading error rate will be higher. Compared with barcode technology, RFID technology has obvious advantages. Through RFID technology, we can overcome these problems and form a more complete distribution center.

3 Overview of RFID Cold Chain Logistics
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a contactless automatic identification technology. It automatically identifies target objects and obtains relevant data through radio frequency signals. The identification work does not require human intervention and can work in various harsh environments. RFID technology can identify high-speed moving objects and can recognize multiple tags at the same time, and the operation is fast and convenient. A basic RFID system consists of three parts: RFID tag, RFID reader and RFID antenna. Modern cold chain logistics is a temperature-controlled logistics. The application of RFID technology in this field not only requires it to exert its inherent technical advantages, but also to achieve the purpose of real-time temperature monitoring of the cold chain logistics supply chain. Therefore, adding temperature sensors to RFID tags can give full play to the technical advantages of RFID technology in cold chain logistics.

4 Application of RFID technology in cold chain logistics
RFID technology can identify multiple tags at the same time and is not limited to the line of sight, without manual intervention, and RFID tags have the ability to read and write, can directly read data into the database, and write the status of logistics processing to the tag for the use of the next logistics section is especially suitable for the environment that requires frequent changes of recorded data and information.

When the goods enter the warehouse, the RFID label is affixed to the packaging or pallet of each goods, and the specific information and storage location of the goods are written in the label; when the goods are out of the warehouse, the detailed information of the goods delivery party is written, and the an RFID reader is installed at the exit to identify and detect the circulation of goods in the warehouse. At the same time, you can also use a handheld RFID reader to quickly and accurately inventory the goods in the warehouse, greatly reducing the inventory time and improving the inventory quality. During the transportation process, labels are attached to the transit goods and the refrigerated trucks, and enterprises can monitor the temperature in the refrigerated trucks in real time and control them to ensure the quality of food. Retailers can also view cargo transportation in real time.

In the following, we will describe in more detail the application of RFID technology in each section of cold chain logistics.

5 Transportation sections of cold chain logistics
Transportation is one of the main functions of the logistics process and the core business of the logistics process. The quality of the refrigerated transport environment directly affects the success or failure of the entire cold chain logistics. Therefore, the rational development of cold chain logistics is largely determined by the transportation section. In order to realize the real-time grasp of the temperature change of the refrigerated truck in transit and control the temperature during transportation, to ensure that the goods reach the receiving point is fresh and safe, supplier companies use RFID temperature tags to replace traditional barcodes. The tag is equipped with an antenna, RFID chip and temperature sensor, as well as an ultra-thin button battery. The battery can last for more than three years, and the tag can be reused.

Compared with ordinary refrigerated trucks, transporting refrigerated trucks with RFID tags is slightly different. In order to monitor the temperature in real time during transportation, it is necessary to install RFID readers and wireless communication equipment for the refrigerated trucks. The reader periodically reads the temperature information collected by the RFID tag during transportation, and transmits the data information to the background through wireless communication technologies (such as GPRS, WLAN, etc.) for data processing. Through the collected information, the system can notify the delivery driver and management personnel of the abnormal information in time for timely processing and reduce losses.

6 Storage of cold chain logistics
After the refrigerated truck arrives at the supplier’s distribution center, it needs to be inspected first, and only after the inspection is qualified can the subsequent processing and production be carried out. The traditional inspection method requires the staff to check the goods one by one, and also needs to check the goods during transportation to determine whether they have deteriorated. Even if the barcode is used, the number of goods needs to be checked manually. Barcodes are scanned one by one in order to make a detailed comparison with the list of goods. This reduces the work efficiency of employees to a certain extent, extends working hours, increases production costs, and increases the risk of product loss. The company switched to RFID tags instead of barcodes, eliminating the manual scanning process.

The goods unloaded from the refrigerated truck are put on the pallet and transported by forklift to the designated refrigerated warehouse. At the door of the refrigerator, an RFID reader antenna is installed. When the forklift passes the door of the warehouse, the antenna will scan the RFID tag on the forklift without manual intervention, and pass the scanned information to the background to complete Inventory of goods. The management personnel only need to know the detailed information of the goods through the computer, such as quantity and variety. At the same time, through the temperature information returned by the on-board reader, the administrator can know in detail whether the temperature exceeds the standard during the whole transportation of the goods, so that the quality of the product can be judged in time to prevent the occurrence of quality problems .

Inside the refrigerator, multiple RFID reader antennas are also installed for it, so that the signals emitted by the antenna can cover the entire refrigerator to monitor the temperature in the refrigerator in real time. After the forklift transports the goods to the cold storage, it is placed in the designated location as required. At this time, the reader reads the RFID tag, reads the information such as the strength of the tag signal and other related information to calculate the current location of the goods, whether it is the correct storage location. If the goods are not in the correct position, the system can notify the administrator in time to adjust the position of the goods to avoid loss of quality.

7 Cold storage processing
According to the needs of production and processing, the raw materials are transported from the cold storage to the processing workshop. When shipping raw materials, the administrator does not need to check the raw materials one by one. The reader antenna installed at the door of the refrigerator can record all the outbound behaviors and automatically proofread the outbound tasks, which saves time and Increased efficiency.

The raw materials are sent to the processing conveyor belt in a certain unit, and the reader at the front end of the conveyor belt will read the RFID code information of the unit, mainly to obtain the unique code number of the unit that was stored in the refrigerated transport before this time. Convenient to associate with processed products. After the reader indicates that the scanning has been completed, the raw materials are placed on the conveyor belt for processing and production. The finished product after processing is also stored in a customized unit. The RFID number of the specified unit can be associated with the RUR of the transported raw material through the system to ensure complete traceability of the product. The processed finished products are transported to the cold storage for storage and waiting for sale. When the supplier receives the order information sent by the retailer, it must pick the goods out of the warehouse according to the information (commodity name, quantity) on the order form.

8 Cold chain logistics outbound operations
The supplier receives the retailer’s order information and prepares to ship. Similar to the storage operation, after applying the RFID technology, checking the information (to see whether the product name, quantity, etc. is consistent with the retailer’s order information) and the storage are also completed in one step. In short, in the entire process from storage to storage, after using RFID technology, the operations from loading to shelf, inspection and storage can be completed in one step, which greatly reduces the workload and saves time. Increased efficiency. And it reduces the workload of warehouse management and improves the storage safety.

Finally, distribution operations. After the goods are out of the warehouse, they are loaded with professional refrigerated trucks and delivered to the delivery point designated by the retailer. This process is similar to the transportation process. Distribution is the end of the supplier’s workflow. When the supplier sends the goods to the delivery point and the retailer passes the inspection, the supplier’s task in the entire cold chain logistics is over.

9 Cold chain logistics sales
In the sales stage, merchants can use the RFID tag quality traceability system to understand the status of purchased goods and help merchants implement access management for products. By using RFID, the labor cost saved because there is no need to manually check the incoming barcode. RFID can improve the inventory management of retailers, achieve timely replenishment, effectively track transportation and inventory, improve efficiency, and reduce errors. At the same time, RFID tags can monitor the expiration date of certain time-sensitive products; stores can also use RFID systems to automatically scan and bill at the payment desk, thereby replacing manual collection.

RFID tags are free of manual intervention in the tracking process in the supply chain terminal sales, especially in supermarkets, and can generate 100% accurate business data, which is of great appeal. RFID helps solve the two biggest problems in the retail industry: merchandise out-of-stock and loss (products lost due to theft and disruption of the supply chain). Research institutions estimate that RFID technology can reduce theft and cargo stagnation by 25%.

The convenience of reading and writing RFID tags can improve work efficiency and reduce labor costs; real-time monitoring and early warning mechanisms through the RFID cold chain temperature management system can reduce the deterioration of goods in circulation and storage, and facilitate the traceability of information. Helps identify responsibility for quality accidents; RFID cold chain temperature management system can realize end-to-end real-time monitoring and recording of temperature, which can improve the safety of cold chain food, enhance consumer confidence, and thereby increase the economic efficiency of the enterprise; The management system can provide comprehensive temperature data records to meet the higher-level “green food consumption” needs, and can establish a corporate brand image and enhance corporate competitiveness. It can be imagined that RFID technology is likely to cause a revolution in the field of cold chain logistics management of fresh food and become an economic growth point in the field of food logistics in the future.

HYAN SMARTECH specializes in the production of RFID temperature logger tags, please contact our sales team: [email protected]

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