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Advantech’s Uninterrupted Cold Chain Management Solution: Ensuring Optimal Food Safety

2/13/2020
Photos provided by Advantech 

Interview with David Yang, Intelligent Logistics SRP Product Manager, Advantech

Introduction

Often unnoticed by customers, temperature monitoring and data recording for frozen and refrigerated food is essential for supermarkets complying with food safety and sanitation regulations. To ensure food safety and freshness, many companies in the food distribution industry have adopted IoT technology to avoid human and data-based errors. Hypermarket leader, one of the biggest hypermarket chains in Taiwan, implemented Advantech’s uninterrupted cold chain management solution for optimal quality assurance and food safety.

Realizing farm-to-table freshness

Temperature monitoring and data recording are vital in all aspects of cold chain management, including transportation, storage, and retail. Traditionally, these tasks were handled manually by staff. However, as human error cannot be completely ruled out, food safety may be at risk. With the advent of IoT technology, the possibility of human error is effectively eliminated: TREK-120 LoRa cold chain sensors are used to detect temperature and humidity levels and related data is uploaded to the WISE-PaaS cloud for real-time monitoring and management.

With its uninterrupted cold chain management solution, utilizing the industrial IoT cloud platform WISE-PaaS as a backbone for superior hardware and seamless communication, Advantech assisted hypermarket leader in fulfilling its promise to provide customers with farm-to-table freshness. According to David Yang, Intelligent Logistics SRP Product Manager at Advantech, hypermarket leader implemented the solution throughout its logistics operations, production and dispatch centers, and retail locations to precisely monitor temperature and humidity levels in all stages of production, transportation, and storage to comprehensively ensure food safety and sanitation.

Advantech’s TREK-120 LoRa sensors of fered hypermarket leader outstanding flexibility as well as other key features such as easy installation using magnetic and adhesive backing, wireless capabilities with long battery life, strong signal strength with high penetration by LoRa technology, and an IP65 rating for water and dust resistance.

The TREK-120 LoRa sensors could be placed at hot spots, entrances, and any other location in freezers and refrigerators throughout food factory production centers, cold rooms, dispatch centers, refrigerated trucks, and retail stores to monitor temperatures and humidity during transportation. TREK-120 sensors were paired with a LoRa gateway or NFC reader so staff could easily upload data to the cloud, instantaneously, with the push of a button.

“With WISE-PaaS cloud, all data collected by TREK-120 sensors is visualized on a cold chain management dashboard in real-time,” David pointed out. Notifications and alert reports are sent to the cold chain dashboard, as well as related staff and supervisors, showing events such as unusual temperature fluctuations and device malfunctions for instant crisis management. Hypermarket leader also connected their KPI score system to WISE-PaaS, encouraging staff to actively enhance their cold chain management.

More marketing resources and bonuses were rewarded to stores with higher KPI scores. Seamless management of food safety and sanitation, a top priority for hypermarket leader, was thus made possible by Advantech’s uninterrupted cold chain management solution with its superior IoT cloud platform and outstanding product design and supports.

AI meets cold chain management

After hypermarket leader’s implementation of Advantech’s cold chain management solution, the notification rate was high when freezers and refrigerators activated their defrost function because this was seen as a fluctuation in temperature.

“Defrost functions may vary depending on the brand of freezer and refrigerator and cause various issues related to temperature fluctuation,” David explained. This is because TREK-120 sensors in freezers and refrigerators are often located at the air vents, which feature the highest temperature point in the fridge and may not reflect the actual temperature of the food.

“This was a great opportunity for Advantech to introduce its powerful AI technology,” said David. After understanding hypermarket leader’s needs, Advantech developed an industry-leading AI defrost mechanism able to pinpoint defrost functions and timing for various brands of freezers and refrigerators, thereby eliminating unnecessary temperature fluctuation notifications when defrost functions are activated. AI can also be applied in the monitoring of noise, electric current, and voltage levels of refrigerators and freezer compressors using related data to forecast maintenance, repair, and malfunctions. This helps management prepare for any unforeseen circumstances.

The application of IoT technology offers unlimited opportunities. Advantech’s commitment to ensuring food safety and sanitation is fully demonstrated by its uninterrupted cold chain management solution— del ivering easy installat ion, superior hardware, a complete IoT cloud platform, and uninterrupted monitoring and management. With every stage of cold chain logistics carefully monitored and managed, consumers enjoy farm-to-table freshness with peace of mind.