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RFID temperature dataloggers


Key words RFID, identification, temperature, radio frequency identification, food logistic, temperature monitoring
Latest version 2011/05/04
Completed by FRIP

How does it work?

Primary objective RFID technology is used in food industry for speed and easy identification of food during transport and other logistic operations. Active RFID tags can measure and log e.g. the temperature history of food product in the food supply chain.
Working principle Generally an RFID tag is usually in the form of a sticker, card, ticket, glass bead or button. Inside, there is an integrated circuit (chip) for information storage, processing of modulating and demodulating a radio-frequency and for other special functions. The other important part is aerial. Chip can contain 96bit unique number, which can have the particular type of goods. This number is assigned centrally to the producers in individual rows. There must be declared unique (Electronic product Code-EPC). The main difference opposite to barcode technology is that this chip can contain more information about product. They can be saved by the user in internal memory of the chip. For reading and writing of the information of tag a reader equipment is required. It communicates with the tag via radio waves. Energy for transmission of data is inducted by the reader at the aerial. There is not necessary to have a direct line of sight between a reader and the tag to read the tag [5,6].

There are two basic types of the tags, passive and active. The active opposite to the passive tags have internal power source. They can measure e.g. temperature at time and save this temperature history to the internal memory. Parameters of the record of data (e.g. time step) are adjusted by the reader which is connected to a PC. This tag can be used for measurement of temperature history in the food supply chain [9]. There can be optimized logistic operations on base of data from tags. Safe food products are the result of using this technology. The tag can contain also the kinetic calculation for digital shelf life estimation. On the market passive tags also exist for measurement of temperature but they measure only when they are near the reader equipment.

Additional effects logistics
Important process parameters There are several frequencies which are used for communications (125-134.2 kHz, 140 – 148.5kHz, 13.56 MHz and other). It depends on using a local standard. Temperature.
Important product parameters Communication frequencies. Differences are also at size of memory for record of time and temperature data, ambient pressure range, temperature measurement range, accuracy , shelf and usage life, flexibility, waterproof

What can it be used for?

Products without restriction
Operations storage, distribution, transport
Solutions for short comings Active tag can substitute conventional data loggers which are bigger and there is not the wireless communication between reader and device. The data can be easy and quickly read. The tag can be directly part of a package.

What can it NOT be used for?

Products without restriction
Operations without restriction (conditions during operations have to be in range of parameters of RFID tag)
Other limitations There can be problem with reading of data when you have more tags together near the reader equipment. Cost is one of the current restrictive factors for RFID temperature tracking implementation in real-life supply chains. Tagging should be done at the transport-unit level.
Risks or hazards No


Maturity Technology is normally used mainly by bigger companies.
Modularity /Implementation Yes, this technology can be easily implemented. Here wouldn’t be problem with combination with other wireless technology (each has own communication protocol and frequency).
Consumer aspects Every RFID has own unique code and it would be possible to track the consumer, possibly leading to privacy issues
Legal aspects No special legislation is necessary
Environmental aspects Passive RFID tags can be embedded in a variety of materials for attaching to packages. Tags are recycled with packaging waste according to the respective recycling system and regulation. The presence of RFID tags in recovered paper and board will increase metal contents of recovered fiber and increase adhesive contamination. Based on the recent studies the presence of metal in waste byproducts resulting from RFID tags is unlikely to exceed regulatory thresholds. Active tags have internal battery. For some models there is possible replace it, but for other no. After discharging it has to be recycled.

Further Information

Institutes International RFID Laboratory
Companies Sealed Air Corp., OMEGA Engineering, Alien Technology, LUX-IDent
References [1] Amador, C., Emond, J. P (2010): Evaluation of sensor readability and thermal relevance for RFID temperature tracking, COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS IN AGRICULTURE, volume 73 (1), 84 – 90

[2] Institute of Food Technologists/Food and Drug Administration (2009): Traceability (Product Tracing) in Food Systems, Technical Report, volume 2

[3] Kumar P., Reinitz H.W., Simunovic J., Sandeep K.P., Franzon P.D. (2009): Overview of RFID Technology and Its Applications in the Food Industry, Journal of Food Science, 74 (8), R101–R106

[4] Patrick J. Sweeney (2005): RFID For Dummies, Wiley Publishing, Inc

[5] Pesek D. (2010): RFID – radiofrequency identification: Reason for fear?, Publication of Czech technological platform for food, volume 1

[6] RFID Journal. (2009). “The Basics of RFID Technology.”

[7] Ruiz-Garcia L., Lunadei L., Barreiro P., Robla JI (2009): A Review of Wireless Sensor Technologies and Applications in Agriculture and Food Industry: State of the Art and Current Trends, SENSORS , Volume 9 (6), 4728-4750

[8] Wang TM., Zhang JA., Zhang XS (2010): Fish product quality evaluation based on temperature monitoring in cold chain, African Journal of Biotechnology, volume 9 (37), 6146-6151

[9] Zhang J., Liu L., Mu WS., Moga LM., Zhang XS (2009): Development of temperature-managed traceability system for frozen and chilled food during storage and transportation, JOURNAL OF FOOD AGRICULTURE & ENVIRONMENT, Volume 7 (3-4), 28-31


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Created by IeselVdP on 23 September 2011, at 11:24