Intelleflex's new GPS RFID reader and Zest cloud platform can track the temperature of vaccines or food throughout the supply chain.
Data-visibility vendor Intelleflex
introduced a new GPS-enabled RFID reader and cloud database to monitor the
temperature of medication and food throughout the supply chain.
Launched on April 3, the CMR-6100 cellular multiprotocol reader and Zest
Data Services cloud platform enables manufacturers and health care providers to
safeguard food and pharmaceutical items from spoilage and send temperature data
to the company's cloud platform for analysis.
"By monitoring the temperature of the products throughout
distributionwithout opening or unpacking the containerwe can help record
actual time out of refrigeration or proper cooling, ensuring the efficacy
and quality of product through to the last mile," Peter Mehring, president
and CEO of Intelleflex, told eWEEK
in an email.
The Zest platform allows supply chain vendors to avoid the use of middleware
or on-site edge servers, Intelleflex reported.
A small application on the RFID device reads and tags the information, then
sends it to the Zest cloud database through a secure connection.
By monitoring the temperature in food, RFID
can help prevent disease outbreak
, according to the first quarter 2011
report "RFID-enabled Food Safety and Traceability Systems" by ABI
The cellular reader monitors the temperature of pharmaceuticals and food as
they progress through their supply chain, including sitting on the tarmac of an
airport, Kevin Payne, senior director of marketing for Intelleflex, told eWEEK.
For example, protein-based vaccines need to be shipped at 2 to 8 degrees Centigrade
to remain effective, according to Payne, who noted that these figures vary from
product to product.
"They have a controlled range," said Payne. "If it goes
[outside] that band, it risks the efficacy of the productit could make it
potentially dangerous for use."
Payne noted an example of patients given H1N1 flu vaccines that were not
stored at the right temperature. If doctors learn that vials were shipped or
stored improperly, they will consider the vials ineffective and reject them.
The RFID readers perform self-analysis and work with Proware's FreshAware
application to manage temperature data and storage conditions, as well as the
supplier and product performance, said Mehring.
The readers connect with Intelleflex's TMT-8500 temperature-monitoring tags
to help manufacturers, couriers, third-party logistics providers and health
care providers make sure the pharmaceuticals are handled properly as they
travel through a cold supply chain, said Mehring.
"In pharmaceuticals, we can see what's in the box effectively and
ascertain the core temperature in the box as opposed to the ambient
temperature," said Payne.
Often supply chains for food or medication lack network connectivity
throughout an entire supply chain, but Intelleflex aims to bridge this gap with
"The Intelleflex CMR-6100 cellular reader enables remote, unattended,
secure operation, installation at locations where network access is not
available or not allowed, and access to data from locations where data capture
was not previously possible," said Mehring.
An internal micro controller allows the monitoring tag to capture
temperature and waypoint data and block info from elsewhere, he said.
"The data store is always cleared by the micro controller when starting
the log to ensure no old data corrupts the new records," said Mehring.
Intelleflex's current readers measure only the temperature of food and
pharmaceutical products, but the company hopes to add indicators for humidity,
shock and vibration, said Payne.
The most important indicator is temperature, however, since some medications can't
be outside a refrigerator for more than a half hour, Payne explained.
In addition to pharmaceutical items, the RFID readers could be used to
locate patients in a hospital, according to Payne, who noted that hospitals
have a problem with patients disappearing or leaving the hospital without
approval. The readers can also be used to match mothers with infants.
More than 1.3 billion tons of food goes to waste each year due to
contamination or safety issues, according to the U.S. Food and Agriculture
Organization. The RFID readers can improve the quality and safety of fresh,
frozen and packaged foods while reducing waste and delivering track-and-trace
records in the event of recalls.
On Jan. 4, 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act,
which called for the FDA to shift its focus regarding food traceability to
guard against food contamination.