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Temperature measurement – it’s pallets not the air that matter

Brussels, Belgium:  Recording data at pallet level, not truck trailer level,  paints a more accurate picture of how a supply chain works and the quality of the actual product that cannot be accurately determined by visual inspection, says Erik Cotman, general manager at Intelleflex’s European office.

Intelleflex, a supplier of cold chain management solutions, expanded its operations into Europe in June of this year. Intelleflex provide devices that track & monitor the quality and freshness of fresh produce at the pallet level. Information captured by the company’s XC3 Technology-based RFID temperature monitoring tags gets sent into a system that analyzes the movement of goods through a supply chain in order to find ways of reducing shrink and also documents the quality of delivery.

“What we do is provide actionable data for the intelligent supply chain,” Cotman says.

“Our data loggers record things like temperature, humidity and vibration, and that information gets wirelessly transmitted into our system.” Because that information is recorded at the pallet level, the information recovered paints a more accurate picture of how a supply chain works and the quality of the actual product that cannot be accurately determined by visual inspection.

“It’s not enough to simply monitor the ambient air temperature in a trailer,” he said. “At the pallet level, we can see if a pallet was insufficiently pre-cooled and has a higher temperature that is affecting surrounding pallets. We can then triage that produce accordingly and prioritize the routing.” Knowing what’s happened to individual pallets of produce gives shippers the ability to prioritise the dispatching of expiring produce, cutting down on shrinkage and waste.

That’s the kind of advantages that Cotman hopes to bring to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the areas of which he’s in charge of for Intelleflex. He’s particularly interested in bringing together all parties involved in the cold chain in order to improve the system and processes.

“Besides adding the tags to the shipped items, we also  integrate  our monitoring devices into RTI’s (Returnable Transport Items) such as plastic pallets,” he said. “So, for the people who make those pallets, we’ve made them into high-value providers in the system. We did that in the U.S. and that’s what we want to work with people in Europe in that same manner. With its use of standard information protocols, the ease with which information can be shared with all stakeholders and the adaptability of their technology to many industries is vastly improved.” Cotman touted the universality of their system. He noted that everyone involved in the cold chain has to work more closely, and he sees the new European office as a step in that direction.

“The data we get is available for everyone in the supply chain, so the technology is there, and we’re now working with prospects throughout Europe to demonstrate the value,” he said. “By opening our office here in Europe, we’re now really looking for more cold chain and logistics partners to work with.”