DHL and partners develop RFID sensor solution for the pharmaceutical industry
Exact temperature control of shipments along the delivery chainBonn, 12/20/2006, 10:30 AM CET
DHL has developed a new, pioneering technology for the pharmaceutical industry which significantly improves the monitoring of temperature-controlled transports. A special RFID sensor tag controls and documents the temperature of items throughout transport. The measuring data are available at every read point so that senders, recipients and inspectors alike can check the condition of the products at any time. After all, fluctuations in temperature outside of the recommended range can have a negative effect on the lifespan of medical products such as vaccines.
The new sensor tag is a combination of temperature sensor and RFID radio chip. It permits continuous monitoring and recording of a pre-defined temperature range as well as read-out of the data at any time, without having to open the shipment. Thanks to the sensor's special design, it can be attached especially close to the product, not just on the inside of the packaging as before. In addition, the current lifespan of the product can be calculated and read out at any time. This was previously possible only at the end of a transport. "The RFID sensor tag enables us to offer a new, sustainable perspective, not only for the pharmaceutical industry but for all industries looking for a solution to the sensitive logistical task of temperature-controlled transports," says Dr. Keith Ulrich, Head of Technology and Innovation Management at Deutsche Post World Net.
DHL developed the sensor tag together with IBM and the pharmaceutical industry. The RFID sensor tag was initially tested by a pharmaceutical customer and recently successfully put into operation for the first time in the overseas transport of diagnostic material and vaccines. Elke Preuss, IBM Managing Director for Deutsche Post World Net: "This project demonstrates in an exemplary manner that RFID technology can do much more than just identify objects." The sensor tag is a further project from the DHL Innovation Initiative, a strategic partnership between DHL, IBM, Intel, Philips and SAP. Its objective is to develop innovative solutions to boost the efficiency of logistics chains.