Archive for the ‘Restaurants/Foodservice’ Category

University of Dayton RFID research spawns temperature sensing solution

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Academic research is driving new use cases in the RFID sector. Already this month RFID 24-7 has reported on research initiatives out of the University of Cincinnati and the University of Pittsburgh that are destined to revolutionize the healthcare industry.

Now, the University of Dayton Research Institute is in the spotlight. The school, long a pioneer in RFID research, says that American Thermal Instruments of Moraine, Ohio, has licensed University of Dayton Research Institute researcher Bob Kauffman’s SMART technology to develop and manufacture monitors that will report unsafe temperature changes in products ranging from perishable items like fruit to train wheels while they are in transit.

Utilizing the SMART (Status and Motion Activated Radiofrequency Tag) system, monitors for perishable items such as food and medicine will be located in shipping containers for transport from production facility to distribution center to store shelf. Similarly, monitors for transportation applications will be attached to components whose controlled temperature is critical to the integrity of the vehicle.

A handheld scanner can be used at checkpoints along the way to quickly and easily check for temperature issues without having to open packaging. According to the University of Dayton web site, the RFID system could be on the market within 18 months, if not sooner. The company has already signed clients from the restaurant and transportation industries to use the temperature monitors.

“Temperature changes affect the taste, freshness, appearance and viability of food products,” says ATI president Randall Lane. “Every hour that a case of lettuce spends in temperatures that are too high means one less day of shelf life, which is significant for a produce company that ships more than seven million cases a year.

“But there are also instances where unsafe temperature fluctuations cause more than just expensive waste. They can be dangerous. For example, we monitor heart stents, which are made of metal. If a stent gets too hot in transit, it won’t open up and work properly once it’s been implanted. A case of vaccines worth millions of dollars can be rendered useless if they’re allowed to warm up for even a brief period of time.”

Hotels adopt RFID solutions to deter theft of linens and other guest room items

Monday, April 18th, 2011

RFID is helping hotel owners to limit shrinkage when it comes to linens like towels, robes and bed sheets. According to reports in Time and the New York Times, hotels are embedding washable RFID tags into towels that trigger an alarm when guests leave the hotel with a atgged item.

According to reports, three hotels in Hawaii utilizing the technology have dramatically reduced shrinkage. High cotton prices are driving the adoption of RFID-based solutions for this market.

Senate leaders urged to consider tracking technology in food safety reform

Friday, March 12th, 2010

The chief executive officer at iGPS is urging the U.S. Senate to mandate the latest tracking technology in legislation pending to overhaul the nation’s food safety law.

Bob Moore, chairman & CEO of iGPS, says that cost-effective technology that allows products to be traced through the U.S. supply chain might have helped contain the spread of hydrolyzed vegetable protein products contaminated with Salmonella.

The list of recalled products containing the contaminated HVP has now topped 100, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is expected to grow as the popular food additive is found in everything from soups, sauces, chili, stews, hot dogs, gravies, chips, dips and dressings.

“Fresh on the heels of the nationwide Tylenol recall, this HVP recall once again illustrates the need for tighter controls in the U.S. food supply chain,” Moore said in a prepared press release. “In this case, we see how one common ingredient can disrupt the nation’s food supply and potentially threaten millions of people. We hope this reality will hasten Senate consideration of product tracking technology and action on critically important food safety legislation.

The Senate has not yet scheduled action on the food safety bill, which the House passed overwhelmingly last year.

iGPS operates the world’s first pallet rental service providing manufacturers with lightweight, recyclable all-plastic pallets embedded with RFID tags.  Unlike the more than one billion wood pallets in circulation, the RFID tags in iGPS plastic pallets allow products to be easily traced at numerous points along the supply chain, providing a way to pinpoint and contain contaminated products.

So much for free beer!

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Those complementary beers at the bar might be a thing of the past.  A new RFID- enabled solution from Clear View Technologies is designed to track alcohol so specifically that it can register changes in bottle weight by 1/20 of an ounce.

Although the alcohol monitoring system is far more ideal for expensive top shelf liquors than a bottle of Bud, it could also be applied to kegs of beer, for example, to confirm that revenue matches the numbers of beers dispensed.  A keg of beer yields about 165 12-ounce glasses of beer. (See, I did learn something in college!) At $3 apiece, projected revenue from a keg is $495. A bartender could find himself in hot water if he shows significantly less revenue on a key that is tracked with RFID technology.

According to Clear View Technologies, the alcohol beverage operations of nightclubs, bars, hotels, casinos and sports venues have historically suffered from inventory and margin loss far exceeding any other business sector. Studies have shown inventory losses up to $37 billion annually, with pouring costs averaging 25 percent across the industry, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Clear View Technologies says its RFID-enabled BarMaster solution will increase the value of the business and yield a return on investment many times over by immediately reducing losses due to theft, shrinkage, sales fraud and improper free-pour behavior, while reducing time spent on inventory.