Are you engaged in the cold chain business? If you are, then your top priority is always to bring your perishable or frozen goods to the market in the best condition. Cold chain is key to the food industry and a very crucial element in the whole cycle of food marketing and consumption. Food safety, keeping food of the highest quality and avoiding food waste can only happen when you have a robust cold chain. This is why many companies have invested heavily on cold chain logistics.
Here’s the good news: with the Internet of Things, smart logistics make cold chain monitoring easier, less expensive and absolutely more efficient. Where before, monitoring the temperature of mobile freezers during transport was done manually, today, IoT makes it possible to remotely monitor and control temperature. This ensures that products reach the market in peak condition.
Cakes and pastries delivery in Zaragosa
A good example of IoT being utilized for cold chain logistics is that of a bakery and pastries company in Zaragoza, Spain. “Tahona Goyesca” is popular for its freshly made breads and cakes and people actually line up to buy their products. The company built four production lines across the city from which its products are delivered to a number of retail shops. The challenge is to make thirty deliveries daily without spoilage, much less a dent on the cakes. Deliveries are made early in the morning and reach the shops just as when people are lining up to buy their delicious fare.
Delivering fresh food efficiently and on time can be challenging in terms of logistics. What Tahona Goyesca did is to develop a Smart Tracking technology for its fleet of refrigerated delivery van. Smart systems allow remote temperature controlling and tracking. It uses a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) system to monitor the exact longitude and latitude position of each delivery van and acquire real-time reports on the status, including temperature, network signal and battery. All information are sent to the central dispatching office from which all deliveries are tracked using a digital map. The system can be accessed via 7a mobile phone connected to the Internet.
Smart Tracking of Deliveries
Tracking the binomial energy consumption as accurately as possible is very important for Tahona Goyesca as any change in temperature can immediately have an effect to the quality of its products. So it makes sure that all information about each delivery van comes in every three minutes. What the Smart Tracking technology does is to synchronize the temperature in the refrigerator, the position of the van, the battery level and 3G signal every 3 minutes. During these 3-minute intervals, the device automatically goes to sleep mode to save on battery. And because deliveries are made only at a particular time of the day, like 5am till lunch time, all sensor nodes in the delivery vans are on hibernation mode until the next delivery.
While initial cost of the entire system can be relatively high, the long-term benefit and ROI make it all worth it. Costs would include the installation of a system of sensors, called nodes, for each vehicle so that it can be tracked through a wireless gateway. For Tahona Goyesca, Each node device has 4 components: the temperature sensor, the GPS module with antenna, 3G antenna, and car battery charger. What’s good about this tracking device is that it can be charged through the cigarette lighter socket of the vehicle and once charged, it can transmit data to the central system even when the engine is turned off.
Laura Lumbreras, Customer Service Manager at Tahona Goyesca, emphasizes the importance of real-time tracking for its delivery system, noting that cakes are one of the most delicate goods to transport and immediate response to any delay or failure in the system is critical before the cake gets ruined.