UHF-RFID solutions for logistics units management in the food supply chain

Abstract

The availability of systems for automatic and simultaneous identification of several items belonging to a logistics unit during production, warehousing and delivering can improve supply chain management and speed traceability controls. Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a powerful technique that potentially permits to reach this goal, but some aspects as, for instance, food product composition (e.g. moisture content, salt or sugar content) and some peculiarities of the production environment (high moisture, high/low temperatures, metallic structures) have prevented, so far, its application in food sector. In the food industry, composition and shape of items are much less regular than in other commodities sectors. In addition, a wide variety of packaging, composed by different materials, is employed. As material, size and shape of items to which the tag should be attached strongly influence the minimum power requested for tag functioning, performance improvements can be achieved only selecting suitable RF identifier for the specific combination of food product and packaging. When dealing with logistics units, the dynamic reading of a vast number of tags originates simultaneous broadcasting of signals (tag-to-tag collisions) that could affect reading rates and the overall reliability of the identification procedure. This paper reports the results of an extensive analysis of the reading performance of UHF RFID systems for multiple dynamic electronic identification of food packed products in controlled conditions. Products were considered singularly or arranged on a logistics pallet. The effects on reading rate and reading zone of different factors, among which the type of product, the number and position of antennas, the field polarization, the reader RF power output, the interrogation protocol configuration as well as the transit speed, the number of tags and their interactions were analysed and compared.

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Published
2013-09-08
Keywords:
UHF, logistics, food supply chain.
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How to Cite
Barge, P., Gay, P., Merlino, V., & Tortia, C. (2013). UHF-RFID solutions for logistics units management in the food supply chain. Journal of Agricultural Engineering, 44(2s). https://doi.org/10.4081/jae.2013.301