Motor carriers with temperature-sensitive freight have become acquainted this year with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the law that gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) broad authority to regulate the supply chain of perishable goods.
One of the concerns about the new FSMA regulations is that data interoperability between shippers, carriers and receivers will cause unnecessary cargo claims, says Colin Warkentin, chief technology officer of Digi International.
The primary source of data interoperability, he explains, is temp records from the data loggers that shippers place in loaded products not matching the data carriers pull from their reefer units and trailer tracking systems.
When these mismatches occur “the finger pointing starts,” he says. Chain of custody is another point of contention, as the data trail may not clearly show when a shipment officially begins and ends.
To solve these supply chain challenges, Digi developed a platform called Digi SafeTemps and recently announced the Digi Data Logger. The patented wireless temperature monitoring and tracking system works by attaching one or more Data Loggers — a small chip-sized sensor — to shipment packaging or pallets, or by placing them in direct contact with product.
Digi Data Logger reduces the risk of machine and human error with real-time temperature monitoring and tracking via an always-on sensor and up to six months of onboard storage, the company says.
The wireless Digi Data Logger sensors are offered as part of the subscription-based Digi SafeTemps system, which includes a wireless Digi gateway device that quickly mounts to a trailer, a warehouse, dock door or other exchange points in a supply chain. The gateway sends the sensor data to a cloud-based platform. Approved smartphone apps can also read Digi Data Logger sensors and send data to the cloud platform.
All of the components work together to allow temperature data to be monitored, logged and retrieved independent of the mode of transport.
Data transmission is capable of adjusting to various environments to take advantage of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or LTE/3G cellular networks. Hardware and software are included as part of the subscription, requiring no capital expense, the company says.
With the addition of the Data Logger on-product monitoring to the Digi SafeTemps system, Digi says the technology provides a single source of consistent, accurate real-time temperature monitoring from the warehouse to the trailer and to locations where products are routed.
As a Data Logger sensor comes into range of the Digi gateway — or a smart device with an authorized Digi SafeTemps application — real-time visibility is available through the cloud platform, with approval or warnings based on the required temperature parameters of the shipment.
Upon arrival, the Digi Data Logger is pulled from the crate or pallet initiating a motion-sensed trigger to automatically transmit all recorded information to upload, and ending the trip record.