The VarioSens label should be launched within the next two to three months, according to UK packaging consultancy Pira, and will be targeted at products that can be adversely affected by changes in environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity.
The issue of counterfeiting and diversion has focussed the attention of the food and pharmaceutical industries on using RFID for preventing diversion of shipments and tracking inventory, but the latest product developments indicate the potential of the technology in making sure product quality is maintained.
The VarioSens has more onboard memory than KSW 's existing TempSens chip (1,024 bytes versus 292 bytes), which should increase the capabilities of the label. For example, this means that unlike the TempSens the VarioSens will not lose data if its battery runs out of power, and it will be programmable with a number of commands.
For example, this means that a time delay can be set for the start of monitoring, if this is not required from the moment the shipment leaves the facility.
The new device is also protected by increased security and has a battery monitor that can tell the user whether there is enough energy in the battery to let it make a trip or delivery. It is expected to cost at least $5 (€4) for orders of a million or more.
The VarioSens label will be made on roll-to-roll printing equipment at KSW Microtec's plant in Dresden. The antenna, battery and display are printable. The displays will not carry temperature information, just a simple 'use' or 'expired' notice.