The need for cold-chain capacity is growing, and so are the stakes for cold-chain integrity and quality assurance. As the food and pharmaceuticals industries work to meet rising global demand, the cold chain must add capacity while getting smarter to reduce waste, protect consumers, and operate more efficiently. The IIoT and cloud-based data analytics can help build a larger, smarter cold chain.
There’s no question that industry is placing more demands on the cold chain. The food and beverage industry is growing by 10% year over year , and sales of temperature-controlled pharma products are growing twice as fast as the pharmaceutical industry overall. The challenge is to grow cold chain capacity while improving cold chain integrity.
Currently, about a quarter of global food product and are wasted because of cold chain problems. This waste costs producers money, drives up product prices for consumers, and can lead to scarcity of food items and vaccines. Foodborne illnesses are another major concern. They sicken one in six Americans each year and put 128,000 people in the hospital. Improvements in temperature control and better data collection along the cold chain can help reduce those numbers.
Reducing waste, improving lives with IIoT
Refrigeration-equipment malfunctions, long wait times in hot locations like loading docks, and a lack of cold-chain resources in developing agricultural markets all contribute to the problem. Analysts estimate that solving these cold chain problems could save the food industry $150 billion a year in waste alone.
Wireless sensors can help by providing visibility at every point from farm to retailer. These sensors are small, inexpensive, and easy to use in packaging, shipping containers, trucks, and warehouses to measure temperature, humidity and other conditions that affect product quality. Because the sensors are always sending data to the cloud, managers can see current temperatures on their PCs or phones from anywhere, without having to wait for local servers to run updates with data from wired sensor systems.
Wireless monitoring systems can also send alerts when a package or piece of equipment is out of the proper temperature range. Real-time alerts enable managers to pull compromised product before it reaches end users, and to start equipment repairs as quickly as possible. These capabilities can reduce the need for costly, brand-damaging recalls later…
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