The traceability of food or sensitive goods as pharmaceuticals becomes increasingly important, especially in times of globalized markets. With modern technology, production and logistic within the food industry can be monitored, documented and controlled efficiently and completely. Sensors play a major role, since they provide information on different environmental parameters during production or transport of food. Fraunhofer IPM develops sensors specifically for the monitoring of food.
Sensory active RFID-tags as intelligent »goods companions« allow a complete monitoring of parameters such as temperature, humidity, light or the concentration of specific gases. If transport conditions are not met, logisticians can, via GPS tracking, actively intervene in the supply chain. In case of damage, the recording of the measured values at any moment of the transportation helps to find the cause.
Fraunhofer IPM develops small, light and flexible sensors for temperature, humidity, light and gas measurement, which can be integrated into thin and flexible substrates of adhesive labels. Communication and data transmission with the sensor takes place seamless via RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). RFID-Tags are semi-active UHF- respectively HF-RFID-Tags (868MHZ resp. 13,56 MHz).
Gas sensors based on the color change principle are also developed at the institute. The reaction takes place at room temperature. These colorimetric gas sensors are integrated on an RFID-label and follow the principle of color change materials as ph indicators. Metal oxide semiconductor gas sensors, normally used for gas detection, operate at temperatures from 350 °C and cannot be applied in combination with RFID technology, since the high temperatures require too much energy and would also cause the plastic labels to melt.