Smart crating: new terminology for an old conceptAnna Lee
Everyone has heard the expression “the world is getting smarter”. With the accelerating smart technology that includes mobile devices, wearable computing products and a variety of scanning technology, devices are able to hold or convey much more information faster. RFID technology allows information to be conveyed by proximity rather than requiring “line of sight” with a device. The smartness depends on the RFID tag, some tags will collect information and transmit, and others are passive and just transmit an identification code.
Bar codes and QR codes has helped make packaging smarter where a device can be used to scan the code and track information. The major shipping companies have been using this technology for years. In this case the package is really not smart as it is relying on the scanning device and the user to track and record. A QR code allows someone with a smart phone to scan the code and view a website that contains more information about the product in the package or even show a video.
People probably never used the term “smart crating” with wooden crates or wood boxes, but there are a number of devices that can be attached to a crate or package to make it smarter. These devices can sense shock, temperature, humidity, tilt and acceleration. Some devices are “threshold” devices where they indicate whether or not the package experienced a condition outside of a desired parameter. For example, a food company may want to make sure that the product never experienced a higher than recommended temperature during shipping and storage. A manufacturer of a delectate electronic device may want to ensure that a package did not experience a certain shock or humidity level.
Other devices are even smarter as they can actually record conditions that the packager deemed vital. These devices can supply a large amount of information. For example, instead of just knowing that a product temperature did not exceed a certain thresh-hold, one can get a detailed profile on the entire range and durations of temperatures it was exposed to.
Packnet sells such products called ShockWatch and are extremely valuable to companies that need to ship delicate products or monitor shock and vibration. For more information please see the Shipping/Handling Monitor section of our website.