In a blockchain, data is chronologically stored in blocks so that they are visible and understandable to all participants of a network. The technology allows involved stakeholders to interact without regulative intermediaries. Trust is built with cryptologically secured data being transparently distributed among network members rather than being stored in a central database. Changes to completed transactions can therefore not be made. Known from Bitcoin cryptocurrency, blockchain also has great potential for data management in supply chain automation and logistics processes to accelerate transport and shipping, prevent fraud and error, and reduce waste and costs.
RFID technology, more precisely RFID transponders (antenna, identification and sensor technologies connected on a chip), is suitable for determining relevant parameters in the delivery process. Fraunhofer IPMS Team Leader, Dr. Andreas Weder explains, »Our passive RFID sensor transponders measure physical parameters such as humidity, vibration, or temperature and transmit this information to a reader that also provides the energy. Because they are small, light, maintenance-free and do not require a personal power supply, these transponders can be easily integrated into different containers or carriers.«
Fraunhofer IPMS sensor transponders support the already well-established identification and shipment tracking of goods at any specific time as well as provide information detailing everything that happened to raw materials, semi-finished good and end products as they progressed through the supply chain. If data is stored in a blockchain, it is both reliable and traceable for all those operating within the supply chain network.
A proof of concept evaluation conducted in advance typically determines which sensor is suitable for a particular application. According to Andreas Weder, the environment, carrier material and antenna positioning play roles, as do the design of the RFID-Sensor-ASICs for various frequency ranges and the integration of data into existing systems. Fraunhofer IPMS experts therefore analyze application-specific environments and provide customers evaluation kits for individual testing. The Fraunhofer IPMS offer is completed with individual hardware and software solutions to ensure compatibility with existing systems and evaluate large amounts of data accumulated during long-term measurements according to specific requirements.
The experts of Fraunhofer IPMS look forward to meeting you at the 2018 LogiMat International Trade Fair for Intralogistics Solutions and Process Management taking place in Stuttgart from 13-15 March. We will be happy to welcome you to our Fraunhofer IPMS exhibition in Hall 4 at the joint AiM booth F02.