Pleasanton, Calif. (Oct 18, 2023) ─ DeltaTrak, leading innovator of cold chain and supply chain management solutions, and the University of South Florida, were jointly issued a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the development of a robust, modular, product sensitive approach to monitoring and encoding the quality of perishable goods along the supply chain.
In a temperature-dependent supply chain for perishable products, also known as the "cold chain," different transportation temperature ranges are acceptable for various product categories. For example, fresh flowers, seafood, and most produce typically travel at temperatures between 36 and 46 degrees. While some less-sensitive produce, such as asparagus and avocados, may only require protection from extreme temperature variations.
Temperature abuses in the cold chain frequently occur, leading to increased food waste and safety concerns. Around 12% of food waste in the U.S. happens during distribution due to inappropriate refrigeration. Monitoring perishable products exposed to temperature variations along the supply chain is crucial to prevent shipping products with reduced shelf life. Current algorithms predict the shelf life of perishable products but don't comprehensively consider product and transportation quality.
“To address these issues, we created a system and method to estimate product conditions upon arrival at a destination and objectively quantify temperature management quality from harvest to destination,” said Fred Wu, DeltaTrak CEO.
The invention aims to enhance post-harvest monitoring and modeling of the perishable supply chain using sensors and analytics. It introduces a quality code for perishable products, which includes three key components: an initial cooling score, a transportation temperature score, and a predicted remaining shelf-life score. These scores are generated using temperature profiles and known effects on the product.
“The system includes sensors, processing hardware, and software to calculate the quality code, which is alphanumeric,” said Ismail Uysal, Ph.D., Associate Professor & Undergraduate Director at the University of South Florida’s Department of Electrical Engineering. “The quality code can be used to improve quality control during product inspection at destinations, pinpoint issues in the supply chain, and enhance efficiency with automated predictive algorithms,” which can include AI and machine learning based analytics.
For instance, it can tell if the product's quality suffered because it took a long time to cool down or because the temperature inside the shipping container was too high. Typically, experts would need to analyze temperature logger data to make such assessments, but with this quality code, it's easy to pinpoint supply chain issues.
The new system addresses the need to assess and improve the quality of perishable products in the cold supply chain by providing a comprehensive quality code that considers both product and transportation quality which will lead to reduced waste, improved product quality, and an increase in shelf life.
DeltaTrak is a leading innovator of cold chain management solutions, real time tracking devices and data analytics for temperature sensitive and other high-value commodities. Our Cold Chain Solutions are used by thousands of clients worldwide to provide visibility of domestic and international shipments. Contact your DeltaTrak account manager or call DeltaTrak Sales at 800-962-6776.
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, a high-impact research university dedicated to student success and committed to community engagement, generates an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. With campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF serves approximately 50,000 students who represent nearly 150 different countries. U.S. News & World Report has ranked USF as one of the nation’s top 50 public universities for five consecutive years, and this year USF earned its highest ranking ever among all universities public or private. In 2023, USF became the first public university in Florida in nearly 40 years to be invited to join the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of the leading universities in the United States and Canada. Through hundreds of millions of dollars in research activity each year and as one of the top universities in the world for securing new patents, USF is a leader in solving global problems and improving lives. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at www.usf.edu.