Track and Trace in Meat Production with RFID

Turck’s BL ident HF RFID system is robust and fast enough to track and trace the meat production in a Chinese slaughterhouse.

In a Chinese meat production plant Turck’s RFID system is showing that BL ident with protection to IP67 to IP69K can meet both the demanding requirements of the sector for a robust design as well as the fast read/write speeds required in the meat processing industry. The tags are integrated in the meat hooks so that they cannot be damaged and nevertheless read reliably and quickly.
  • The RFID tag TW-R10 is reliably protected in the metal hook against mechanical damage

  • TNSLR-Q42TWD with protection class IP69K is the ideal read/write head for use in meat production

The Chinese administration therefore decided to establish the supervision and tracking of meat production in China. It supervises the whole process from breeding, slaughtering, processing, distribution to shops, and enables the origin of the meat product to be traced so as to establish a food safety pre-alarm mechanism.

Customer requirements

As every piece of pork is hung on the same hook during the entire process it made sense to fit an RFID tag on the hook. This RFID tag takes over the information from the electronic earring of the pig’s when they arrive at the slaughterhouse.

Several read/write heads are installed beside the production line, which can acquire the information of every piece of pork along it. If quality issues are found already at the initial examination in the slaughterhouse, the relevant information is recorded in the RFID tag attached to the hook; and that piece of pork will also be diverted to a special storage zone to prevent any further processing.

The read/write heads read the data from the tag to track production in real time. At the final packaging stage, the pork information is transferred from the tag to a database and linked with a tag on the packaging.

Large ranges and high speeds

The key requirement when selecting the BL ident RFID system from Turck was its ability to read and write eight bytes of data on the fly, i.e. within the usual conveying speed. The eight connected read/write heads, other analog or digital signals can be connected to each BL67 gateway, acting as an RFID interface. If additional control points are required, both RFID modules as well as standard I/O modules can be added. This considerably keeps the costs per node to a minimum. The large range of the Turck read/write heads protects tags and read/write heads from mechanical damage.

LF and UHF solutions unsuitable

Alternative frequency bands such as LF and UHF RFID solutions were not suitable for the application.
Turcks RFID solution as HF frequency-band is perfectly suitable for the application, because there is no interference with other devices. Turck also developed the TW-R10 tag which can be embedded in the metal of the meat hook and thus be provided with reliable protection from damage.

Turck tags can store 146 bytes. Thus all the necessary information can be saved on the tag, which increases safety in the event of a database error. Turck’s HF system can detect the tags completely so that production is not slowed down through the use of RFID.

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