Network infrastructure for Cold Chain Logistics

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INDUSTRY BACKGROUND

The global improvement in quality of food and accelerated shipments are putting an increased pressure on cold chain warehouses and logistics management. However, improper freezing, storing and transport techniques drain moisture and ruin the texture of food products. Therefore, the warehousing and logistics industry pays critical attention to details on perfecting every step of the cold supply chain.

The two major challenges of cold chain management are prolonged heat exposure during loading and unloading, and condensation caused by cooling speed and the lack of airflow control. To compensate with these two challenges, all cold chain facilities and storage areas including refrigerated shipping containers, reefer trucks and freezer rooms are equipped with sensors and moderators to keep all goods at an optimal refrigerated state.

Project Requirements

Our partner in the warehousing and logistics industry is looking to install a network infrastructure to receive and upload data generated from IoT devices installed at multiple cold storage facilities.

Facilities:

  • Blast Freezers - Meat
  • Fresh Storage Room - Vegetables and fruit
  • Reefer trucks - Transportation units
  • Logistics Warehouse - Flexible transport for loading and unloading

IoT Equipments:

  • Temperature Sensor and Moderator
  • Humidity Sensor and Moderator
  • Airflow Sensor and Moderator

The requirements are:

  1. Portable network installed on transport vehicles
  2. Goods in transport have a higher risk of being damaged compared to stationary facilities, a portable connection is necessary to monitor and make remote adjustments in case of unexpected interference during transport.

  3. Easy installation and low energy consumption
  4. The network devices must be energy efficient and flexible to install in a flexible range of scenarios, including facility offices, reefer trucks and warehouses.

  5. Data encryption and network security
  6. Sensors and moderators will automatically adjust the cold storage area to optimal settings, however, damage or improper handling of equipment may render the moderator unable to maintain optimal settings. The network infrastructure must have secured network communication with our partner's application to make real-time adjustments, without exposing the network to external cybersecurity risk.

Solution

The network infrastructure consists of two stages - collect data from all IoT sensors and moderators in different facilities, and upload all data to the cloud network.

Stage one - Receiving BLE data packets Currently, all IoT equipment used by our partner supports the BLE protocol. We installed one GL-S100 IoT gateway for each independent refrigerated room to receive the BLE data packets. We selected GL-S100 IoT Gateway because it is a cost-effective device for mass deployment, and its compact design makes it flexible to install in all facilities including facility offices, reefer trucks and logistics warehouses.

Stage two - Uploading data and backup network After collecting the BLE data packets using the GL-S100 IoT gateway, the data is then transferred to our Cirrus GL-AP1300LTE access point for uploading the data to the cloud. We chose Cirrus GL-AP1300LTE because it supports both ethernet connection for stationary facilities and 4G LTE connection for internet failover or installed on transportation vehicles. The GL-AP1300LTE also supports a flexible PoE power supply and multiple VPN protocols for automatically encrypting all data transmission.

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