ESCATEC is building nearly a third of a million temperature monitors a year for Berlinger & Co. of Switzerland. The monitors, which cost a few dollars each depending on the model, monitor the temperature of goods in transit and storage to ensure that they have not been subjected to temperatures that are outside of pre-set boundaries.
A key use is for medical supplies such as vaccines and drugs that can spoil if exposed to the wrong temperatures while in the logistics chain. This is particularly important for the "last mile" at the end of the distribution network, which may be in a rural location in the tropics where it is hard to ensure that storage temperatures are maintained. Other temperature-sensitive markets include foods such as ice cream and even beer. The devices are very small—similar to a stack of six or so credit cards, which means that they can be deployed covertly if required as a double check of the records of the logistics agent.
"We went to ESCATEC with an initial prototype," explains Corneliu Tobescu, Production and Innovation Manager at Berlinger. "The R&D team in ESCATEC Malaysia then designed it for high-volume manufacture in ESCATEC's Malaysian facilities. We are very impressed with the way that they considered all the aspects from the availability and sourcing of components right through to ensuring that the device used the minimum amount of labor to assemble. As these are one-time use, disposable devices, it is vital to keep the manufacturing costs as low as possible. But, on the other hand, they must be very reliable as they must function properly—lives depend on vaccines not being spoilt in transit."