RFID Tracking Reduces Food Waste in Ice Cream Production

Identification and tracking of leftover ice cream using a UHF RFID system maximizes food recovery and increases efficiency

Optimizing food production with RFID: The production of ice cream popsicles on a stick often creates waste and reject product that cannot be processed in the current batch. This food waste is often collected in containers and provided with a handwritten note stating the quantity, time and type - a solution that is definitely susceptible to errors. The manual identification of the food also makes it difficult to plan production reliably. It is often not clear what residual product is present and whether it can still be processed. The result is that the manufacturer often has to get rid of more ice cream than necessary.

Your Benefits

  • Food waste was considerably reduced
  • Easy installation thanks to large read ranges of the UHF RFID system 
  • Reliable detection of the container by means of position checks
  • Less manual control thanks to level measurement 

  • The RFID system constantly records the quantity of residue ice cream product in the refrigerator 

  • The weighing unit is integrated in front of the conveyor line and communicates directly with the database

  • The RU300U-M30M detects the level in the residual product container and indicates it using an LED light

UHF identification direct to the MES

Turck developed an identification system for the food manufacturer based on the Q180 UHF RFID reader. The RFID reader identifies the containers with the residual product with RFID tags that are stuck directly onto the containers. This makes it always clear which type of ice cream is present in a container and the time when it was produced. The reader communicates with the MES via its integrated Ethernet interface. An ultrasonic sensor detects whether a container is present on the reject slide and whether it is positioned correctly. Determining the position of the container ensures that the tag is read reliably despite the presence of a metallic environment and liquids. 

Container weight simplifies production planning

The containers are weighed during the production before they are transported to the cold storage room and the weight is stored automatically in the production system. The automatic RFID identification also prevents errors in food production here as well. The containers reach the cold storage room via a conveyor line where they are also identified in order to record the correct quantity of ice cream in the system. 
A Q180 reader bulk reads all the containers on a pallet when they are taken out manually. Although the Q180 has to be installed in a switch cabinet to comply with hygiene requirements, this does not impair the read/write performance of the reader because of its external antenna. 

Recording reject product to identify process faults

The full recording of the reject quantity for each type of ice cream and each process section helps production planners to identify weak points in their process. They are then able to optimize their processes and thus reduce energy consumption and food waste in production.

Energy efficient and saving resources

The system ensures maximum efficiency in the manufacturer's process and effectively prevents any wastage of food and energy. The deployment of personnel is also optimized since manual identification processes are not only more prone to error but also more time consuming.

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