Refrigerated transport tracking systems

HomePTO & Sensor MonitoringTemperature monitoring

Refrigerated transport tracking is a system that uses temperature sensors to monitor the real-time temperature data of a cargo storage unit. If a temperature change is recorded (outside of the allowed variation), the system can alert a fleet manager via a mobile data network (e.g. GSM or 4G LTE), who can respond immediately to correct the problem and maintain cold chain integrity.

They are normally part of a vehicle tracking solution (also called telematics) that uses GPS tracking for fleet management. Note that the temperature monitoring system will also double as a GPS tracker for location reporting.

Temperature monitoring solutions are just one part of asset tracking solutions that also record other environmental factors in real time such as humidity, depth, impact or air pressure.

Why is refrigerated transport tracking important?

Tracking for refrigerated transport is critically important for goods that are temperature-sensitive. This can include pharmaceutical drugs or frozen foods. These goods can perish and become unusable if exposed to the incorrect temperature for too long.

Benefits of refrigerated transport tracking include:

  • Assurance of correct operating temperatures during transit
  • Early warning of problems with a refrigerated vehicle
  • Prevent or minimise cargo loss or spoilage
  • Customer confidence and peace of mind that their product has been transported correctly
  • Efficient maintenance of refrigerated systems
  • Cold chain integrity for a variety of transport modes (rail, road, shipping)

For logistics and transport managers moving goods that need to be kept at a specific temperature (or within a strict temperature range) they use refrigerated transport tracking to maintain what is called cold chain integrity.

Cold chain integrity is the assurance that transported goods have been maintained at a given temperature for the entire journey, from the pick-up point to the delivery destination.

How does refrigerated transport tracking work?

In simple terms, refrigerated transport tracking is focused on maintaining the correct environment for transported goods. We are specifically referring to temperature but the sensors used can monitor other environmental factors such as humidity and depth.

To maintain the right environment for sensitive cargo, a battery-powered sensor is fitted to the container used to carry the goods (such as refrigerated trailers). This could be a regular shipping container (commonly used for inter-modal transportation) or it might be a refrigerated vehicle. These sensors are also a GPS tracker and come with exceptional battery life (some over 10 years).

The sensor connects to a network (this can be wired or wireless using Bluetooth, WiFi or a mobile data network) so that it can report temperature readings or generate alerts if the temperature exceeds acceptable parameters. This alert can be received on a mobile device (e.g. iPhone or Android) or sent to an online software service (ideal for remote monitoring).

What uses does refrigerated transport tracking have?

Refrigerated transport tracking is critically important to companies that transport sensitive goods. These are goods that require specific conditions during transportation to make sure they are not damaged, and arrive in perfect condition.

Types of goods that require refrigerated transport include:

  • Pharmaceuticals (e.g. vaccines).
  • Art, antiquities etc.
  • Perishable food (e.g. frozen goods or fresh fruit and vegetables).
  • Flowers

Suppliers/manufacturers — The temperature monitoring system offers peace of mind for manufacturers or suppliers to make sure their goods arrive in the best condition possible. It helps to minimise any loss or spoil, while providing assurance to buyers that the product is in perfect, usable condition.

Transport providers — A transport provider needs to offer clients reassurance that their goods will be transported in the recommended way. With continuous real-time temperature tracking transport providers can win more contracts, and provide a record of storage conditions for the duration that it was under their care.

Using geofence alerts, it can be determined when a consignment leaves the pick-up point and arrives at its destination.

Transport providers can also be protected from liability claims in the event that the receiver reports damaged or spoiled stock.

Purchasers — Particularly for high-value goods, a purchaser wants to know it has been transported by a carrier that provides a quality service, from pick-up right through to delivery. Knowing that the transport provider utilises temperature monitoring software and reporting gives them added reassurance they will receive their product in the best condition.

There are also applications for temperature monitoring outside of transport including farming where crops can be managed more efficiently with soil moisture monitoring.

Frequently asked questions

What is a temperature monitoring system?

Refrigerated transport tracking is a system that adds greater functionality to your GPS tracking software, and uses temperature sensors to monitor the real-time temperature of a cargo storage unit.

Does it report on open refrigerated doors?

An open door on a storage container or refrigerated truck can lead to problems trying to maintain the correct environment.

While a temperature sensor won’t detect an open door, an additional door sensor can be added to monitor this situation, and report it immediately when it has been left open for too long. This door open alert can be sent to a fleet supervisor (either by SMS or through an app for their Android or iOS device) or connected to an in-cab buzzer (for refrigerated trucks).

What is the purpose of temperature monitoring for transport?

Cold chain integrity is the assurance that transported goods have been maintained at a given temperature for the entire journey, from the pick-up point to the delivery destination.

What are the benefits of a temperature monitoring system?

Temperature monitoring can make sure temperature-sensitive goods are stored correctly while in transit to their destination. This can minimise loss or damage, and alert fleet managers to potential problems with their refrigerated transporters. Devices can also alert drivers directly using Bluetooth, SMS, email and in-cab buzzers.

Some temperature monitoring solutions can detect other environmental factors such as humidity, air pressure, depth and impact, for use in a range of different applications.

How accurate are your temperature sensors?

Sensory accuracy can vary depending on the device. For applications that require a very high degree of sensitivity, probes can be integrated, with a sensitivity of up to 0.250 Celsius. Talk to our sales team for more information.

What other data can temperature sensors report on?

Aside from temperature, sensors can detect location, movement history, depth, humidity, moisture and door open events. They can also integrate with other IOT technology for richer connectivity and contextual data collection.

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