ZMD AG, a global supplier of analog and mixed-signal solutions for automotive, industrial, medical, and consumer applications, launched the ZMD41211, its multifunction temperature logger and Smart Label RFID IC. The ZMD41211 enables logistics customers to precisely monitor and record temperature and humidity throughout the shipping process. Many materials can tolerate temperature fluctuations, but only for a limited amount of time. ZMD’s new RFID IC records time as well as temperature, so shippers can determine the total exposure. This avoids the necessity of discarding products that may only have been briefly exposed to temperatures outside the permitted range.
The ZMD41211 is cost-effective for all types of temperature or spoilage-sensitive products, from vaccines to vegetables. It has a built-in timer function that allows the user to customize the monitoring frequency. An on-chip temperature sensor and EEPROM allows the logging of time and temperature values during the entire transportation process. The RF interface is easy to use. ZMD’s new temperature logger complies with ISO 15693 RFID technology and can be read and programmed with existing standard compliant systems.
“For perishable products, temperature tracking is vital during the logistics process. Spoiled medication, blood bags or food can be extremely harmful if not properly handled,” says Andreas Heldwein, Business Line Manager Medical at ZMD. “We developed ZMD41211 with the idea that it be easy to use and to integrate, and tough and versatile enough for use in the real-world at a price which offers great value for money. It’s based on custom designs that we’ve been developing over the years. We’re now offering this proven RFID IC as a standard product for a wide range of applications.”
ZMD’s new RFID IC device is highly integrated. It has an on-chip passive transponder, temperature sensor, timer, and EEPROM. Temperature logging requires only a small external coil and a 1.3V battery. The ZMD41211 offers the lowest-cost recording solution on the market, and because it is fully wireless and ISO 15693 compliant, it is easy to implement in existing supply chains.
The ZMD41211 has 8 modes of temperature recording. It can be set, for example, to only record temperature values that exceed user-defined limits. This ensures that memory is not wasted storing data that is within the specified parameters. Alternatively, the device can log up to 720 temperature readings for a complete record of cargo exposure. The measurement frequency is programmable and data is stored in EEPROM so the device works well even in ocean-cargo applications. The chip is also re-usable. Once the data is read, it can be re-programmed to record new temperature information. The ZMD41211 is also highly customizable. Adding sensors, for example to monitor humidity, is easily done with the on-chip I2C bus interface.
User configuration and calibration of the IC is straightforward, and can be done wirelessly over the RFID link, which is fully ISO/IEC 15693 compliant and operates at 13.56 MHz with a range of 1 meter. This makes it compatible with virtually all RFID systems and easy to scan in a warehouse, truck or ship.
The 13.56 MHz RFID clock is also used as a synchronization source for the IC’s internal timer, allowing it to offer 3% timer accuracy without the cost of a crystal oscillator. Temperature readings are accurate to within 1°C over the full measuring range of -30 to +50 °C. With reduced precision, the device will operate to +80°C, ensuring control in all types of shipping environments.
The ZMD41211 is available as bare die at EURO 1.47 per IC in volumes of 5K. A packaged version will be available from 2009. ZMD also offers customization for high volume applications.
Founded in 1961, ZMD AG is a leading supplier of analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits for applications in automotive, mobile medical appliances, and industrial automation. ZMD specializes in the design and marketing of high temperature, high voltage and ultra low power application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and application-specific standard products (ASSPs). Its advanced circuit-design expertise allows it to offer ICs with operating temperatures as high as +160°C, and voltages from 0.85 V to 40 V. Headquartered in Dresden, Germany, ZMD has 270 employees worldwide and serves customers from the company’s offices in Dresden (Germany), Stuttgart (Germany), Newark (England), Milan (Italy), Paris (France), Melville (NY), Pocatello (ID), Tokyo (Japan), and Hsinchu City in Taiwan. ZMD has design centers in Dresden & Stuttgart (Germany), Varna (Bulgaria) and Madison (Wisconsin).