- Don Shook
CTI & American Thermal Instruments Partner to Bring On-Pack Freeze Indicator Labels for ‘Cold-Ch
BlindSpotz™ Provide Economical, On-Package Freeze Alert to Ensure the Quality of Food, Industrial and Medical Products
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado & DAYTON, Ohio - - Billions of packages each year of perishable, temperature-sensitive products wind their way through North America’s supply chain and confront every customer with a nagging question: Has it been affected by freezing temperatures in transportation or storage?
Temperatures below 32° F (0° C) can impact products as diverse as fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and meat, flowers, agricultural products, ink, chemicals, solvents, paint, medical samples, vaccines, food home delivery and certain types of mail or freight.
Chromatic Technologies Inc. (CTI) has invented BlindSpotz™, a new patent-pending freeze indicator label technology that can be printed directly on a package. If the temperature of the package drops at or below 32° F (0° C), a permanent colored symbol appears on the exterior of the package to quickly notify the supply chain that product has been damaged.
A partnership of American Thermal Instruments (ATI) and CTI introduces freeze indicators for shipping that can be printed economically on individual packages to help protect the brand and consumer of medical supplies and foods, while dramatically saving money by lowering product waste. CTI will handle the technical support for all on-package printing while ATI will manage the customer implementation of cold-chain monitoring and data in support of those opportunities.
The cold-chain market is expected to grow to US$293 billion dollars by 2023, a 54% increase over 2017. This growth can be attributed to the international trade of perishable foods, technological advancements in refrigerated storage and transport, government support for the infrastructural development of the cold-chain industry and an increase in consumer demand for perishable foods. Also, expansion of food retail chains by multinationals will enhance international trade and impact the growth of the cold-chain market.
The current cold-chain technology to record temperatures between 4°C (39° F) and -4° C (25° F) costs around $3 per device. CTI’s BlindSpotz™ freeze spot technology costs pennies per package. The CTI capability embeds the technology into an ink system that can be incorporated into the existing printing process for packaging. Now billions of packages of lettuce, strawberries, flowers, paint and medical vaccines can be individually inspected for quality and safety.
Patrick Edson, CTI’s chief marketing officer, explains that “Every packaging company in the world that supports food, medical and industrial clients just got access to a new pipeline of innovation to help their clients improve quality, safety and create a better consumer experience. It just requires one print station and the technology can be implemented.
“Freeze-sensitive prescriptions can now be sent by mail and it’s easy for patients to confirm the product hasn’t been exposed to freezing temperatures. It’s also a game-changer in saving money. Today, a single dose of HepB in the U.S. for a patient costs $700. If a hospital has 100 doses in a refrigerator that has a freezing incident, it is required to discard $70,000 in inventory. With the BlindSpotz™ on-vial freeze indicator, the doses can be quickly sorted into ‘O.K.’ and ‘FROZEN. DO NOT USE.’ If inspection finds that only 10% have been damaged, that’s a savings of $63,000,” Edson explains.
Randall Lane, ATI’s chief strategy officer, adds “Another big challenge is the reduction in food waste. Right now, if a truck delivering $50,000 in fresh produce is measured to be at 28° F during transportation, a customer’s internal policies will dictate if the shipment is rejected or accepted. With the BlindSpotz™ freeze indicator on individual packages or cases, the truck can be inspected and sorted.
“In this shipment for example, the technology may reveal that 30% of the truck’s packages are at risk, but the balance is fine. BlindSpotz™ prevents $15,000 in bad product from reaching the customer, but also saves $35,000 in good inventory being returned, dramatically cutting costs of product waste, out-of-stocks and logistics,” added Lane.
Extensive government regulations from the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture require cold-chain monitoring on any food and drug product affected by temperature. The ability to now record data and inspect at the package level is an economical, dramatic improvement in monitoring and reporting.Additional BlindSpotz™ technology for devices and on-pack printing is available to alert in event of thawing, warming outside of refrigeration specifications, high-heat damage, tampering and verification of high-pressure pasteurization (HPP).
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About American Thermal Instruments
ATI is the company that quality and logistics managers alike turn to as the leader in temperature monitoring, inspections and asset tracking. ATI produces custom temperature monitoring solutions for industries that require the most accurate and measurable systems. www.americanthermal.com
About Chromatic Technologies Inc.
CTI is the world’s largest producer of thermochromic ink and manufactures other environmentally reactive technology, such as photochromic, pressure activated, irreversible, reveal and glow-in-the dark. CTI is an innovation company that supports the world’s biggest brands and package printers. www.ctiinks.com
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