Tech start up Packwise has designed a new smart sensor, which will cut costs, improve efficiency, and boost safety and green credentials for Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) users in the chemical, food, and logistic sectors.
The new hand-sized attachment, developed over three years, is being tested by 25 businesses across Europe over the next five months with the aim of starting full scale production next year.
The sensor, which does not require specialist instalment, provides users with track and trace capabilities, automatic reordering, automated damage notifications, demand forecasting, theft protection via digital alarm, best-before date surveillance, and the avoidance of cross-contamination.
“There are an estimated 10 million IBCs in Germany alone and up to 300 million across the globe, meaning the impact of improved logistical capabilities will be huge for the chemical, liquid, and food industries, plus a great benefit for the environment,” said Gesche Weger, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Packwise.
“Smart Cap users are able to increase service levels to their customers because fill levels and overall stock can be observed, monitored, and replenished in line with demands while benefitting from optimised distribution and recovery routes.”
Smart Cap technology reduces expensive IBC losses, meaning the manufacture of more IBCs – a carbon-intensive process – is diminished, plus optimised transport logistics reduces fuel, storage, and idle unit costs.
“Our Smart Cap technology enables businesses to enhance pay-per-consumption business models and makes the whole chain far more transparent by creating a digital twin,” said René Bernhardt, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Packwise.
“We have been able to reduce the administrative burden with a greatly improved communication system that can be tailored to each business.”
Container and product data for each user is encrypted and transmitted to the Packwise Flow web application where it can be analysed, set to trigger notifications/alarms, and interfaced with a pre-existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system upon request.
The Packwise Smart Cap is easily mounted to combination IBCs of any type, including steel IBCs, and once the device is attached it is immediately ready for use where it will monitor fill level, location, temperature, and movement.
If the IBC can no longer be used, the Smart Cap can be removed without leaving any residue and then reattached to a new IBC.
Smart Cap battery life is guaranteed for five years if it is set at a transmission interval of once per day and it can be tracked in more than 170 different nations.
The Smart Cap is being trialled by businesses in the chemical production, chemical logistics, and food logistics sectors across Germany, Switzerland, UK, Netherlands, and Austria.
The Packwise team is set to begin producing tens of thousands of Smart Caps from the first half of 2021.