Chill-ID indicator is a cheap, easy to apply, intelligent label informing of a quality and lifetime of a product which it is applied to. The indicator reacts to these changes in storage conditions, which the monitored product reacts to. Therefore, it gives clear and legible information, if the product has been exposed to decrease or loss of quality as the result of being kept at improper temperatures during particularly long time. Groceries lose their quality according to the rule: “the lower temperature, the longer lifetime of a product- the higher temperature the shorter lifetime of a product”. Our indicator works just according to this rule.
Wide range of application and parameters of Chill-ID label
he simplicity of solution allows creating the whole range of indicators-based on the same set of substances- of different critical temperatures with the vast range of indication delay time- (i.e., the time after which, an indication of exceeding the temperature given will occur), and additionally having the time scale showing the length of exposure above the critical temperature. Critical temperature (the temperature which, after being exceeded, causes a response on the indicator) can be optionally set from the range 0˚C down to –18˚C. Delay time – the technology enables to work out systems that will take into account the time of exposure in the temperature above the critical one, really integrating the temperature over time. The longer time of exposure and the higher exceeding, the bigger signal- coloured stain (mark). It means that, the exceeding of, e.g., 5˚C during 4 hours will give the same signal as if exceeding 25˚C during 0,5 hour. Though there is a possibility –strictly according to the worked out solutions – of construction compound sensors (slightly bigger, on the common base, carrying more indicators of different critical temperatures), registering the temperature history of storage of the protected products far better. The times integrated may oscillate from a few hours up to a few days, and the works are being carried out on lengthening them (according to the market needs). Additionally the time scale allows for widening the information about the condition in which the product is, by indicating the length of exposure above the critical temperature.
Dynamics of indication on the time scale, similarly as in case of the time delay, strictly depends on the temperature at which the product with the applied Chill-ID label is kept. (Fig.) Thanks to this, a properly calibrated indicator for the particular type of product may inform of its quality and the real time of consumption usefulness. The length of the colored zone l on the time scale depends on the temperature difference ΔT and time τ of exposure of the product to temperatures exceeding the critical temperature (T0) and is given by the formula:
(within 0˚C to –18˚C range)
k – indicator constant, depending on the composition of the indicating substances.
In this way, the length of colored zone will be coding the history of the indicator, remaining at temperatures above T0 , but the indication of course can be the same for the time of 3 hours and ΔT 2˚C, as well as 0,33 hour and ΔT 20˚C (these numbers are just examples).
Matrix showing indication characteristic on the time scale i.e. the correlation of indication with the correlation between temperature and exposure time.
Label informing of product defrost
Short exposure to temperatures above the critical one, in this case 0˚C , does not lead to defrosting the product, therefore indication does not occur immediately. Indication will occur just at the moment of defrosting the product.
Label informing of the exceeding the expire date
Indication will occur at the moment of exceeding the expiration date, e.g., after 3 days at -5˚C, and after about 24 hrs at +1˚C.
Label with the time scale
The indication will occur on the time scale after the minimum exceeding of the critical temperature (e.g. -18˚C), but the progress of indication will occur depending on the correlation of temperature and time of the product exposure. The time scale may be divided into three stages:
ok – although the temperature has been exceeded the product is suitable for consumption
eat now – expire date is approaching, therefore the product should be eaten in a short time
do not eat – product has expired
Label informing of the exceeding the expire date
Designed for the combined packaging, for monitoring of transport processes and storage at the manufacturers, transport companies , distributors stores, etc. Indication may occur at different temperatures, for different delay times or in a few time scales. Matching the suitable parameters and versions will allow for adjusting the label directly to the kind of the product as well as the function and information that the indicator is to give.
Chill-ID indicator, thanks to the inventions applied in it, may be adjusted to monitor frozen groceries such as:
Frozen ready meals
Frozen ice-creams and desserts
Frozen meals based on potato
Frozen fruit and vegetables
as well as other products requiring storage at temperatures below 0˚C.
How Chill-ID works
Chill-ID indicators, which have been worked out by the three R&D units, and which are protected by the three patents, work on the base of enabling certain reagents to join above the critical temperature (indication temperature). These reagents are absolutely harmless to the health (accepted to be used in the groceries industry), therefore the contact with the sensor- even damaged- does not lead to any danger. The essence of working is the fact that, the reaction – which gives the coloured product – may occur only in an aqueous solution. Both reagents are diluted and placed in two neighbouring beds, where the two solutions are immobilised, which makes impossible for them to mix and create a colour. After freezing, the structure that immobilises the solution is damaged (it should occur in 1 or 2 hours of freezing), but the solutions are still kept in solid state, which still makes the indication impossible.
It means that activation (transforming into the state of indication) of the Chill-ID indicators occurs by itself, which is one of their biggest advantages. After exceeding the critical temperature, e.g. defrosting, and exposure at the given temperature during suitable time, the solutions are no longer immobilised and they can mix causing reaction, which gives the colour (visible in the window). Both beds (in the form of spots, stripes etc.) are placed on the base enabling their fastening to the package material, and coverage is made of artificial material with a transparent window enabling the reading.
after defrosting (at a given critical temperature) ice melts, water spreads resulting in joining the activating substance with the indicating substance, which produce a color spot or an expanding color zone.
Figure 1 a) and b) show the scheme of the simplest system, in which the moment of time delay (indication delay) is controlled by a presence (short delay) or absence (longer delay) of a thermal insulation element in the indicator base. Fig. 1 c) shows the model of the indicator with the time scale. Sizes of the indicators shown (single sensor) are: length – 30mm, width – 20mm, thickness – up to 2mm (in the place of the window, in others the thickness is about 0,5mm). Sizes of the window: 12x7mm or less without the time scale, 25x3mm – with time scale. The element of the base enables the application of indicators on a mass scale (it is self-adhesive).
Fig.1 The general view of the indicator: a) model with the time delay - top view, 3 stages: from the left: before indication, directly (with the constant time delay after exceeding the critical temperature), after longer time above the critical temperature; b) cross-section. Self-sticking surface is placed on the top - in the place of indication of the distance between the beds of the two immobilized reagents d, on which the delay time depends as well. Reagents beds are placed in the bulges in the covering element visible on the bottom. c) model with the time scale – top view: from the left: before indication, directly after indication, after longer exceeding of critical temperature. The scheme and technical details are temporary examples only.
The principle of indicator operation is based on the use of simple physical and chemical phenomena. Thanks to its simplicity the Chill-ID label may be called a genius solution. Simple and at the same time genius idea, which is used in the Invenview Technology, determines the greatest advantages of the invention, such as: low cost , self-activation, precision, reliability of indication and many more.
The main advantage of the Invenview technology enabling the wide use of Chill-ID indicators is the price of a single label. Thanks to low costs of materials and not-complicated manufacturing technology, the price of a single label in case of the simplest system is estimated on the level enabling its application each time on a single packaging (i.e. less than 1% of the price of monitored product for big orders).
Self – activation
One of the most important innovations is the use of immobilizing effect or encapsulation of water in a gel. It enables self-activation (indicator activates itself after being placed below the given critical temperature for the first time), which is one of the most important advantages of Chill-ID indicator. Thanks to this, the use of the indicator on a mass scale is simpler.
One should remember, that hypothetical situation may occur in the process of packaging of a product, when the monitored object (the product) at no stage reaches the correct temperature (the indicator does not activate itself and therefore it does not reveal danger connected with the state of the product) The problem though, may be eliminated by the use of a cooling element, which would automatically activate the labels in the indicators applying machine.
Indication delay time
Parameter defining the real threat of the quality of the product.
Technology applied in Chill-ID indicators allows for introducing and adjusting the indication delay time to users expectations (delay time should be adjusted to the kind of the product which is to be monitored by the indicator). The label may show only such exceeding of storage conditions, which really influences the danger and results in decrease in the quality of a monitored product, and therefore there will be no indication in case of any short lasting exposure to improper conditions, because such an event does not influence the quality of a frozen product.
Comfortable storage conditions
The storage of non-active indicators may occur at room temperature.
Long validity period
since its manufacturing till its application and self-activation – at least 6 months
preserving its ability to indicate – since activation till exceeding the critical temperature, at least 12 months
maintaining the signal – since first indication till observation by a user (consumer or professional) – at least 12 months
Time scale informing of real consumption usefullness.
Thanks to the technology used, it is possible to put the time scale on each label, informing of the condition and quality of a product. In the indicators possessing the time scale, the indication of exceeding the optimum storage conditions may appear just after short time, but the progress of indication on the time scale will in a clear way inform about the real date of consumption usefulness.
Chill-ID indicator is in the form of a flexible sticker with the thickness of about 0,5-1,5mm (in the thickest part of the label) and the area dimensions suitable to be used on packages (initially the minimum dimensions are defined on the level of about 20x20mm- it may vary due to work characteristics of the device, e.g., indicators of several of parameters). Indicator’s appearance enables its application on packages using the existing technologies of labels application.
Vast range of cooling and freezing temperatures
Invenview technology allows for “setting” the indicator on monitoring and indication of exceeding the critical temperature optionally from the range (–18˚C to 0˚C). Thanks to this, it is possible to choose an appropriate label for each kind of frozen products.
Possibilty of building optionally developed systems
The invenview technology allows for a “fit-to-purpose” design, i.e., designing an optionally developed indicator matching precisely its destination and purpose, as well as the user’s requirements and specifications.
Chill-ID indicator is built of safe materials, which are allowed for usage in contact with groceries. Even the direct contact of the substances being the essence of the label’s work with food or human body does not make any harm for the consumer.