Tracking and tracing in the food industry has been made easier with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. However, these tags can only be placed on certain items, leaving some dispensary products without a tracking method. How can you track how much of a liquid is dispensed? A few businesses have figured it out, with technology that is changing the food and drug dispenser markets. Here’s a look at how hand sanitizer and soda have become the cutting edge in dispenser technology in 2011.

Hand Wash Count

Drug resistant bacteria are the current thorn in the side of the medical field, as institutions try despearately to curb the transmission of pathogens from one patient to another through the unwashed hands of hospital workers. Many have institutes mandatory hand sanitizing programs, but it is difficult to determine just how effective these programs are. The makers of Purell hand sanitizer, GOJO, decided to remedy the situation without posting someone’s mother outside of each patient room to ask, “did you wash your hands?”

Each Purell dispenser contains an RFID tag that is paired to chips issued to the staff in the form of bracelets or badges. The dispenser works like a touchless soap dispenser. You must wave your hand in front of it to get the gel. However, in the new Purell dispensers, the RFID tag inside logs the signal from the chip on the badge or bracelet nearby. In this way, the hospital can log which dispensers are used, how often and also determine which staff are complying with policy and which need a refresher course in hand sanitizing.

Soda Tracking

Coke has taken the food dispenser to another level with the RFID technology. Each cup in the machine has an RFID chip to track the number used, but so does the packets of Coke flavoring and carbonated water. When a drink is dispensed, the RFID system tracks which drinks are requested, the amount of flavoring and water used as well as the number of cups. Coke goes further than Purell, installing Wifi technology so that the information inside the machine can be transmitted to the machine’s caretaker to monitor. In this way, the machine can be restocked before the end of the flavoring bag or cup stack, eliminating an unsatisfied customer.

This track and trace technology has ramifications in the food and drug industries in tracking the supply and securing it as well.

Eagle Technologies group is an industry leader in the design and installation of factory automation systems worldwide.