For a treat that represents carefree sunny days, ice cream sure is finicky. And that’s after it’s been crafted with the best ingredients, to the highest flavour standards. It’s delivering the ice cream where things can go wrong.
Ensuring one company’s trucks and drivers are meeting required delivery standards for perishables is a project the ARIS team was happy to scoop up.
Chris Zaal is a Research Associate with the Centre for Innovative Information Technology Solutions in ARIS. He and his colleagues were asked to come up with a way to track the temperature — and eventually a host of other conditions — on chiller trucks.
Building a truck brain
What they devised was the “black box” of ice cream delivery. “Our client, Routeique, is a logistics and supply chain company based in Calgary,” explains Zaal. “They needed a way to verify they were looking after the temperature of ice cream and other perishables the full way through the transportation process.”
Built from scratch in the ARIS labs, the truck brain sits in the cab of the vehicle and tracks the transport conditions of the ice cream from the warehouse to the final point of sale.
“The project was supported with a $25,000 NSERC grant to develop a prototype for proof of concept,” says Zaal. “The box received data from the chiller compartment, mapping a full shift of temperatures, so we could see exactly what conditions were present all day. Testing went really well.”
So well, in fact, that Routeique came back to SAIT for more. Zaal and his team are working on a second project for the company, diving even further into data collection to help supply chain manage product at peak freshness. “We’re also working on getting the truck brain to ‘talk to’ the in-cab printer, so the driver can print out available stock or the day’s conditions readings.”
The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are brought to you by delicious ice cream – and the data that keeps it fresh.
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