Item-level cold chain monitoring, another cool NFC solution

Item-level cold chain monitoring, another cool NFC solution

Cold chain goods – fresh food, cut flowers, and certain medical products – need to be kept at low temperature from source to shelf and beyond. If not properly stored, fresh foods spoil more quickly and temperature-sensitive pharma products become less stable and potentially life-threatening.

While we can check the freshness of food by touch and smell, this not possible with pharma products like blood, stents, chemical resins and drugs. Furthermore, pharma temperature monitoring is only regulated via GDP (Good Distribution Practices) from manufacture to delivery at a pharmacy or hospital. Handling and storage by the patient is not regulated.

In addition, existing temperature monitoring methods have their own limitations. Current electronic systems are large and expensive, limiting their use to monitoring at container or pallet-level only. In comparison, chemical loggers are small and cheap but they are less accurate, only check for high temperature and are not as flexible. As a result, there is a real need for a small, low-cost solution capable of being used for item- or box-level temperature monitoring.

Temperature logging to individual items
NXP’s new NFC-based solution offers both these benefits together with many other capabilities including data handling and a large memory. Our NHS3100 enables temperature logging from shipping containers to individual items. Recording a product’s temperature history also allows the point of any cold chain incident to be identified so any problems can be fixed quickly.

Monitoring the temperature history of food products can increase their commercial value. With an insight into their temperature history, shoppers can know that goods were kept in the right temperature range. It also helps suppliers guarantee that products can be kept longer for sales. For pharma, product stability and effectiveness can be assured by also including the patient part of the cold chain.

Single-use labels with loads of capability
Designed for single use labels, the NHS3100 features an embedded ARM Cortex-M0+ programmable processor and an NFC interface for configuration and readout. All that is needed is a battery and an antenna. An app allows users to view the temperature history from their smartphones. The solution also enables extra logistic information to be captured like batch and expiry date, allows product authenticity checks, and provides support for additional patient advice and interaction.

NHS3100 samples are available together with starter kit or standalone development board. The kit includes PCB, cabling, software and a test app that enables designers to develop code for their own applications.

Stefan De Troch
Stefan De Troch
Stefan De Troch's career spans a range of innovations and new product development, first as researcher, later as development manager and now as new business development manager. For more than three years, Stefan has examined volume applications for healthcare, which resulted in the smart pharma program where new products are introduced for cold chain monitoring and therapy adherence. When Stefan is not working, he enjoys dining, hiking and cooking for his family.


  1. Avatar Neel Shah says:

    Can you please provide the part number for the kit? I looked up on the NXP website but couldn’t find anything useful.

    I look forward to hearing from you.


  2. Pharmaceutical serialization deadlines are almost here. It seems implementation of serialization and traceability is much more complicated and time-consuming than the industry expected. The 11/27/2017 serialization requirement for manufactures at a high level are — serialize each bottle and homogeneous case with a serial number. This serial number will be in linear and 2D. The 2D code will contain serial number, GTIN, batch number, batch date. “Events” must be tracked against the serial number, i.e. allocated, commissioned, sold, decommissioned, disposed, etc. The ASN has to be provided with sale of product. By 11/27/2019 the product identifier will need to be provided electronically to customer – this is the serial number, GTIN, batch number, and batch date.

    We are combining this capability with a Kinetis based platform we have already in the market. Great stuff!

  3. […] Stefan De Troch suggests using NFC to monitor pharmaceutical products that require storage at low […]

  4. Avatar Dries Moors says:

    Hi Neel Shah,

    The NHS3100 product page can be found at – the Buy/Parametrics tab will be sorted out quite soon, I hope.

    The NHS3100 Temperature Monitoring Demo Board has 12 NC number 9353 08625 598 and is named (product type) NHS3100TEMODB.

    The NHS3100 Temperature Monitoring Application Development Kit has 12 NC number 9353 08624 598 and is named NHS3100TEMOADK. This kit includes one NHS3100TEMODB.

    Best regards,

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