Case Study: Thermal Print Mechanism and Chip for Temperature Monitoring Units

Case Study: Thermal Print Mechanism and Chip for Temperature Monitoring Units

The Requirement

Our client provides temperature monitoring units for refrigerated vehicles. These compact devices take temperature readings at regular intervals throughout the journey and produce a log of the temperatures alongside the time of each reading. Whether the delivery is a batch of prawn sandwiches, medical vaccines, or cut flowers, this information not only gives the receiver piece-of-mind that the goods have arrived in perfect condition, but also satisfies the legislation that the transport industry has to conform to.

The Challenges

As well as being able to download the data, users need the ability to prove the goods have been kept at the perfect temperature throughout the journey. A printout is the most practical way of doing this and to have a thermal printer mechanism integrated into the temperature monitor was the design brief. In combination with vehicle telematics, every aspect of the vehicle and journey can be monitored, helping fleet operators to manage their resources.

The Design, The Solution……..

The temperature monitor sits inside the vehicle and the housing is similar in size to a car radio. To add the printing function to such a small housing, the client used the smallest thermal printer mechanism available from Seiko Instruments. Seiko’s LTP02 model was originally designed for use in card-payment machines (EFTPOS) and was already being sold in volume into the banking market worldwide. Using Seiko’s Printer Control Chip saved on design time and our client was able to work within the size constraints for the printer and circuitry, as well as meeting their cost expectations.

The Result

Potential sales volumes for this project were always high from the start, which not only helped to keep the cost of components down but also enabled the cost of the design work to be spread across a large number of units.

With approvals and certifications applied, the new temperature monitors are now being sold to refrigerated transport fleets across the world, resulting in sales of tens of thousands of units. Having a built-in printer function makes for a user-friendly and very compact solution, eliminating the need for a separate plug-in printer. Seiko Instruments are well known for extended product life times, often making the same products for decades, thus giving the client piece of mind that they can use the same thermal printer for many years to come.

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