Visveiling Urk: track & trace pilot project
Visveiling Urk is a nationally and internationally renowned company and one of the most important fish auctions in Europe.
In response to the European Union's objective aiming at tracing and controlling fishery products throughout the entire chain, Visveiling Urk initiated a pilot project for a uniform identification and traceability of fish boxes and their content during all phases of catch, sale and processing.
The goal of the project is to create a proof of concept based on RFID technology amongst others, allowing the realisation of a sound “track & trace” methodology and environment that can serve as a model for the rest of the fisheries industry. The final concept has to be accessible and practicable for all chain partners – big and small – and should therefore be based on the latest technological developments, while also being approachable enough for smaller companies to join.
For the realisation of the pilot project, Visveiling Urk opted to work with RFID technology. Boxes were equipped with RFID tags, each tag having a unique identification number to which all relevant box and content information is linked. This information can be completed, read, updated and managed throughout the entire chain.
RFID fish boxes
In collaboration with box manufacturer Craemer a new fish box was developed based on a durable and future-oriented concept that guarantees identification.
On 4 locations on the fish boxes' route (arrival, distribution, reception of empty boxes and stock) RFID portals were installed that automatically detect and identify the fish boxes and their content. These portals were constructed using materials that are highly resistant to the wet and salty environmental conditions.
RFID detection points
On the conveyor belt of the weighing line RFID antennas were installed that register which boxes are being weighed. Here a link is established between a box and its content. In the washing line RFID antennas were installed along the conveyor belt that check, before and after the manual sorting, whether both tags in the box are still perfectly working.
RFID handheld reading equipment
For situations where manual handling is required – e.g. when a sold lot has to be split up towards different buyers – 2 handheld scanners were provided for the scanning of the tags. These devices can also be used as back-up scanners in case a portal is not available.
The F-Track web portal
Aucxis developed a web portal, called F-Track, on which the location of all fish boxes and their content can be consulted in real time during all the steps in the chain (vessel, auction, buyer, transporter, processing company). The data originates from a database which is based on the EPCIS platform of GS1 and allows a uniform data exchange with, amongst others, the electronic logbook (E-Catch),the sales system of the auction and its administrative software package (A-Fish).
The “track & trace” concept that emerged from the enthusiastic collaboration of all parties involved in the project was tested by practical experience. We are excited to announce that the results achieved are very promising! Today the team continues to fine-tune its durable solution, suitable to operate in the specific environmental conditions of the fishing industry and offering a forward-looking answer to the European legislation regarding traceability of fish throughout the chain, from net to plate.
- Visveiling Urk knows, at any time, the position of its tagged boxes.
- All parties involved can identify, at any time, the fish in the fish boxes.
- Through box management, losses and theft are easily detected; consequently they can be considerably reduced in the future.
- Fish boxes can be used more efficiently as all relevant information, such as the turnaround time, are known.
- The potential input of wrong data at manual actions is excluded.