When selecting the right tracking device to fulfill shipment procedures, one must take into consideration a variety of conditions.
Technical capabilities of the device, environmental conditions, cargo dimensions and others. In this article, you will learn about physical parameters of tracking devices to choose the best solution for you.
Devices are equipped with different sensors to monitor temperature, shocks, tilts, light, pressure and so on. But have you thought about their physical parameters yet? The way you store and ship your cargo, its exposure to weather conditions, or even services of an external courier or 3PL companies may limit the size of the device you could use.
What is more, it’s not only the size that matters! The way the device is built, its mounting possibilities, and other things which are not related to the technical functionality of the solution such as the device case, battery, IP rating, or additional certifications are also important for the success of shipment tracking.
For example, a small device might fit to track carton boxes of standard size - it could be easily put inside the parcel. On the other hand, large metal containers, that could block the GSM and GPS signal, may require a rigid device mounted with screws or a magnet clip on the exterior.
Let us compare the five tracking and tracing devices selected for our study.
Kizy Tracking - K-2 tracker
Size: like a credit card
Weight: noticeably light
One charging is enough for: 10 days up to 1 year
Outer material: non-flammable plastic
This small IoT hardware device provides end-to-end visibility over the entire supply chain. It can track movement, location, temperature, and light changes when mobile phone networks or Wi-Fi are available.
With a thicker credit card format, the Kizy’s tracker represents a group of small trackers. Its size and light weight allow it to fit almost everywhere - it can be shipped even in a bubble envelope.
The size of K-2 tracker has been significantly reduced by using GSM module only, which greatly increases battery life in comparison with GPS devices, so the smaller, a 900mAh lithium-ion battery is enough for the device to last from 10 days up to 1 year (depending on tracking scheme).
The battery can be recharged with USB-C plug. The same port can be used to attach external sensors or an extended battery pack if you need to prolong the battery life on a single charge. The USB-C is the only port available in the device. It also has 3 LEDs visible through a small mesh panel.
The whole tracker is cased with a non-flammable plastic, which feels a bit soft, but should be perfectly fine if packaged carefully.
The tracker is classified with IP54, so it is protected from limited dust ingress and water spray from any direction and can work in temperatures from -20 to 55 degrees.
CE, FCC, CCC and FSS certifications allow to import and use the device almost all over the world where 2G or 3G connection is available.
What can it be used for?
- tracking of shipments and refrigerated products
- managing assets
- uncovering delays
- theft prevention
TrustedGlobal - TG7 tracker
Size: fits in the palm of your hand
Weight: 170 grams
One charging is enough for: over 1 year
Outer material: polymer potted with epoxy
A tracking device and data logger for business, industry, and supply chain.
TG7 device has a completely different build. With 68 x 68 x 25mm dimensions and the weight of 170 grams, it is bigger and heavier than the Kizy Tracker.
The tracker feels solid and hermetic due to its polymer housing potted with epoxy. The device case does not have any ports or slots, which not only increases its hermetic feel, but also makes it impossible to attach a charger, so the device needs to be disposed of when its battery is dead.
This is compensated by installing a battery that is significantly larger to power up both, GSM and GPS modules, and multiple built-in sensors for a long time. 29Wh lithium battery having 2.07 grams of lithium is sufficient to last for over a year and run multiple reports every day. Information about lithium content is important in terms of air shipment regulations which apply for devices with installed lithium metal batteries.
IP69k classification guarantees total protection from dust ingress, as well as from steam-jet cleaning, which means the device will not be affected even by extreme weather conditions and can be safely attached to a package or an asset exterior, e.g., metal container. The device is guaranteed to function in temperature from -30 to 85 degrees.
Mounting with a dedicated kit with screws is possible thanks to two holes on the diagonal edges of the tracker. TrustedGlobal also offers a mounting magnet kit or special tapes to attach the device to a cargo. The process is amazingly simple and quick.
Other tracking devices
TrustedGlobal’s devices come in a few other versions with the same technical functionalities, but with larger batteries, which results in a bigger size and weight of the device.
TG8 device weighs 190 grams and is slightly thicker than TG7 with 68 x 68 x 28mm. TG9 is almost twice the size of TG8, with a large 47Wh battery it weighs 405 grams and has 112 x 68 x 39mm dimensions. The largest one, TG9+ is thicker than TG9 with 112 x 68 x 44mm, weighs 425 grams and has a 94Wh battery with 7.6 grams of lithium content.
There is also the S1 tracker which communicates with the Iridium satellite network. Its size is the same as TG9, however, it weighs 420 grams and has the same battery as TG9+, 94Wh with 7.6 grams of lithium.
Cellocator - CelloTrack Nano
Size: of a small wallet
Weight: 96 grams
One charging is enough for: up to 2 weeks
Outer material: plastic
CelloTrack Nano is a logistics management IoT solution based on a smart hub and wireless sensor network. Nano is just one of many Cellocator devices.
Embedded GSM and GPS modules enable real-time location and condition tracking. It is possible to expand the tracking area by using small wireless sensors that communicate with the main device with an installed Bluetooth module.
Modules and sensors were cased in 86.2 x 59.1 x 22.7mm housing with 1300mAh lithium-ion battery, which can be recharged via micro-USB port. The total weight of the device is only 96 grams.
Full protection from dust ingress and high-pressure water jets from any direction is ensured by IP rating 66.
The device is also compliant with FAA and IATA guidelines in terms of usage during air shipment as it automatically terminates all forbidden transmissions and logs all data internally. Normal operation mode is restored after landing.
The vendor provides multiple certifications such as FCC, CE, IC, PTCRB, UL, GDP or SAR. The device is also verified with an EN12830:1999 certificate to be used as a temperature recorder for food transport.
Apart from putting the device inside the parcel, it can be attached to cargo with a double-sided adhesive tape or a cradle, either with screws, magnetic cradle, or a belt clip. Full performance of the device is available in temperatures from -20 to 60 degrees and up to 95% humidity level.
What it can be used for?
- Cargo Tracking
- Construction and Heavy Equipment
- Utilities and Rental Assets
- Cold Chain
- IoT Applications
Logmore - the device for passive tracking and tracing
Size: of a sticker
Weight: 15 grams
One charging is enough for: 4 to 10 years (without communicating modules)
Outer material: plastic
Logmore produces data loggers for end-to-end logistics condition monitoring. And their device is the world's first QR data logger. With every scan, it saves the collected condition data to the cloud.
The device by Logmore is the tiniest one in the group. Its small size of 44.2 x 46.2 x 6mm with only 15 grams of weight is possible due to lack of GSM or GPS modules.
The device supports passive tracking with QR code scans. E-ink display shows QR code with logged sensor data which is synchronised when the code is scanned with a mobile phone. Apart from the display, the device is equipped with various sensors depending on the model.
The location is provided by the scanning device during the synchronisation. Such a solution might be useful when you do not need real-time tracking, but want to the check environmental conditions during the shipment after you have already received it.
If you use your own shipment service, you can enforce QR scans at given checkpoints to know the location of your goods.
Without communication modules, battery life is extremely long, from 4 years with 15 minutes measuring interval to up for 10 years with a longer refresh interval.
With IP rating 67, the unit is protected from total dust ingress and immersion between 15 centimetres and 1 meter in depth. Due to that, the device can be safely used both inside the parcel or attached to its exterior.
Screen update can work in temperatures from 0 to 50 degrees, while the overall operating temperature is from -30 to 60 degrees.
Size: of a deck of cards (Pro) and smaller (Zero)
Weight: 140 grams (Pro) and 33 grams (Zero)
One charging is enough for: up to 15 years (Pro) and up to 1 year (Zero)
Outer material: plastic
Lightbug tracking devices come in two variants, Lightbug Zero - the smallest GPS tracking device in the offer with the size of 53 x 38 x 12mm and small weight of 33 grams and second variant, Lightbug Pro with a size comparable to a deck of cards (77 x 55 x 27mm) that weighs 140 grams.
Both devices provide reliable location gathering using the satellite navigation systems such as GPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU, GALILEO and QZSS, with fall back to cell tower triangulation and enhanced indoors positioning thanks to the Wi-Fi Positioning System.
Devices communicate with the server using 4G LTE-M and NBIoT technologies with fall back to 2G connection. An integrated SIM card enables operation in most countries over the world.
The main difference between the devices is the installed battery. Lightbug Zero is equipped with an 850mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery which can run up to one year depending on the configured update rate. Pro device allows a choice of an single-use 8000mAh LiSoCl2 (lithium-thionyl chloride) battery or a rechargeable 6600mAh lithium-ion battery. A significantly larger unit installed in the Pro device provides battery life ranging from months to even more than 15 years.
Lightbug Zero is rated with IP66, which fully protects it from dust ingress and high-pressure water jets. Thanks to its robust build, Pro device is invulnerable to immersion up to 1 meter which is confirmed by the IP67 rating.
Both devices can run in a wide temperature range, Zero device will work from 0 to 50 degrees, while Pro device can function from -30 (sole use battery) / -10 (rechargeable battery) to 60 degrees.
Smaller unit perfectly fits even in an envelope, but it can also be attached to something through its key-ring hole. Pro unit can be ordered with an optional magnetic or adhesive mount and safely attached to your parcel.
As you can see, shipment tracking devices come with varied sizes and weights. It is important to take into consideration not only the device's functionality but also its physical parameters.
Lightbug and Logmore devices will be perfect to install on the outer package, but on the other hand, they are also super small and perfectly fit inside. TrustedGlobal produces the devices to set on trucks or containers. KizyTracking is best when you need to put the logger into the package (box, envelope or similar) and CelloTrack Nano can be put inside the parcel or set on its outside.
How do you track your logistics now? Leave the comment below or simply contact us to talk about it!