The UK and Ireland arm of Germany’s largest independent semiconductor and display distributor, Ineltek, showcased electronic ink technology from E Ink at Nuremberg’s Embedded World exhibition in the form of the ParceLive tracker from Hanhaa. ParceLive is a low cost parcel tracking service that allows users to access data on the location, condition and security of their parcels anywhere in the world in real time.
The key value add of ParceLive is that by adding trackers to just a sample of shipments, users are able to generate up to 99% of knowledge about what is happening across their entire supply chain.
The ParceLive tracker has the ability to display multiple messages throughout different stages of a shipment’s journey. This means the different stakeholders can each access the different set of instructions required which are displayed on the screen. This includes a return address for the shipment’s recipient that Hanhaa uses to send trackers back via free post to be recharged for reuse.
Ineltek’s Design and Applications team worked closely with Hanhaa during the development of the tracker to select a display that would meet the demands of the ParceLive application at a price that enabled the service’s business model to succeed. Having selected the right display for the job, Ineltek then supported Hanhaa through the integration of the ePaper display module into the ParceLive embedded electronics system, including electronic, mechanical and firmware development.
E Ink’s ePaper displays use a bistable technology based on millions of tiny negatively charged microcapsules of black pigment and positively charged white ones. Once the microcapsules are driven into position on the display, they hold the display image and content with zero power drain. Not only that, but the ePaper then works just like paper – it’s sunlight readable with high contrast.
The bistable display capability of E Ink’s 2.9” display module allows the LiPo battery-powered ParceLive tag to operate for several weeks on a single charge – a capability that’s not possible with any other display technology. This feature, coupled with the visual characteristics of ePaper, is compelling for the existing supply chain industry as the display needs to display in all environmental conditions and with devices such as barcode readers.
Dr. FY Gan, General Manager of the ESI Business Unit of E Ink Holdings, said: “E Ink’s goal is to deliver revolutionary products, user experiences and environmental benefits through advanced technology development. We are glad to co-work with Ineltek and Hanhaa for developing the ParceLive service that benefits both the sender and the recipient alike through ultra-low-power consumption and visual quality features from E Ink."
Azhar Hussain, Hanhaa’s CEO and Founder is excited about the future prospects: “Having a screen as part of ParceLive will allow room for future innovation with the ability to change screens ‘in flight’, enabling companies to change a parcel’s destination while it is on route. This is key for last minute re-routing, just in time deliveries or inventory adjustments.”