Researchers develop digital fingerprint for cargo

German researchers are working with development partners and users such as Panalpina and Lufthansa Cargo in the joint project ESecLog to resolve the dilemma between security and efficiency.


3D ESecLog Factory Operation and Automation Fraunhofer Institute IFF Lufthansa Cargo Panalpina RFID


Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg, Germany are working with development partners and users such as Panalpina and Lufthansa Cargo in the joint project ESecLog to resolve the dilemma between security and efficiency.

Using simple screening procedures, they aggregate features such as 3D contours or RFID identifiers into one central shipment profile for every freight item. “The trick is that we document and aggregate these features into one complete digital image. Thus, every freight item has one digital fingerprint. This delivers accurate information of freight’s security status throughout the entire transport chain across operations and at any time,” explains Olaf Poenicke, project manager at the Fraunhofer IFF.

The partners are working, for instance, on a marker that can be used to verify whether a freight item has already been x-rayed – something that has not been traceable. The researchers are additionally developing an RFID seal in order to detect subsequent tampering with a shipment. To do so, they affix a transponder on a package’s seal with an ultrafine safety wire. If it is opened, the wire breaks. The shipment continues to be identifiable but the screener is additionally notified that the wire has been damaged.