UHF chipped identification tag
The key tracing technology used by VelTrak is a UHF RFID chip embedded into the wristband-like velvet identification tag. The chip will not contain information about the stick or its provenance: that will be stored in the cloud database. Information in the VelTrak database about the whereabouts of the tag in question or the tagged velvet in question will be associated with the stick by tag scanning events, based on the identify of the person doing the scanning and information they populate.
UHF has been selected as the RFID type as many chipped items can be scanned at once. Other forms of RFID chip, such as the LF NAIT tags for cattle and deer identification, can only be scanned one-by-one. It is important for businesses dealing in large volumes of velvet to be able to carry out traceability tasks quickly, making bulk scanning the only solution.
Velvet tagged with the embedded UHF chips will need to be scanned to pick up traceability information about the number and origin of sticks in a shipment. DINZ has developed VelTrak to only require velvet buyers and packhouses to purchase UHF scanners. Veterinarians and farmers will not need to do scanning.
Scanners are either handheld devices, most suited to scanning small shipments in the field, or fixed scanning apparatus, most suited to scanning many shipments of velvet frequently presented in a similar way. DINZ has developed VelTrak to work with one model of handheld scanner, to keep software development costs manageable and limit the extent of any software upgrading upon models being withdrawn from the market.
The barcodes on the tags, with the number underneath (technically the number is called a 'GTIN') are principally included to enable veterinarians to easily allocate tags to a farmer without needing to purchase a UHF scanner. Vets can use barcodes but not buyers as packing units of tags can be readily manoeuvered into the path of the barcode scanner whereas buyers would have to retrieve each tagged stick separately to read the barcodes.
While each tag will have an associated UHF chip number, the GTIN as the visible number will be the tag number displayed on the VSDs and entered into VelTrak for traceability searches.
If a farmer wishes to go into the farm freezer, select a stick of velvet and know the stag from which it was harvested, the farmer should enter the velvet tag number against the stag's NAIT number in the farm management system at velvetting, along with relevant data such as the stick weight. The farm management software companies will advise farmers on how to do this.
Most users will interact with the VelTrak database through the VelTrak website. To interact with VelTrak, persons involved in the velvet supply chain (veterinarians, farmers, buyers and packhouses) must be registered to use VelTrak. Upon registration, each user will select a password to ensure confidentiality. Accessing the VelTrak website will enable each user to view information relevant to their role in handling velvet tags or velvet itself and to carry out relevant actions, such as allocate tags to recipients, create a VSD or log a velvet shipment between farms and buyers. Like all websites, VelTrak is accessible through mobile phones, tablets or PCs.
Some information will be added automatically, based on the profile of the person doing the scanning (for instance, the identity of the velvet buyer) or the farm to whom the tags were allocated, whereas other information will be entered by the buyer or farmer based on the individual properties of the consignment such as the weight or identity of the person doing the velvetting.