Smartrac Technology blends convenience and safety for Vitamix

ascentRFID and IoT company, Smartrac, is now providing high-performance blending equipment manufacturer Vitamix with innovative Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that takes customer convenience and operational safety to a new level.

Officially launched on December 26, 2016, and soon showcased at CES in Las Vegas, Vitamix’s new Ascent and Venturist blenders utilize Smartrac’s NFC technology to surpass conventional blending machines in both functionality and safety. With NFC readers built into the appliance base, custom-built NFC tags embedded in the supplied and separately sold containers and cups can automatically change multiple operating parameters (up to 140!) by just putting the container on the appliance base. Meaning the NFC solution can modify program settings, button functions, ramp rates or maximum time settings making it easier than ever to prepare steaming-hot soups, frozen sorbets, delicious smoothies and other recipes that provide culinary experiences unknown before. The NFC solution could also modify machine settings and operating windows for attachments that have not yet been invented, underlining the power of the new SELF-DETECT™ Technology” concept provided by Vitamix.

On top of that, NFC plays key a key role in several innovative safety functions, imposing button restrictions for safety if needed, for example. Combined with reed switches controlling the NFC tag antenna and coil, Smartrac’s NFC tags are a key element for a sophisticated wireless interlock system for the new blender models. Being reliable electrical switches actuated by magnetic fields, the reed switches allow the NFC tags to be read and to transmit data to the base of the machine. This highly safe mechanism enables the machine to identify the container and very reliably determine if the interlock is engaged. Since the container and its attributes can be identified, the machine’s base unit will react according to the container in use, effectively eliminating unsafe operating conditions. For example, the heat-producing soup program will be deactivated when the To-Go Cup is placed on the machine.

“With our new products we are really elevating the culinary experience of our customers while complying with the strictest security regulations of today and tomorrow. Furthermore, we just tapped into what’s possible with NFC. In the near future there will not only be other blender models and containers with that technology, but also smartphone apps and all-new functionalities which take our customers’ experience to the next level. I’m sure Smartrac with its amazing willingness to take on new concepts and its attitude to say ‘yes, and…’ instead of ‘yes, but…’ will remain the perfect partner for Vitamix,” says Dave Kolar, Senior Engineering Manager at Vitamix.

For Smartrac, developing the NFC solution for Vitamix posed a real challenge, as the embedded NFC tag not only has to interact properly with the reed switches, but also has to be molded in the container housings, surviving the molding process, years of heat and vibration under use, and potentially thousands of dishwasher cycles. Smartrac passed that test to Vitamix’s satisfaction with a customized NFC tag utilizing NXP’s NTAG216 IC. As part of the solution, Smartrac also produces the related parts of the SELF-DETECT™ container housings with embedded NFC tags and coils molded in.

“Vitamix is manufacturing the best and most advanced blending machines available, and we are proud to be the chosen partner for entering NFC technology. The new Vitamix blenders bear testimony to our ability to develop innovative RFID products that are tailored to our customers’ needs,” says Ted Danhauser, Vice President Sales Americas, Intelligent Things Business Division at Smartrac.

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Categories: Near Field Communications

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