In 2010 Tack Smart Filter Technology BV closed an exclusive worldwide agreement with the Whirlpool Corporation for the use of smart water filter cartridges in home and high-end refrigerators. Whirlpool manufactures major home appliances and markets them under a portfolio of brands. Their kitchen line of products includes refrigerators with integrated ice makers and water dispensers that use filtered tap water (see www.whirlpool.com).

The replaceable water filters fitted in the Whirlpool refrigerators reduce levels of calcium, magnesium and chlorine taste and odor. More importantly they eliminate potentially unhealthy substances and sediments. Over time the active carbon or charcoal in the filter becomes saturated and loses effectiveness. On top of that, bacteria may start to build up when filter replacement is overdue.

Advantages smart filter

In many respects there is a lot to gain for both manufacturer and consumer when intelligence is added to fridge and filter with RFID-technology.

Options for consumer convenience are:

  • A timer on the refrigerator display that counts down filter-lifetime based on water volume used or time passed. This empowers consumers to verify filter functionality at a glance and to anticipate filter replacement.
  • A replacement alert is a convenient reminder for households to change the water filter.
  • A visual confirmation or warning signal informing on filter compatibility. Such features reassure consumers that they have correctly inserted the proper type of filter and/or prevent the re-use of old ones.

Options to the benefit of the manufacturer are:

  • Communication between filter and refrigerator can promote the use and sales of compatible, brand-original and non-expired filters. Proper filter use is an important condition to guarantee quality and safe consumption.
  • Writing filter data onto RFID-chips such as production date, operator-ID and batch number delivers valuable information in case of warranty issues.
  • Data generated during filter deployment, stored onto the RFID-tag is a potential treasure trove for R&D purposes and in servicing.