Temperature monitoring and the gathering of other types of environmental data such as humidity and differential pressure is extremely important for a wide range of use cases and industries. Food and beverage companies must monitor and record the temperatures of storage facilities used at different points in the supply chain when transporting food products. Healthcare companies must track the temperatures of storage containers for sensitive medical products to keep them from degrading or expiring.
A wide range of use cases for devices that measure temperature and environmental data exist. However, many companies are unclear about which technology should be used to collect this crucial information. Moreover, many companies need to not only measure this data but also record it for future reference, often in order to comply with governmental regulations.
Data loggers and temperature monitors are two popular devices for collecting temperature data. Let’s explore some of the benefits and drawbacks of each to present the full picture of options when it comes to temperature data collection.
Traditionally, many companies and professionals manually recorded temperature data. Healthcare professionals used a thermometer to measure temperatures in storage facilities filled with sensitive medical products, recording the information with pen and paper. This traditional method of recording data is obviously more labor intensive, prone to human error, and difficult to automate.
With the digitization of healthcare and other industries, electronic devices began being used to record temperatures.
These devices offered some obvious benefits. They were far more accurate than manual or analog methods. They also reduced the possibility of human and procedural error.
The reliability of electronic devices such as temperature monitors make it less likely that products kept in temperature-sensitive environments will be harmed or expired.Temperature monitors have clearly been a key innovation when it comes to cold storage systems, but many of them have some significant drawbacks.
Many temperature monitors do not log temperature data for long periods of time at regular intervals. This is a significant downside for the many companies that need temperature data collected at set times such as every hour or every 30 minutes. Many of these companies must collect this data to ensure the quality of their products and meet government regulations.
One highly relevant example of the importance of data logging is the shipment and storage of Covid-19 vaccines. All three major American Covid-19 vaccines including the Pfizer-Biontech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines must be stored in very cold temperatures to prevent spoilage. In order to make sure that the vaccines are kept at sufficiently low temperatures, regulators require vaccine companies and distributors to keep logs of temperature data at regular intervals.
Data loggers are vitally important in this effort since they can collect data in real-time, log it at regular intervals, and store the data so that it can be reviewed later. Some data loggers can even record whether storage containers are open or closed, and issue a warning if they are accidentally left open.
Technologies and businesses associated with developing an effective temperature-controlled supply chain, including data loggers and specialized freezers are receiving a great deal of attention from investors today.
The same is true for food and beverage companies that ship and distribute perishable food items that must be kept at low temperatures to avoid spoilage. Current regulations require these companies to keep and submit data logs that document the temperature of food storage containers at regular intervals in order to ensure food safety and protect the public. Food products stored at temperatures that are too high can pose major public health risks.
Food and beverage companies must also make food products traceable, a critical ability in the event of food-borne illness outbreaks. Data loggers are an extremely important part of that process. When an outbreak occurs, company leadership must be able to trace the product back to the point of origin of the outbreak in order to prevent the spoilage or contamination of other products, and issue a recall.
This is also the reason why it is considered so important for victims of food-borne illness to report the case to authorities. The quicker that suppliers and regulators can trace the origin of the outbreak, the sooner action can be taken to curb its spread.
Considering that the majority of food-borne outbreaks originate in the supply chain, data loggers used in that process are vital in their prevention. Temperature monitors can also be useful for this purpose, but the advantage of using data loggers is that environmental data is recorded and stored regularly in an automated way. This reduces the risk of human error and also makes meeting regulatory requirements far easier.
Many providers of electronic data logs will even advise their clients on how to format the data collected for regulators. This saves time and money for companies, since they are not required to hire such a large team of compliance officers and professionals.
Many companies today are still asking the question “Why is a data logger better than a thermometer?”
To answer that question, it’s important to consider that many data loggers are also compatible with software applications that allow data to be stored and accessed in an easy-to-use, cloud-based dashboard. Companies can access, sort, and analyze the data collected without having sophisticated technical skills. That is a huge time saver, since information stored in traditional relational databases can require data science and programming skills to assess and analyze it.
The lower costs, increased automation, and accessible software interfaces that data loggers provide make them a far superior option to temperature monitors for companies aiming to scale their organization. The scalability of temperature monitors in business is, in contrast, very limited due to the considerable number of employees and personnel needed to implement their use company-wide, and the lack of ability to easily format or analyze the data collected.