A various warehouse used for storing medicine, food, vegetables etc. have temperature and humidity controlled environments. In order to ensure the storage conditions, it is essential to record and monitor the temperature and humidity inside the warehouse. We are explaining about various solutions for such purposes.
We have various real-time monitoring solutions which will continuously monitor Temperature and Humidity of the area. The device will continuously record the data on itself, on a computer as well as over the internet. There is continuous back- up of the data. In the cases of pharmaceutical storage areas, the customers can correctly place the sensors after conducting a Temperature Mapping study of the area which will identify potential hot spots.
Typical applications of a real-time temperature monitoring system are:
- Cold room for storage of medicines, vaccines etc.
- Cold Storage used for food, meat etc.
- Warehouses used for temperature sensitive goods such as medicines, food, fruits, vegetables, electronic goods etc. or for any other purpose.
- Walk in Chillers or Walk in freezers for food or medicines.
- Patient Rooms in hospitals to monitor and record Temperature & Humidity.
- ICU and other critical rooms in hospitals.
- Operation Theater in hospitals.
These systems are a permanent type of installation and the customer need not change once installed. The recording and monitoring system will work automatically and will also generate Email/SMS/Voice call alerts for alert conditions. Main Features of such a system are:
- These systems are fully standalone with battery backup and will work even in the case of power failure.
- These are recorders and transmitters which transmit data by various modes such as WiFi, Radio Frequency, LAN etc.
- They will work even without the need for a computer network.
- Will generate Email, SMS & Phone call alerts if temperature or humidity goes above the programmed limits.
- Recording happens on the device, on a local server and on the internet.
- Graph and chart display are available on the device or on a computer.
- The system can send daily or weekly email summary report to a user.
- We can connect multiple locations to a single software for centralized software.
- Each sensor can have different alert levels as per requirement.
Various models in Ethernet Wired, Wireless and WiFi models are available. The device comes with its own free software which will display the readings in a graph form continuously.
How to decide the sampling interval?
The sampling interval is the frequency of data collection. eg. If we record the temperature every 10 seconds, it means that the sampling interval is 10 seconds. The customer can program sampling rate from 5 seconds to 1 hour with an accuracy of up to +/- 0.1 Deg. Celsius. Also, we can program the higher and lower limits of the Temperature & Humidity and the delay duration on the device. If the parameters exceed these limits for the defined duration, it will make phone calls to 10 operators until one of them attends the call. Upon attending the call, it delivers a recorded voice message indicating the type and location of the fault. You may consider the following points.
- For a narrow range of temperature, a lower sampling rate is required. eg. for a cold room of 2-8 °C, a sampling rate of 3 minutes may be required whereas for a warehouse of 15-25°C a sampling interval of 10 minutes may be sufficient.
- Another criterion is permitted excursion period. eg. you do not want the temperature to go above 8°C for more than 1 minute. Hence, you have to select a sampling interval of 60 seconds or less. The logic is that you need to monitor the temperature very closely.
- For a cold storage of -20°C, a sampling interval of 15 or 20minutes also may be sufficient.
- Typically for medicines, we recommend a sampling interval of 3 minutes.
Brief technical details of the system are as below.
- The range of measurement is from -200°C to 1200°C. Also higher ranges are available with special sensors.
- The customer can configure, setup and manage Data Loggers over an Internet Connection and Browser.
- We provide free Web storage service with user id and password.
- The customer can configure the sampling rate from 1 Second to 1 Hour.
- We can connect a local siren for generating an audible alarm and duration of same can be programmed.
- It operates on a regular power supply with Battery Backup for protection against Power Failures. The device will not lose data in the event of a power failure.
How to decide the number and locations of temperature sensors in a warehouse and cold room?
In a huge warehouse or cold room, it is difficult to decide the ideal locations to be monitored. The sensors for monitoring has to be placed to monitor and record the data. In order to decide the locations and number of sensors, the following guidelines may be followed:
- Ideally, a temperature mapping study has to be carried to find out the temperature distribution.
- Find out the hottest and coldest points of the area
- Find out all other hot and cold points
- Mark up the layout drawing of the area to indicate these points
- All of the above points need to be monitored since these are critical points
- From the locations thus defined, if any huge area is left out one or two sensors should be distributed in such area.
- Typically for a warehouse of 3000 sq. meters and a height of 10 meters having ideal temperature distribution, approximately 10 sensors will be required.
Temperature Monitoring Software
- Configuring the alert conditions for each sensor separately.
- It will send email alerts upon alert conditions.
- It displays Graphs, Charts for multiple devices and locations.
- We can see different devices on a single screen.
- It sends the summary of readings to 4 Email ids at regular intervals (1 hour to 24 hours can be programmed).
- We can configure a FTP service for uploading the data at regular intervals.
- Through the software, we can configure the sampling interval.
Apart from over temperature & humidity alerts, we can connect various other critical parameters to the same voice call alert system. This alert system operates using a SIM card and hence local phone connection is not required. Critical parameters which can be monitored include:
- Compressor failure alert to monitor whether the compressor of the cooling units fails.
- Power Failure Alert to generate a phone call in case power supply fails.
- Door Open Alert which can generate if the door of a refrigerator or cold room remains open for a certain duration.
- Water Leakage detection generating an alert if there is water leakage.
- Gas Leakage alert to generate a phone call or SMS alert in case of a gas leak.
- Smoke alert generating a phone call or SMS alert in case of smoke or fire.
Any other parameter can be monitored using suitable sensors for such requirements. Upon the occurrence of any alarm event, phone calls will be made to 10 operators and a voice message will be delivered when attended. The phone calls will be made repeatedly until someone picks up the phone.
How to select a temperature/humidity monitoring and recording system for a warehouse?
We are listing below a brief guideline to help you select the right monitoring system. The list is only to help you for a better understanding and you are free to contact us for a free consultation.
- First of all, you need to decide whether you need to record only the temperature or whether you need humidity as well. This mainly depends on the items being stored. For Pharma industry, there is a requirement that the humidity should be below 65%. If you have such a requirement, then it is ideal to record and monitor the humidity as well. Similarly, fertilizers stored in porous packaging needs humidity controlled environment. If you are not sure, you may check with the manufacturer of the goods being stored by you.
- Secondly, you have to decide the type of alerts required by you. This means you have to decide whether you require only email alert, or do you need SMS alerts or do you need phone call alert as well.
- One of the most important parameters to check is the type of communication. We supply different types viz. Radio frequency, WiFi, Wired Ethernet etc. If you do not want to pull wire across the warehouses, it is better to use Radiofrequency devices. They have a longer battery life because they generally do not have a display screen. A display screen takes a lot of electrical power and hence will require a power supply connection.
- If you can provide a power supply and if you have WiFi facility in the warehouse, you may go for a WiFi connected monitoring system. If you have LAN ports across the warehouse, you may go for a wired Ethernet device.
- You may mainly note that it is difficult to install WiFi and Wired Ethernet devices in the middle of the warehouse and in the racks. This is because both of them need one or more wires. Running wires across the racks is difficult. However, radio frequency based devices operate on battery and hence can be instantly installed anywhere in the warehouse.
- However, Radio frequency devices also have disadvantages. For areas with tall racks, the communication between the devices will not be satisfactory. In such case, you will need to add few more receivers, which is a costly affair. Also when you add a new device at a later stage, you may have to add a new receiver based on the location. This is not predictable in the initial stage. This is also applicable for a WiFi device. However, an additional WiFi router costs only less than US$ 50.00 and hence is not a big worry.
- Similar to all monitoring systems, you need to check whether it will operate in case of a power failure and whether you will lose data in such a case. You can decide this based on your dependability of power supply.
- One of the most important commercial aspects is whether the system has a monthly or annual charge. There are suppliers who provide the warehouse monitoring system at a cheap rate and thereafter charge you high periodic charges.
- Also, you may please check the charges per phone call and SMS alert.
- You may need to check the internal IT policy of your organization regarding data storage. Most of the operators store the data in their cloud-based platform. However certain big organizations do not want any data to be stored outside of their server. In such case, you should be able to buy the full software and install on your own server. This is a major limitation for many of such systems.
- If you can receive monthly recorded data to your email automatically, your life will be easier. Otherwise, you can log into the server and download the data for a specific period. This is only a ‘nice to have’ feature and not mandatory.
- Also, you may check how long the data will be stored by the supplier in their system. Different companies have different policies such as data will be stored for 1 year, 5 years etc. Most of the companies provide long storage period such as 5 years.
- For a device which operates on battery without external power supply, you may prefer to receive an alert when the battery level is low.
The above list gives an overall idea of various essential requirements. You may list out your priorities and select a suitable supplier. We have different types of devices meeting most of the above requirements.
Other pages on temperature monitoring systems:
- Real-time monitoring systems for data centers and server rooms
- Wireless temperature monitoring
- Refrigerator & Freezer temperature monitoring
- Where to place a temperature & humidity sensor in a warehouse?
- Over temperature warning system