Data Loggers in Cold Chain Monitoring

Published by Ariel Arcebido on

data loggers in cold chain monitoring

Pharmaceuticals go back to the monks using herbs to cure all sorts of ailments in the Middle Ages. The written medical journals provided important information on curing diseases. Today’s medicines are refined and improved. But there is one thing medical companies haven’t improved. The retention of medicines’ effectiveness while in cold storage. Pharmaceutical life science products require cold chain supply and one of the common temperature ranges is 2 – 8°C (35.6 – 46.4 °F). Monitoring the cold chain is a challenge. It is more difficult to maintain that temperature. At the same, one is dependent on monitoring cold chains using data loggers.

Monitoring cold chain using data loggers can make the supply chain’s job easier. They are a must-have tool for pharma companies. A wide variety of data loggers available in the market. With new ones introduced each day and with data flowing to the cloud, data has become accessible.

A cold chain data logger otherwise referred to as a temperature data logger. It’s a device that records, logs ambient temperature and other data at set intervals over a period of time. Compact, inexpensive, and reliable to work with. No need for major infrastructures like data cable networks or fixed temperature probes.

Temperature loggers are gaining popularity. Businesses use them in industries. It monitors indoor environmental conditions, adjusts storage temperature, and controls ambient conditions. This is essential when it comes to the storage of food or pharmaceutical products. Battery-powered portable data loggers are growing in popularity as well. They are an ideal solution to track and manage cold chain shipments in transit.

Data Loggers selection classified as:

  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Efficiency
  • Durability
  • Usability
  • Usage Cost

Things to consider in choosing a temperature logging system

  • How long does it take to measure them?
  • Does the pharma company need to measure a single parameter or track a range of conditions?
  • Do the alerts when conditions exceed acceptable thresholds?
  • How often does it need to measure temperature or condition data?
  • The intervals to view or transfer that data?
  • What device needed to view or manage the data; is it a computer, mobile device, or an online system?
  • Does the data logger need to be waterproof or work in harsh environments?
  • Easy to set up and deploy the system.
  • Does it have extra software, data plans, or systems to handle and analyze the data?

Data Loggers Categories

  • Basic temperature data loggers
    • Low-cost, easy to set up, and quick to deploy. It comes with its own battery or without it. It only records the temperature data on an internal memory storage unit over time.
  • Multi-sensor temperature monitors
    • It records many ambient condition information. Like relative humidity, pressure, the concentration of certain gases. They’re sophisticated devices that connect to a power source. They store information or transfer the data to a central data server for analysis.
  • Enterprise-level temperature monitoring systems
    • Depends on the pharma company’s specific needs. The monitoring systems have several types of temperature or ambient condition sensors. Equipped with bigger enterprise information systems. Like warehouse management systems or cold chain shipment monitoring systems. And more features like live alerts, predictive analytics. It can interact as required to support large organizations and their operations.
Vaccine cold chain
Photo Credit: image.slidesharecdn.com

Features for the best temperature data loggers: 

1. Suitable Accuracy

Accuracy specifications may depend on their purpose among different types of data loggers.

Cold chain data loggers monitors temperatures in the storage space. They record it to within a degree. They are made according to the company’s specific requirements. For accuracy and room to avoid errors to not pay for data accuracy you may not need.

2. Several Sensors

The advanced cold chain data loggers measure beyond a single parameter like temperature.

Other sensors measure and log extra parameters. Readings like humidity, light, physical shock, air pressure, the presence of specific gases. The extra information is essential when monitoring special cold chain shipments. These track like vaccine vials, chemicals, or other temperature-sensitive items. That needs extra care and handling.

The best temperature loggers embedded these sensors. It allows the company to connect extra sensors to their specifications.

3. Variable Sampling Frequency

Temperature loggers are usually battery-powered devices. The more often they operate and record temperature data, the more the batteries run out.

To record data while using many sensors. It’s adjusting the cold chain data logger’s recording intervals to the company’s needs. While still making the most of its battery backup.

If the temperature of the cold chain surged and then leveled off. Maintain the low temperature as far as possible to prevent further damage and risk. In which case, increase the number of readings taken. To ensure that there are no more temperature excursions. Which could lead to irreparable damage.

4. Long Battery Life

Modern portable battery-powered temperature data loggers usually are low-powered. The increased use of many sensors can drain those batteries faster. The new generation of cold chain data loggers can last a year or more. Make sure their capacity can meet the goals without running out of juice.

5. Enough Data Storage

Cold chain data loggers deployed for lengthy periods. It takes days or weeks to track the medical shipments. Even months in the case of warehouses and storage conditions.

Either way, the temperature loggers can build a big backlog of data. A data logger should have adequate storage capacity to meet the time spent on the cold chain process.

Data loggers access information. Extracting via USB, an SD card, or using Bluetooth or WiFi to transfer data to a device like laptops or smartphones. If they are not accessed, there is a chance they’ll be overwritten by newer logs the longer it stays in the data logger. While this not always the norm. Most low-cost cold chain data loggers store up to 10,000 temperature measurements. It’s best to have some back-up storage in order not to lose any data.

A better option is one with inbuilt data connectivity and cloud storage. So the data backed-up online for later retrieval. Hybrid temperature logger that can buffer readings when there’s no connectivity. And then transfer the data when they’re connected to a network, which could be cellular, WiFi, or a mobile hotspot.

Whatever the setup, the data logger should gather the temperature data non-stop.

Container temperature monitoring
Photo Credit: sciexaminer.com

6. Ease & Speed of Data Transfer

Easy access to the stored reading temperatures data logger. This also an important feature when choosing the device.

Data loggers use onboard storage, which is accessible by using a removable SD memory card or through a USB interface.

But it’s not advisable to bring a computer to a cold storage facility. It is not easy to collect data loggers to bring them back to an office. Especially if hundreds of devices are being accessed every day. Retrieving the data by manual means is not just awkward, it’s also time-consuming.

To simplify and boost the speed of the data collection process. Wireless technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) applied to data loggers. Allowing them to send data wirelessly to mobile devices or a receiver station. That could be within the transmitting vicinity of the device.

Wireless data capture systems are very useful to read several devices in batches or situations where temperature data loggers need to be placed in inaccessible areas within a facility.

Wireless data logger system generates alerts through the internet are the first line of defense against temperature excursions. When used together with a mobile access point, wireless data loggers can track shipments’ temperature in transit in real-time. The information can be sent to stakeholders in the field that need to take action, which gives an early warning in response to the excursion and limit the damage once the temperature deviation begins to occur.

7. Ease of Installation & Use

Data loggers are expensive. So make sure that installation and setup are easy and works!

Cold chain data loggers easily place and operate, they can also work independently from a computer or other device. Shipping temperature loggers already pre-programmed; just push a button to start or turn off the logging process. Other wireless data loggers do not require any dedicated equipment other than a smartphone or tablet to configure the logger and download data through an app, saving both time and money.

Wireless sensor networks that work with WiFi or a separate cellular data connection can also transmit accurate live temperature monitoring data from different points to a central server or the cloud, making a more efficient aggregation and processing.

Another advantage of wireless temperature data loggers was the absence of installing wiring throughout a warehouse or hook up sensors to a shipping container. What’s more, all the data are automatically transmitted to the central server, thus lessening the manual retrieval burden.

8. Reporting & Analytics

Wireless temperature data loggers enable real-time remote monitoring to temperature and other types of data via cellular, Wi-Fi, or other wireless systems. Data can be easily accessed from a secure web server or any enterprise software systems relatively easily.

The ability to integrate live cold chain data with cloud-based data storage and analytics solutions also give you the Big Data advantage. You can track patterns and use past events, too, for example, predict how much coolant you would need for a multimodal shipment or where hotspots are likely to develop in fixed storage areas.

Photo credits: www.akcp.com

9. Flexibility

The significant advantage of using wireless temperature data loggers is that they can deploy it anywhere that is needed. When choosing temperature loggers, they should give the same accurate and reliable performance expected in different environments — indoors, outdoors, or in-transit.

Since there is no need for wiring or installation, data can be easily accessed through WiFi, cellular networks, or Bluetooth. Thus, wireless data loggers are your best options.

Conclusions

The challenges facing the global cold chain logistics industry in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine are immense. They require careful management of billions of doses around the world. Getting the vaccines from manufacturer to in-country storage facilities is only the start.

Choosing the data loggers that fit the company’s cold strategy is no easy feat. AKCP with their Wireless Tunnel™ infrastructure has announced a solution for vaccine transport and storage monitoring. AKCP has incorporated its 30+ years experience in professional sensor solutions to address the unique needs of the mass distribution of temperature-sensitive vaccines. With the Wireless Tunnel Cloud, the distributor and vaccine stakeholders can visualize their complete supply chain, vaccine location, history and temperature. Generate digitally signed PDF reports in compliance with FDA 21 CFR Part 11 regulations. AKCP vaccine delivery and storage monitoring solution the loss of vaccines and their efficacy can be minimized.

AKCP temperature tracking solution has the knowledge and expertise to best meet the pharma company’s specific needs, both in the present and in the future.

References:

https://blog.roambee.com/supply-chain-technology/9-features-a-good-cold-chain-data-logger-should-have

https://www.akcp.com/blog/akcp-wireless-tunnel-covid-19-vaccine-monitoring-solution/

https://climate.emerson.com/documents/distribution-center-improves-food-safety-quality-en-us-4848656.pdf


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