Refrigerated industrial spaces are not only critical in many Industries but heavily regulated as well. spaces allow products and raw materials in industries like the pharma and food Industries to retain Freshness, stay safe for use, or maintain their ideal condition.
These spaces are so important to these industries, it’s critical to monitor and maintain the appropriate conditions of these spaces. Fortunately, monitoring refrigerated space is easier than ever when you combine common best practices with modern environmental monitoring technology.
Here are three best practices for industries to follow in maintaining refrigerated industrial spaces.
The first step in creating the perfect temperature-controlled environment in your refrigerated space is temperature mapping. Also known as thermal mapping when you are mapping both temperature and humidity) creates a precise map of the environmental conditions of your space over a period of time and under different conditions.
Temperature mapping is crucial for understanding how your refrigerated space functions, enabling you to stay compliant with regulations throughout the supply chain in your highly regulated industry and to keep your products, workers, and consumers safe.
Creating a temperature map starts with putting a large number of sensors, called data loggers, all around the space. These sensors record the conditions over a period of time so you can get a comprehensive picture of what the temperature fluctuations look like in your space.
When creating a temperature map, you should create or simulate all sorts of conditions so you understand how space will react when they happen under real-world conditions. These conditions include the space being empty vs. filled, door open vs. door closed, hot outside vs. cold outside, and emergency situations such as a power outage.
This process is so important because it sets your refrigerated industrial space up for success in the future. It allows you to put contingency plans in place so that your space stays cold in any situation and helps create a monitoring plan so you can always stay on top of the conditions in the space.
Any best practices for a refrigerated space should begin with temperature mapping. This overview from Dickson gives you more detail on the temperature mapping process.
Once you have the temperature or thermal mapping of your refrigerated space in place, the best practice is to set up continuous environmental monitoring of the space. This practice uses the same data loggers (though not as many as needed during the temperature mapping process) to provide continuous updates and possibly alerts on conditions in the space.
Whether it is a cold storage warehouse, a temperature-controlled manufacturing space, or even a refrigerated truck, the ability to constantly monitor conditions is key.
In the past, this environmental monitoring was time-consuming, labor-intensive, inefficient, and expensive. Workers onsite needed to monitor conditions at the point where the sensor was and make adjustments for space from there.
Today, through the use of data sensors and remote monitoring technology, companies can manage their entire cold chain from a central location and make necessary adjustments from a single control hub.
This has been a hugely beneficial advancement for refrigerated industrial spaces. It allows for closer monitoring by trained quality assurance professionals where one person or a small team can monitor a large number of locations at once.
Alerts from the remote monitoring system allow issues to be deal with quickly before a major problem occurs. This helps companies save money, maintain safety requirements, and stay compliant.
Continuous environmental monitoring is especially important in highly regulated industries. In these industries, one compliance breach in the entire cold chain can lead to fines or shutdowns initiated by inspectors or auditors. And that is the best-case scenario. These industries are highly regulated because if compliance is not maintained, people can get hurt or sick.
All the data and new technology in the world are amazing but if the data you are getting is not accurate, then it is all for naught. These sensors and remote monitoring systems that have revolutionized best practices, such as temperature mapping and environmental monitoring, are great but they are still devices that must be set up and used by human beings. This means there is always the possibility of user error, which is why our third best practice is to regularly recalibrate the sensors
All sensors used in refrigerated industrial spaces have a process whereby users can recalibrate them to ensure they are delivering the most accurate data possible to the main system and to the people in charge of monitoring the system.
These sensors will come with specific manufacturer's instructions but the general rule of thumb is to recalibrate all the sensors at least once a year. They should also be recalibrated after temperature mapping is complete and before environmental monitoring begins to confirm the accuracy of the data.
Sensors can be thrown off because of internal defects, from physical contact, or certain environmental conditions. In most cases though, recalibrating will simply confirm that the readings they have given in the past are accurate and give you the peace of mind that you are set up for success. Making this a regular part of your refrigerated space maintenance is a best practice step you should never skip.
Maintaining precise conditions in a refrigerated industrial space is easier than ever as long as you have the right technology and implement a few best practices. When you do so, you can be confident that you will be able to maintain precise temperature (and humidity and pressure if needed) control over the space.
This will keep people safe and healthy, keep your cold chain running smoothly, and keep you on the right side of compliance inspectors. These things were once the biggest challenges of maintaining cold spaces but thanks to data loggers, they no longer have to be.