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Automating the temperature monitoring task

05 August 2017

Find out how automated monitoring can help to optimise working procedures and decrease workloads. 

Often the sheer of end-customer demand, coupled with strict time restraints, together with short product shelf lives, puts pressure on the food industry to ensure all produce is carefully monitored and regulated from farm to fork. Practically every point of the process, throughout production, preparation, storage and transport, has potential danger areas regarding spoilage through mismanagement or poor temperature regulation.

Food safety needs to be considered at every stage of food production and adherence to pre-defined temperature values is vital. Indeed, precise monitoring of the processes and procedures is defined in the HACCP guidelines (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points).

Incorrect climatic conditions can have devastating consequences, and businesses will leave themselves at risk of incurring needless costs if there is a power cut, or system malfunction. This can lead to wasted stock or worse; a legal dispute. Such costs can be detrimental to both production and reputation and will ultimately have a negative effect on profit margins.

Within the food industry more businesses are now opting to use automated temperature monitoring solutions. For certain applications simply using a data logger and noting down readings manually is sufficient, for example building monitoring, where there is no danger of damage to stock and records are simply needed for reference purposes. However, when dealing with climate sensitive stock, as is more often than not the case in the food industry, using an alarm fitted system which monitors conditions continuously is fast becoming a necessary requirement. With such a system in place, if there is a problem, you will be notified immediately, and will be able to react straight away, before the problem becomes a food safety issue. This is particularly useful if the site is not manned 100% of the time.

Justifying the cost
When first introduced – while the logic and practicality behind this type of solution is undeniable – systems were costly and the quality manager or person responsible for food safety was often unable to justify the cost of moving to an automated system, which resulted in many companies choosing to stick with more traditional temperature loggers, and taking manual readings. 

However, today the argument for investment is strong. In the long term, it is very likely to save valuable time and manpower. For example, staff can be redeployed to do something more productive from the time consuming task of taking manual temperature readings from numerous locations around the plant. The overriding advantage of employing an automated solution is to act as a contingency measure and protect the operation in the event of a problem or system malfunction. This could end up saving money in the long run, on wasted stock, potential product recalls etc. Failure to adopt new methodologies can hurt a business in the long run.

As technology continues to advance at an astonishing rate, systems are now becoming available for a fraction of the cost of when they first hit the market. Testo’s Saveris 2, for example, offers a fully automated temperature monitoring system from under £100 with no additional costs for software and it enables reports to be accessed remotely. All that is needed is a wireless LAN network at the measurement location and an internet-capable device such as a PC, tablet or smartphone. 

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