Temperature Measurement


Automated cold chain monitoring

March 2021 Temperature Measurement

There is no doubt that the transportation and logistics around perishables and certain pharmaceutical goods such as vaccinations require an effective and unbroken cold chain. Smart, connected and automated temperature monitoring at every point helps logistics companies proactively ensure their cold chain is never broken and goods arrive in prime condition for use and sale.

A complex chain with many links

Transporting perishable goods that need to be maintained at a specific temperature is a complex process. The cold chain has many links: various storage facilities, and different transport environments between the manufacturer and the final point of sale. This includes the initial warehouse, long-haul transport and regional or last-mile transporters, as well as storage locations in between.

In order to ensure foods and medications are not spoiled, the temperature of the products needs to remain constant within the required tolerance limits. This chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If at any point in the logistics process the temperature falls outside of the recommended range, then goods may spoil. In the case of pharmaceuticals, severe adverse reactions could result if the cold chain is broken and the medication is administered to a patient.

In terms of perishables like food, poorly handled produce has a direct impact on the bottom line of manufacturers and logistics companies. Spoiled food creates an inferior customer experience, but even more important to remember is that spoilt medication could endanger lives.

Logistics companies may lose contracts if they consistently fail to deliver, but cold chain transportation is a significant investment that needs to be profitable. This includes the ability to effectively allocate goods to refrigerated vehicles, as well as maintaining the cooling equipment and cooling plants. The logistics process needs to be optimised to ensure the chain remains unbroken and maximum profits can be derived.

Connected technology is the answer

The integrity of the cold chain needs to be ensured, but more than that, logistics providers need to be able to monitor temperatures continuously. They also need the ability to prove that their chain has not been broken, and proactively remedy any instances where temperatures are falling outside of the limits. This is where smart, connected temperature sensor and monitoring equipment can be enormously beneficial.

Leveraging the growing backbone of the IoT, devices can be connected via GSM or Wi-Fi to provide continuous, real-time temperature monitoring across all areas of storage and transportation. These devices take readings at regular intervals and automatically compare them to the set threshold. If the threshold is breached, alerts are sent to relevant parties for action. This helps to identify issues with faulty equipment or power supply, for example, and ensures that they can be rectified proactively to protect stock before issues can harm the cold chain.

Data is key to unlocking value

An integrated and connected system across the cold chain can unlock tremendous value. All communications are uploaded to a cloud-based system that can be accessed from anywhere, which empowers logistics providers to proactively minimise both downtime and stock wastage. Data analysis also enables organisations to identify trends and patterns to remedy any latent problems within the cold chain.

In addition, real-time connected data logging provides an auditable record of temperature compliance that can be graphed and visualised, and provided to inspection authorities. Data analytics also provides insights that can help to fine-tune operational and handling processes. Remote device management and location mapping and analysis also help logistics providers to understand exactly where and when problems occur. This can be used not only to address equipment failures but also human behaviours that may be compromising the cold chain.

When it comes to ensuring cold chain integrity, the reliability of the equipment is key. It needs to be rugged, robust, fit for purpose, and offer 100% uptime with battery backup and dual network connectivity. Solutions should also conform to global standards and provide unrestricted, real-time access to data from anywhere at any time. With connected, automated monitoring solutions that incorporate data analytics, logistics providers can develop a proactive, auditable approach to ensuring their cold chain remains unbroken.

For more information contact Eckart Zollner, Ikhaya Automation Systems, 0861 111 105, eckart@ikas.co.za, www.ikas.co.za




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Pyrometers for fast processes
October 2021, Instrotech , Temperature Measurement
With very fast processes, the requirements of the pyrometers used for temperature measurement are especially onerous.

Read more...
Raytek extends Thermalert 4 range
October 2021, R&C Instrumentation , Temperature Measurement
Fluke Process Instruments and Raytek extended the Thermalert 4.0 spot pyrometer series by adding new shortwave versions and various additional interface options.

Read more...
Temperature profiling in hydro processing units
October 2021, Endress+Hauser South Africa , Temperature Measurement
Precise and reliable temperature mapping of densely packed reactor catalyst beds makes an essential contribution to stable and profitable unit operations.

Read more...
Pyrometer cooling up to 315°C
September 2021, R&C Instrumentation , Temperature Measurement
The ThermoJacket from Raytek and Fluke Process Instruments gives users the ability to use selected sensing heads in ambient temperatures up to 315°C.

Read more...
High-speed pyrometer from Optris
September 2021, Instrotech , Temperature Measurement
With very fast processes, the requirements of the pyrometers used for temperature measurement are especially onerous.

Read more...
Resistance thermometers for hazardous areas
August 2021, Instrotech , Temperature Measurement
Instrotech now offers Kobold’s TWL resistance thermometers with ATEX approvals for ignition protection Exd or Exia.

Read more...
Thermal imaging in materials testing
July 2021, R&C Instrumentation , Temperature Measurement
The Raytek ThermoView TV40 thermal imaging camera with ThermoView software is an ideal choice for material testing applications.

Read more...
Vibration-resistant thermowells
July 2021, WIKA Instruments , Temperature Measurement
Debottlenecking is desirable as minor percentage increases in output capacity can result in significant profit returns.

Read more...
Temperature measuring in steel processing
June 2021, R&C Instrumentation , Temperature Measurement
Accurate and reliable temperature measurement is a part of efficient metal processing and steel manufacturing.

Read more...
Temperature and humidity monitoring for vaccine rollouts
May 2021, Omniflex Remote Monitoring Specialists , Temperature Measurement
How remotely monitoring facilities maintains the vaccine cold chain.

Read more...