Temperature Measurement


Maintaining perishable products

April 2002 Temperature Measurement

The temperature and humidity of high-risk products such as fish, fruit, flowers and medicines must be maintained within prescribed limits. The battery-operated Escort data loggers from PREI Instrumentation are used to monitor the atmospheric conditions of perishable products when transported in vehicles or containers over long distances.

These loggers can not only raise an alarm when the conditions deteriorate, they can also provide the information necessary when a dispute or an insurance claim arises, viz the time and date that the conditions changed.

Monitoring is done at specified intervals for a specific period, and this information is stored in the loggers' memory, together with the date and time that each measurement was taken. The information can be recovered later and displayed in tabular or graphic form. An upper and lower limit of acceptable temperature and humidity can be programmed, such that whenever the measured value falls outside these limits an alarm is triggered. This alarm can be signalled to the driver of the vehicle, and can also be linked into a satellite surveillance system to alarm in the communication control centre. This may minimise or prevent losses.

The loggers are small (70 mm diameter, 18 mm high, weight 70 g), and are powered by a replaceable battery, which lasts between one and two years, depending on the frequency of communication. To programme the logger, and to extract stored information from its memory, the logger is clipped into a holder (interface) and connected to a laptop or desk computer. One interface is sufficient for any number of loggers.

Using the software provided with the interface, the logger can be programmed:

* To start monitoring at a certain time and date.

* To stop monitoring at a certain time and date, or after a certain number of measurements have been taken.

* How often to take measurements (any value between 1 minute and 4 hours).

* If alarms are required, the limits of acceptable values.

The Escort temperature recorder is on the US Department of Agriculture list of approved temperature-monitoring instruments; and in Australia, the Horticultural Insurance Services have accepted the Escort recorder and recommended it to all the fruit and vegetable exporters.

Norman Woolf, PREI Instrumentation

011 448 2172

prei@hixnet.co.za



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