Water Activity – A critical measurement for sensitive seeds

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Water activity measurement plays an integral role at the Tree Seed Centre in British Columbia.

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The Tree Seed Working Group has four objectives related to promoting tree seed science and technology through:
• Seed research from bud initiation to seed use
• Identification of seed problems relating to seed improvement and forest management
• Exchange of information on seed related problems
• Consulting on implementation practices

Water activity continues to be an area of interest to the Tree Seed Working Group, especially with their genetic conservation collection.

Rotronic has become the standard for water activity measurement for many seed storage facilities throughout the world. Although water activity is a relatively new technology to the Tree Seed Centre, it already plays an important role. Water activity measurement devices from Rotronic offer quick, non destructive tools for evaluating the free moisture in a sample of seeds. The meter outputs a value between 0 and 1, which is equivalent to equilibrium relative humidity (eRH). Aw or eRH differs from a moisture content test in that it only measures the free water rather than the total water content in a sample of seed. Free water is often far more relevant to germination, spoilage and shelf life of seeds. The amount of free water in a seed will depend on its relative composition of lipids, starches, and proteins. Storing seed in the freezer with a water activity measurement that is either too high or too low will decrease the longevity of the seed. The ideal level ultimately depends on the species; however, most people now accept the concept of a universal value. At the Tree Seed Centre, they keep within a range of 0.35 ± 0.05”.
The role of water activity measurement

Currently, water activity is used primarily for testing seed collected for genetic conservation and research. The seeds are often rare and valuable; thus a non destructive method of assessment is imperative. Collections intended for the seedbank arrive at the Tree Seed Centre grouped by population (noted by location), with each population containing,on average, a sample of 10 parent trees. Populations are stored in the cooler at 2°C to await an initial water activity assessment. If the water activity is too high, the seeds are dried back and retested prior to placement in the freezer at-18 °C to maximise seed longevity.

In the UK we have worked closely with Kew Gardens at the Millennium Seed Bank where a bank of Rotronic devices with direct PC connection are used to screen and test all seeds that are stored in their highly secure underground bunker.

Read the Kew Gardens article titled “A day in the life of a Seed Processing Assistant” here!

Kew
Six Rotronic eRH devices working in tandem with HW4 software at Kew Gardens.

For information on any of our products please contact us on 01293 571000 or email instruments@rotronic.co.uk or visit our website by clicking Here

RMS integration with Met Office DataPoint. An experiment with APIs…

The latest Rotronic Monitoring System software has been designed specifically for the IoT and IIoT world. We have a wide and growing range of sensors, loggers as well as input and output modules but we will never keep up with the unique demands of our customers. That’s where integration is key for any successful continuous monitoring system!

iot

Hardware can already be integrated via analogue input modules such as our 8ADC and digital devices can be integrated via our RMS-Convertor that can be programmed with custom protocols and functions operate with virtually any device.

Want to cut out the waffle… login and see the live data now using the details below:

https://rms.rotronic.com/rms/
Company Name: Rotronic demo-cloud
User: Weather
Password: guest1234

In addition to hardware, software integration is a must, and not easy when we consider RMS is a fully Gamp6 compliant system and therefore security and traceability is key.

Why not access the SQL DB?

All data on RMS is stored within an SQL database which with suitable rights can be queried easily to pull data out. However injecting data whilst possible triggers our system to report data manipulation. Also direct access to the database presents a security risk and uncontrolled changes to the system, and of course its not possible on shared systems.

That is why we also offer a Restful API through which data can be posted only when configured by users with appropriate permissions and each data stream is securely linked to a onetime token, by no means the best security but suitable for many applications (and of course the whole API function can be disabled if preferred). We of course have software wizards at our HQ that can develop professional integration solutions but as a hobbyist I wanted to see what I could achieve.

 

 

Example API Report

So my plan was to use Python and pull data from the Met Office DataPoint service and inject it directly into our RMS server software so it could visualised, reported and analysed accordingly. Just a few simple steps…

  • Step 1 Get the data from Met Office API
  • Step 2 Create API device in RMS and send your data
  • Step 3 Enjoy graphs, reports and custom alarms

Step 1 – Get the data from Met Office API.

The Met Office API is great you simply need to register to get an api key then get your head around the commands. Once you have that you can request the data you need via a simple url and the information is returned in xml or json format.

API Example
Met Office Datapoint API Response in XML

In Python requesting the last 24 hours of hourly data from location 3212 (Keswick) looks something like this…

Import json, requests
url = ‘http://datapoint.metoffice.gov.uk/public/data/val/wxobs/all/json/3212?res=hourly&key=YOURKEY’ #replace with your Met Office API key!
r = requests.get(url)
metoffice_data = json.loads(r.text)

This gives a Python dictionary with all the json data from which we can request specific values easily for example the latest conditions (no doubt there are more elegant solutions but this works for me).

Hum = (metoffice_data[‘SiteRep’][‘DV’][‘Location’][‘Period’][1][‘Rep’][-1][‘H’])
Temp = (metoffice_data[‘SiteRep’][‘DV’][‘Location’][‘Period’][1][‘Rep’][-1][‘T’])
Pres = (metoffice_data[‘SiteRep’][‘DV’][‘Location’][‘Period’][1][‘Rep’][-1][‘P’])
DewP = (metoffice_data[‘SiteRep’][‘DV’][‘Location’][‘Period’][1][‘Rep’][-1][‘Dp’])

Next we need to create our API device within RMS so it will accept our data

Step 2 – Create API device in RMS

Adding new API device in RMS is simple process, we create the device and define the Name and Serial number.

At this point RMS awaits an Post command in which the additional details are included. Using the Python code below I am able to create a device with 4 measurement points (measured values); Humidity, Temp; Pressure and Dew Point.

import json, requests

url = ‘http://rms.rotronic.com/rmsService/wService3.DeviceService.svc/UpdateDataJson’
headers = {‘Content-Type’ : ‘Application/json’, ‘Expect’ : ‘100-continue’, ‘Connnection’ : ‘Close’, ‘Host’ : ‘rms.rotronic.com’}

payload = {‘Name’:’API_Test’,’Serial’:’12345′,’Values’:[{‘Index’:’1′,’Typ’:’1′,’Value’:’50’},{‘Index’:’2′,’Typ’:’2′,’Value’:’23’},\
{‘Index’:’3′,’Typ’:’16’,’Value’:’5′},{‘Index’:’4′,’Typ’:’48’,’Value’:’1000′}]}
print (payload)
r = requests.post(url, headers=headers, data =json.dumps (payload))

Finally RMS gives us the device ID and API token which must be included in any future post commands.

Combining Step 1 and Step 2 allows us to simply replace my example values above with the real Met Office API data! Run the script hourly or permanently with an hour delay and we have a simple tool proving live data weather data!

Step 3 – Enjoy graphs, reports and custom alarms

With the data in RMS we can easily graph values and create email, sms or phone alarms. Taking the API further I it is possible download live satellite imagery and dynamically update the layouts in RMS!

Example Report

So it turns-out getting data into RMS via the API is simple with a bit of basic code. Of course Met Office data is just an example in modern industrial applications there is so much unique data from devices or software that might be of use and RMS aims to offer a complete monitoring solution not simply for our products!

Be sure to get in touch if you have any questions on the above or have any monitoring requirements. Use the demo login above or visit out RMS website for more details.

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

 

Monitoring for Legionella – The Bacterial Threat

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In July 1976, 130 attendees at a convention hosted by the American Legion war veterans’ associations at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia contracted a severe case of pneumonia, from which 25 of them sadly died.

The US public health authorities investigated  the unknown cause of the mass disease, which was given the name Legionnaires’ disease. Two years later, Legionella Pneumophila was identified as the cause. The Legionella bacterium was finally identified and isolated, it was found to be breeding in the cooling tower of the hotel’s air conditioning system, which then subsequently spread throughout the building. This prompted new regulations worldwide for climate control systems.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease

legionnaires

Reducing the risk
Legionella outbreaks have been linked to hot tubs, cooling towers, decorative fountains and water used for drinking and showering. Hotspots for legionella include any installation where untreated or under-treated water is warm and where it is possible for it to become an aerosol/misted in the environment. The bacteria multiplies between 22 °C and 45 °C with the optimum growth temperature between 35 °C and 40 °C. Effective and consistent monitoring of water quality is essential to maintain control.

One preventative measure is thermal disinfection for full efficiency, the water heaters and water storage tanks as well as the complete hot-water pipe system including the taps must be heated to above 70 °C. This is not readily possible or practical for most piping systems. Fundamentally, a complete drinking water distribution system should not contain sections with stagnant water, i.e. water that does not move for longer than four hours, in which water temperatures of between 25 °C and 55 °C can occur.

Chemical disinfection                                                                                                                         In this process, chemicals such as chlorine dioxide, ozone, hydrogen peroxide, hypochlorous acid, etc. are added to the drinking water to kill off any legionella present. Due to the partly harmful residues in the lines, chemical disinfection should only be carried out by trained personnel.

UV Irradiation                                                                                                                                   This is a disinfection method that uses short wavelength ultraviolet light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying the nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA.

Summary                                                                                                                                                Air containing aerosols/mists contaminated with legionella can cause severe pneumonia. The development  of legionella in drinking water lines can be prevented by avoiding stagnation in water pipes. Importantly HSE guidelines also dictate cold water must be < 20 °C and heated water is stored above 60 °C. Hence monitoring is critical. Achieving these steps will help prevent the formation of biofilms on the insides of the pipes. Finally even with these controls in place public and commercial properties must have water samples tested regularly by an authorised laboratory.

Rotronic Solutions – The continuous monitoring RMS software makes all measured values and data available in a concise and neat form, exactly as required. It is conveniently available anywhere, on any device

Legionella
Warning of potential risks can be obtained by logging temperature and flow velocity at critical points in the distribution system and evaluating the data. Rotronic offers a starter kit for this comprising components, hardware and software.

Please contact Rotronic for full product information on 01293 571000 or email instruments@rotronic.co.uk.

 

 

Live Warehouse Monitoring at Keppel

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Keppel Logistics operates world-class logistics facilities with state-of-the-art infrastructure, and relies on the new Rotronic Monitoring System (RMS) in their warehouses.

In Keppel’s storage facilities, temperature monitoring is crucial. Customers in the pharmaceuticals sector often utilise air conditioned storage spaces.

One of main requirements is to be able to perform real-time monitoring, allowing both the Company and their customers to have direct access to the current warehouse conditions from anywhere in the world and at any time. Furthermore, Keppel required a simple way to collect data, while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the data. Based upon Keppel’s and their customers’ requirements, the Rotronic Monitoring System was implemented, allowing real-time monitoring and data recording, and meeting the requirements of FDA 21 CFR Part 11.

Rotronic was able to offer two solutions: either a cloud-based system , or a server-based system installed directly at Keppel Logistics.

All temperature points are automatically uploaded to the system. with access via a login
or they can receive their own personalised reports remotely on a regular basis. With no more manual data collection, this saves a vast amount of time, the data can be accessed via smartphone, tablet, or PC, from any location worldwide.

At present Keppel measures only the temperature, however, thanks to the flexibility of RMS, Keppel have the capability to monitor further parameters, such as relative humidity, dew point and differential pressure, also door contacts, and much more. Even third-party products can be integrated without any issues.

Keppel Logistics

Keppel Logistics is a wholly owned company of the Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation Group in Singapore. Its core business areas are logistics and data center operations in the Asia, Pacific and Europe area.

rms keppel
RMS Mini Logger installed in the Warehouse

For more information on our RMS system please visit our website Here

Or for information on any of our products please contact us  on 01293 571000 or email instruments@rotronic.co.uk

 

Controlling Critical Decontamination using Rotronic Probes

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The Amira company, located in the Province of Brianza, Italy produces devices and machines for use in various sectors, including pharmaceuticals and research centres. The BioReset line of instruments has been developed, patented, and realised in the course of the last few years, and is marketed worldwide. These instruments are for bio-decontamination using hydrogen peroxide vapour, a technology that allows a wide range of bacteria, viruses, and moulds to be eradicated, even at low temperature, and without negative effects on the treated environment. The reason for this is that the corrosive effect of hydrogen peroxide is minimised in its gaseous state.

To ensure that the vapor does not re-condense, Amira integrate specific sensors in their solutions that allow temperature, humidity, and dew-point inside the treated rooms to be
monitored with extreme precision. These Rotronic sensors are resistant to the corrosive effects of hydrogen peroxide.

Reliability and precision
“We had no doubts whatsoever about the choice of components to be used in these areas,” says Angelo Delmiglio, founder and CEO of Amira, who has known and valued Rotronic solutions for over 25 years. “Rotronic products are renowned for their reliability. Thorough comparisons have shown that these products, even in specific cases, are optimally suited to provide the necessary precision and repeatability of the processes.”

From among the many solutions that Rotronic offers for decontamination with hydrogen peroxide, Amira decided in favor of the HygroClip2 (HC2) probe. Thanks to their housing made from corrosion resistant material (polycarbonate or chrome steel, depending on the model), these probes are especially suitable and, with their extreme precision and short response times, ideal for the pharmaceutical industry. International pharmaceutical companies rely on Amira solutions, and in all applications
of this kind, the Amira devices, thanks to part to the high quality of the components used in them, are 100% capable of meeting the customers’ expectations.

AMIRA s.r.l.


The company is highly regarded for the quality of its products, and is active in the global market, where, in addition to its products, it offers comprehensive after-sales service, including verification, calibration, and operator training. The complete BioReset bio-decontamination product line, developed by Amira, is sold all over the world.

For information on any of our products please visit our website here or contact us on 01293 571000.

 

Ladies Only Exhibition in Perfect Monitored Climate

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The Hohenzollern family came to Brandenburg 600 years ago, in 1415. Twelve prince-electors, seven kings and three emperors made Prussian, German and European history for almost 500 years.

queen

The women have been some what overlooked by historians, by turning the spotlight on them, the foundation for Prussian castles and gardens has paved the way to discovering hitherto unknown aspects of Prussian and European history. The foundation presents 300 exhibits from national and international donors in a an area of 900 Square meters, which include the oldest authentic woman’s dress in Brandenburg (c.1460) and the coronation cloak of Queen Augusta. 

The painting is that of Queen Augusta of Prussia, which is exhibited in a perfectly climatised room

Room Climate in exhibitions 

The climate and lighting are the most influential factors to ensure the preservation of museum exhibits, because they can cause damage by accelerating chemical and biological degradation processes. In recent decades, the exhibition sector has developed a standard for conservation conditions in exhibitions. For those with the most varied works of art, temperatures of 18°c-22°c and relative humidity around 50 %RH with slight variations, and lighting of 50 to 200 Lux, are striven for, depending on the sensitivity of the materials.

Theater “Ladies Only”

The theater in Charlottenburg has no central air conditioning system. The room climate is influenced by a massive building shell, with masonry walls some as thick as 80cm, solid, reinforced concrete ceilings and floors, and composite windows with double glazing. To reduce warming through sunlight, the windows on the south side have been given sunshades for the duration of the exhibition.

Measuring Equipment 

The foundation has until now had no experience with using the building as an exhibition area. For this reason there were very high demands on the quality and availability of the measurement data. The concept for the exhibition combines a large number of works of art made of the most varied and sensitive materials, understanding of measurements is developed over days, months and years.

“The Rotronic measuring system was convincing because of its high degree of data  security, but also because of its flexibility, low maintenance costs and simple operation.” Wulf Eckermann – Stiftung Preussische Schlosser, Germany

Rotronic Data Loggers

Suitable for a wide range of humidity and temperature monitoring tasks, Wireless transmission – Possible over distances of up to 100m.

log-hc2-rc_mit_clip_3Saves on wiring costs, and the data can be collected and recorded from inaccessible points quickly and easily. Thanks to the combination of wireless transmission and data logger, the greatest possible reliability against failure is ensured. Devices can be configured and read out via the HW4 software and now our latest web or server enabled RMS software. Application uses include: Meteorology, Food Industry, Building Technology, Museums, Environmental/Laboratory equipment, research an development, Pharmaceutical/chemical/logistics and textile industry.

Wireless data loggers for active monitoring

To monitor the climatic conditions reliably and flexibly, HL-RC-B wireless data loggers are used. The measured values are recorded locally and safe from manipulation in a memory with a capacity of 500,000 values. With no cabling requirement, and without provision of an infrastructure such as a LAN or power outlets, the loggers are mounted unobtrusively on walls and in glass cases, thus impinging only minimally on the exhibition concept.

For details on any of our products please visit our website

Steriline depends on the reliability of Rotronic Measurement Devices

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Steriline, a expanding company in Lake Como Italy has been manufacturing automatic equipment for the pharmaceutical sector for more than 25 years.

Steriline products combine simple basic principles including reliability and precision to delivery world class products and services. So it’s no wonder that the company enjoys an excellent reputation with the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.

Steriline are focused on the development and production of highly technological and distinct solutions – isolators, for example are used for processes such as quality control and sterility testing, and wherever precise monitoring and control of various environmental conditions, including temperature and humidity, are fundamentally important.

Steriline.png
Steriline Products are used for Aseptic Processing

To ensure precision when measuring humidity and temperature in the isolators, Rotronic instruments are used. Steriline work with Rotronic as equally well known Swiss specialists in high-technology measurement solutions that guarantee the highest quality. Steriline ensure all phases of their production, which take place in the company’s own, strictly controlled manufacturing locations, are subject to comprehensive monitoring processes. This is also true during the manufacture Rotronic humidity measurement transducers such as our HygroFlex5, combined with HC2-S probes, that Steriline uses. The HF5 measures relative humidity and temperature and calculates all psychometric parameters required by HVAC, industrial and pharmaceutical applications.

And it’s not only precision that speaks for Rotronic – Steriline staff have praised the Rotronic customer service too, any necessary maintenance work is carried out quickly and with no red tape, ensuring uninterrupted process continuity.

Reliability to the highest level, in both products and services, make Rotronic instruments the ideal components for manufacturers of machinery for the pharmaceutical industry. We aim to ensure complete conformity to the strict quality requirements of this sector. That’s why Steriline and others depend on  Rotronic for measuring instruments and the technological expertise provided.

hf5x_2_w (1)
HF5 measures relative humidity and temperature and calculates all psychometric parameters in the fields of HVAC, industry and pharmaceuticals.

For information on any of our products please contact us or visit our website www.rotronic.com