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Measuring Medicines with RMS (Rotronic Monitoring System)

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medical_healthcare

Drugs and vaccines need to be stored in controlled temperature and humidity environments, that  require continuous monitoring. The Rotronic Monitoring System (RMS) provides secure and reliable monitoring in hospital and pharmacy refrigerators and freezers. Additionally Rotronic can monitor laboratories operating rooms and other critical areas.

Pharmacies throughout Switzerland are subject to strict laws (HMG Therapeutic Products Act), which state the temperature at which specified medications must be stored. To meet these requirements, the temperature in the refrigerated medicine cabinets are checked and documented regularly. Following some damaged drugs in a Pharmacieplus AG pharmacy due to an excessively high temperature, some pharmacies have now opted to use the Rotronic Monitoring System to assist with the prevention of any further occurrence.

Monitoring Technology
At Pharmacieplus pharmacies, the monitoring system incorporates Rotronic compact data loggers, which communicate with the software via an 868 MHz wireless connection using gateways or directly via LAN connection. The data loggers are positioned as required and are set to record the temperature. Depending on the requirement, this can vary from every 10 seconds up to every 15 minutes.

Most of the Rotronic devices are used in refrigerators, since the medicines stored in them are particularly sensitive to temperature changes. The mini logger sends the data via secure radio signals to a gateway, This is installed at a point in the Pharmacy where the configured connections to all the data loggers are located. The data is transmitted to a server via the network and stored there securely. The alarm function ensures that a warning message is triggered immediately if the temperature rises or falls from the defined tolerance. This can be easily set individually in each pharmacy.

Implementation

RMSTESTAfter setting up the software on one of the hosting company’s servers in Geneva, an initial RMS logger was installed at the company in Bremblens, Switzerland by remote engineering and with support from Rotronic. After successful evaluation, the other Pharmacieplus sites were able to access the application directly. The necessary infrastructure needed to be installed in these pharmacies, but was easily completed. Pharmacieplus AG has launched a campaign that enables interested pharmacists to purchase the system on special terms and, to take                                                                                                  advantage of support during the                                                                                                        installation work.

Outcome
This year the Rotronic (RMS) system was installed in half of all Pharmacieplus pharmacies. Soon after its introduction, users were enthusiastic about the simplicity of system handling and appreciated the  value of automated temperature monitoring and individually configurable alarms. Data is recorded reliably and accurately every minute and can be viewed at any time, whenever required. This saves time and simplifies compliance with temperature regulations.

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The Pharmacieplus group was established 24 years ago by a number of independent pharmacists. They offer their customers personal health advice and high-quality healthcare services.

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Innovative, Energy Saving Measurements

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Innovative measurement technology for control and monitoring data centers demands a high degree of specialised skill. Rotronic Instruments (UK) demonstrated to BladeRoom that Rotronic devices were the optimal solution for their application. The short response time and stable measurement features were decisive.

BladeRoom is a highly energy efficient modular data centre system, providing a scalable method of quickly developing data centres with an extremely low, proven annual

Power Usage Efficiency. These modular data centers are built entirely in the factory, reducing the effort on site to a minimum. Set-up and commissioning therefore takes a fraction of the time it takes for a traditional build.

brBladeroom contributes one vital factor the success of a business: the control of the environmental conditions within very tight tolerances, assuring the reliability of the
cooling system and all components. To achieve this maximum efficiency, the system was designed for the specific ventilation requirements. Air is delivered seamlessly to where it is needed through the normal working zones, so ductwork and raised floors are not required. 

In contrast to conventional data center cooling systems, which return and cool down the warm air from the IT equipment, a BladeRoom data center works like a server. Heavily filtered fresh air is introduced, and intelligently adjusted to the needs of the IT equipment. At the same time, the warm air – depending on the requirements – is extracted from the data centre.   

pf4 imageAs well as Rotronic humidity and temperature probes and measurement transmitters, BladeRoom also uses the Rotronic PF4 differential pressure transmitter. The PF4 Series is an innovative development by Rotronic. The thermal measurement technique enables high precision measurements in the smallest of spaces. This differential pressure transducer gives customers a device to measure a further important parameter in addition to devices for humidity, temperature and CO2 measurement. With the optional connector for a HygroClip2 probe, analogue input or temperature sensor, the device is widely supported for the most diverse applications. The differential-pressure series lives up to these characteristics, with long term stability of <0.3%/year and an accuracy of ±1.0% of the end value.

Evaporative cooling

The drop in temperature resulting from the evaporation of a liquid, which removes latent heat from the surface at which evaporation takes place. This process is utilised in cooling systems, both in industry and in the home. From the point of view of physics, it is also the basis of perspiration

Free cooling
This designates an economical method of utilising low outside temperatures to cool water, which is then used in commercial processes or in air conditioning systems. The cold water can be used immediately, or kept in short-term or long-term storage

Be sure to get in touch if you have any questions on the above or have any monitoring requirements. 


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Better Air Quality means Better Performance

We have all had that situation when we have attended meetings, where an individuals performance has lacked. In most of these cases, this is a direct result of the poor quality of the air in the room.

Uncomfortable situations like this need not arise. CO2 displays by Rotronic make it easy to measure air quality, and the results can be used to initiate the appropriate measures. In an enclosed room, some 25 to 35 cubic metres of fresh air per person per hour are needed, given normal activities. This is a real challenge for building management systems as ventilation is costly due to the energy required but room use varies hugely throughout the day. CO2 is the best measure of use building up relative to the number of occupants, activity level and level of natural ventilation.

This ensures that the carbon dioxide (CO2 ) content remains below 1,000ppm (ppm = parts per million [value of the proportion of carbon dioxide in the air]), and that the volatile substances exuded by humans are extracted to a sufficient degree. By comparison, the CO2 concentration in outdoor air is around 400ppm. The CO2 concentration is a good indication of the quality of the air in a room.

Careful planning of ventilation systems

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Today, however, an adequate supply of fresh air cannot be taken for granted. In densely built-up housing areas, normal ventilation through the windows is of limited value. A good room climate cannot be achieved by regular airing in all buildings – climate regulating systems are a necessity.

Building owners and ventilation planners should therefore conform to the specifications in the SWKI Directives –“Hygiene requirements for room air systems and devices” – starting with the positioning of the air intake, through the controls of the ventilation and heating systems to the instruction of the occupiers. In the case of more complex systems, the responsibilities for surveillance and maintenance must also be clearly defined. . To keep the ventilation systems functioning reliably, and to
keep them hygienic, they must be carefully planned, constructed, regulated and maintained. Rotronic CO2 displays or CO2 transmitters can then be used to monitor and control these ventilation systems, using our  Rotronic Monitoring System live data is available at all times and alerts can be triggered if conditions are not suitable.

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CO2 Display
The wall-mounted or bench-top CO2 display is an inexpensive display unit that simultaneously measures and records CO2 , humidity and temperature. Equipped with the field-tested and proven ROTRONIC HYGROMER® IN-1 humidity sensor, this instrument offers unbeatable value for money, ideal for existing buildings where control systems cannot easy by modified, such as schools, offices, catering areas multi-use spaces. The instrument can be configured directly with buttons, and stored data can be exported to a USB stick for analysis with the free Rotronic software package SW21.

Be sure to get in touch if you have any questions on the above or have any measurement requirements.

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Precise Measurement for quality tobacco

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In the manufacture of tobacco products, it is important to accurately monitor the entire process: from curing through aging to fermentation of the tobacco and the production and storage of the end products.

Before a cigar is made, the tobacco must be prepared to ensure it is fit for consumption. After harvesting, the tobacco leaves are tied in bundles known as gavillas in the casa de tabaco, and hung up to dry .
The drying process, serves to further ripen the tobacco leaves, and reduces the sugar and water content in them. This type of drying takes up to 60 days. During this time, the correct temperature and humidity is monitored. The subsequent fermentation serves to develop the aroma, and removes bitter and unpleasant substances from the leaves. The storage and ripening processes involved may take up to several years.
Equilibrium moisture is a key factor in the quality of a cigar. There are various methods of determining the equilibrium moisture of cigars. The Rotronic water activity probes work with digital AirChip 3000 HygroClip technology, which ensures their high performance and simple, digital adjustment and calibration.
HygroPalm HP23-AW is ideal for portable use offering the perfect solution for water activity measurement when on site. The attachment clamp grasps the bundle of tobacco with its holding jaws, and the HygroClip2 in the measuring chamber measures the equilibrium moisture of the tobacco quickly and accurately. The values for equilibrium moisture and temperature are transmitted digitally to the connected hand-held, the HygroPalm HP23-AW. A special measuring chamber, the “barrilito,” has been developed for measurement of equilibrium moisture in cigars. The cigars are placed in the “barrilito,” which is closed with a height-adjustable, airtight lid.

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Measured equilibrium moisture can provide calculated water content data. Using a large number of empirical measurements, the technical staff of the “Instituto del Tabaco” in Havana have found an algorithm that describes a correlation between equilibrium moisture and water content. This makes it possible to switch the HygroPalm and the application optimized HygroClip probes between equilibrium moisture measurement and water content calculation.
The overall monitoring system comprises more than 400 sets of HF5 and HC2-S
The HF5 universal transmitters provides selectable analog outputs as well as digital outputs ensuring full network compatibility. Thanks to AirChip 3000, the HygroClip2 series HC2-S probe offers a unique and simple calibration and adjustment process. In addition, it offers the highest degree of reproducibility, and accuracy of <0.8%RH and 0.1K.

“The Rotronic HygroPalm is the perfect solution for quality control on site. A stand-alone measurement system that can be used freely and independent of mains.”
Jose M. Guardiola Pedrosa Tabacuba, Cuba

For more information on any of our products please visit our website at http://www.rotronic.com/en-gb

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!

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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&#8217; #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&#8217;
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

casestudy

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.