Category Archives: Humidity

What is the latest monitoring system from Rotronic? A practical answer and a technical answer.

The Rotronic Monitoring System (RMS) has now been officially launched globally for 12 months and in use at some key clients for over two years.

RMS is a modern continuous monitoring system that embraces open architecture and interoperability as well as providing a compliant system for validated applications.

But how is this achieved and what exactly is RMS. There are two ways I find myself answering this…

  • The technical answer – for IT project managers, system integrators and cyber security managers.
  • The practical answer – for end users, project managers and smaller organisations.

What is RMS – The Practical Answer…

The practical answer is more visible via our online demonstration (request guest access here) and via the details on our RMS satellite website.

In short RMS provides a modern and complete monitoring system with a detailed web interface. The system provides users with ease of access to data, reliable and manageable alarms and extensive reporting. Importantly RMS can support existing hardware and interact with other software/hardware platforms.

RMS can be provided as a hosted cloud service or using a traditional licence whereby the client installs the system on their servers (local or cloud).

In summary RMS provides amongst other things…

  • Live interactive charts
  • Full reporting and automated/scheduled report generation
  • Complete event logging in line with GxP requirements
  • Full alarming with logic and time schedules
  • Email, phone, sms, relay and custom protocol alarm outputs
  • Auto back fill and retrospective alarms (ideal for transport logging)
  • Interactive layouts
  • Complete user rights management
  • Compliant to GxP designed around ease of validation

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Core RMS hardware includes Ethernet, WiFi, industrial wireless and RS485 devices as well as full support for existing Rotronic devices, 3rd party analogue devices and 3rd party digital devices using any of the above interfaces. The below graphic outlines the wide range of options available.

06 RMS Graphic

Contact us for further information or visit our website

What is RMS – The Technical Answer…

Let’s now go a bit deeper. For many organisations once end-users approve of a system the challenge is getting the system approved and installed in line with wider corporate policies and security. So far we have found that in discussions with IT project managers and cyber security managers, RMS has met their requirements – usually much to the surprise of the end users who perhaps initially expect a protracted battle! Typically for larger more secure organisations software is required to be installed within their network rather than using the Rotronic Cloud service. Below we discuss the main elements of this type of RMS installation.

RMS has two core elements.

1. Webservice; This is software aspect of RMS. The webservice provides the interactive webpage to present data for end users and allow system configuration. The webservice also works in the background to interact with hardware and the database. Typically the webpage will be part of the local intranet with an address like rms.yourorganisation.com, optionally the webpage can also be made accessible from the internet outside your organisation (like our cloud service which is available at http://rms.rotronic.com/rms – request guest access to the demo system here). For the clients (end users) no special software or plugins are required just a standard web-browser.

More technically the RMS webservice is built around ASP.Net framework and runs under Windows IIS (internet information services). The webservice therefore requires a Windows Server (2008, 2012 or 2016). The RMS software can be run on a standard PC with IIS enabled but this is not usually advised except for specific applications.

A note on RMS hardware; All Rotronic hardware initiates communication with the webservice via port 80. For cloud applications this means only port 80 must be opened outbound to allow the devices to initiate outbound communications to the server. All gateways have standard IP configurations (DHCP or fixed).

2. SQL Database; The second part of the RMS is its database. All device, configuration, user and measured data is stored within a standard MS-SQL database. The database is accessed by the webservice to store and read data as required. An existing SQL server can be used if available otherwise SQL-Express is free to install.

More technically the RMS database requires Microsoft-SQL Express or higher, the database can be on the same server as the webservice or a separate machine.

As RMS is built around standard server based systems, there is full support for load balancing and failover, as such should a webserver or sql server fail a redundant/spare can take over. This is standard procedure for larger IT systems.

Some other technical points about RMS.

  • Supports LDAP (so you can use windows login and password)
  • No personal data stored outside SQL database (hardware only stores unique serial code, date, time and measured values – as such no private data passes between hardware and software).
  • Webpage data is binary coded and authentication uses AES128 encryption.
  • Key exchange uses diffie-hellman key alogrithm.
  • 3rd party data / device support is possible via RESTful API or direct interaction with SQL database.

An overview of the RMS communication can be seen here.

08 RMS Communication

For many projects clearly we go much deeper but hopefully this provides an overview. Our experience to date has shown that RMS is closely inline with what our clients expect in terms of operations and security. Further developments are always underway, lead by our customers and their requirements.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss a project or gather further information.

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

12 Slides explaining Water Activity; what it is and how to use it!

Water activity is a useful parameter for many industries. Measuring water activity takes only a few minutes so can provide results quickly, ideal for critical control points.

However water activity is a qualitative measure therefore interpreting results can be complex. The following slides provide an overview to water activity and how to utilise Aw measurements.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our webpage to download our latest AW White Paper!

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

 

 

Five Applications where Water Activity is critical and why!

Not clear on what water activity is? Check out our other posts on water activity here!

Water activity affects a wide range of products from pharmaceuticals to foods, here we take a brief look at five typical applications where water activity measurements are used.

Remember water activity affects biological, chemical and physical properties of products.

Application 1 – Food

Water activity is critical in food production, reducing water activity reduces the available moisture for spoilage organisms to utilise as such low Aw can limit or prevent growth and spoilage.

Aw is often used to screen raw ingredients or end products to confirm that they are within tolerance. Aw measurements only take a few minutes and can therefore provide immediate feedback. This can save time, money and prevent health risks or product spoilage.

Aw can be used as an excellent indicator of shelf life. Once a production process has been fine tuned to deliver products with suitable shelf-life, online aw measurements can confirm production consistency.

Classic methods to control Aw in food are listed below.Slide14

Application 2 – Paper

Water activity or %equilibrium relative humidity in paper may not be your first thought, but the impact of poor or changing ERH in paper can be very costly. Changes in ERH can cause paper to curl or lead to increased static both of which can cause paper jams. For an industrial printing company this can lead to costly downtime. ERH also affects the binding of inks, drying times and ultimately spoilage by moulds and fungi.Slide15

 

Application 3 – Pharmaceutical Products

Drug production and storage is one of the most highly regulated manufacturing sectors. All stages of drug production, storage and delivery rely on critical control of many factors including water activity. Most drugs must be stored in stable conditions hence the advanced moisture impermeable packaging used. Aw readings as well as humidity monitoring and control are utilised to ensure free water is maintained within tolerance.

Slide16

 

Application 4 – Seed preservation and storage

Seeds present an interesting challenge, if Aw is too low the seeds quickly become non viable, where as too high and they may germinate or suffer spoilage through mould or fungal growth. One of the most critical seed preservation projects is the Millennium Seed Bank project. More details about how Rotronic AW meters were used is avaialble on the Kew Gardens websiteSlide17

 

Application 5 – Soaps and powders

Finally we come to good old washing powder, even with powders and liquids now packed into clever tablets and pods Aw remains critical. The materials must be stored in a way that ensures safe delivery to the customer but can be released once in contact with water in your washing machine. The science of behind the latest washing powders and liquids relies heavily on the measurement and conrtol of water activity and %ERH!Slide18

 

Hopefully this brief in site into how water activity affects so many day to day products has been useful. For more information visit our website or contact us to discuss!

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

Durable, Adaptable, Accurate

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Campbell Scientific (CSC) are an ISO 9001 certified company who are a leading manufacturer in a variety of applications related to weather, water, energy, gas flux and turbulence, infrastructure, and soil. Campbell Scientific, are committed to satisfying the instrumentation needs of their customers, and are internationally recognised in the measurement and control industry for producing accurate and dependable instruments

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HC2A-S3

 

CSC systems are acclaimed for their dependability, which they demonstrate even in the most extreme weather climates. Their attributes include wide operating ranges, low energy usage, many communications options, and the flexibility to support a wide variety of measurement  and control applications. Applications include, agriculture, air quality, fire warning, water quality, weather and climate recording, structural monitoring, Geo-technical monitoring and mining.

Rotronic and CSC have been business partners for many years, CSC uses the standard Rotronic meteo probe in many applications. Recently CSC installed the probe in a network of Road Weather Information Systems  in Kelowna, British Columbia. CSC selected the probe because of its reliability, ease of use and accuracy. The HC2A-S3 is also highly regarded for its ability to function in extreme temperatures, this makes it good for the  Canadian climate, and a perfect complement to Campbell Scientific systems.

csc2
” We value the Rotronic HC2A-S3 probe for its ability to function at extreme temperatures.” Mike Ryder Campbell Scientific, Canada

For more information on the latest HC2A-S click here ,or for any of our products please visit the Rotronic website.

Meteorology Numerical Weather Prediction

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The calculation of weather data

What is the weather going to be like tomorrow?

For a long time, people have tried to predict weather conditions using the hydrologic climate cycle.In the early 1920’s scientists were able to compile a six hour forecast, back then it took six weeks to analyse weather data collected at only two points in Europe and calculate, by hand, a useful illustrative model. Today, supercomputers are used to predict the weather for a period of several weeks. The complex modelling programs require several million data points for parameters such as temperature, humidity, pressure, vertical & horizontal wind velocity with time stamps and absolute coordinates. To create a correlation between the data and the environment, scientists “slice” the atmosphere virtually into smaller horizontal &vertical parts—this process is called discretisation. It is more useful to compute the chronological change of the parameters using this model.

watercycle-pageClockwise from top left: Map of the average temperature over 30 years. .Weather station on Mount Vesuvius. .Water cycle summary

Meteorological events that are too “small” such as a single thunderhead, layer clouds or smaller turbulence’s will be parameterised through variables. This parameterisation is a science of its own that aims to reduce uncertainties as best as possible. Every forecast calculation starts with the current weather conditions. The quality of this input is crucial for the accuracy of the final forecast. Meteorologists link the forecast of yesterday’s weather with the actual measured parameters. Only large data centres are capable of computing this data assimilation. The overall result is a best possible calculation basis predict the weather for the next day. If this groundwork is flawed the forecast may be incorrect. For example, it could report rain at the wrong location. Today’s meteorological mathematicians also take parameters into account that change extremely slowly compared to the other factors. Growth and the reduction of polar ice, or the temperature of the oceans are summarised as boundary values. After a model is run using all the available data, meteorologists process and customise reports for a wide range of target groups such as public authorities, flight control centres, energy producers, industries and many more. These reports also include specific weather warnings.

Why the need to measure humidity?

Atmosphere_composition_diagramAtmosphere composition diagram

As described above, the daily weather forecast relies on the precise measurement of weather parameters. The science of numerical weather prediction aims to describe the daily hydrologic cycle in numbers. Humidity plays an  important role. Typically, data errors will multiply during calculations. Humidity values influence weather calculations e.g. through the water vapour balance equation— this formula expresses the influence of humidity through rain & condensation, and vice versa. Incorrect measurement or incomplete humidity data directly leads to wrong predictions of a huge number of weather phenomena such as the condensation altitude of clouds, locations of hyetal regions, fog layers and storms. In 1999, incorrect data sent by a weather station in Nova Scotia, Canada led to a incorrect forecast for Hurricane Lothar two days before it hit Central Europe. Authorities were insufficiently prepared to alert people in time. The prediction of rain and snowfall is still challenging for meteorologists. Only more extensive networks of weather stations and enhanced mathematical models will reduce problems due to unknown factors.

Facts & Figures

  • 7 inches is the diameter of the largest hailstone ever recorded.
  • Sukkur City in Pakistan is one of the most humid places in the world with
    30 °C dew point & a felt air temperature of 65 °C.
  • A study showed that a small thunderstorm system holds more than 10 million tons of water.
  • No two weather patterns are completely alike.
  • Some weather models assimilate data obtained from more than 25,000 weather stations.

At the Forefront of Health Care

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Original Article from www.rotronic.com

Rotronic has released launched our next generation server based Environmental Monitoring System (RMS), but here we take a look at our traditional system that is still fully supported and widely used in the pharmaceutical industry and beyond. 

The German pharmaceutical manufacturer Dr. R. Pfleger Hygrolog NTGmbH requires specialist cleanroom environments for many areas of production and development. It is vital for the company to monitor and verify pressure conditions as well as humidity and temperature  data in its cleanrooms. To meet this need,the company uses validated Rotronic data loggers from the Hygrolog HL-NT series.

Together with  the Rotronic validated HW4 monitoring software, these data loggers deliver important information on the environments that have an influence on the production of pharmaceutical products.

The Rotronic monitoring system has stood the test of time in the market over many years and undergone continuous development. The HW4 software forms the heart of the system. It visualises and saves all data, configurations and user events and also triggers alarms. Its audit trail logs all data and activities in compliance with FDA21 CFR Part 11 and GAMP5. Rotronic calibrated, qualified and validated Dr. R. Pfleger GmbH’s monitoring system according to GMP requirements.

Overall control and regulation
The management system forms the basis for operation, monitoring and control of the technical facilities as well as for data and message management. Apart from the technical installations, the validated clean room monitoring system is implemented
directly in FIS (OPC interface).

HygroLog HL-NT data logger – The central acquisition unit is a HygroLog-HL-NT data logger. It provides digital inputs for HygroClip humidity and temperature probes as well as Pt100 and 4…20 mA devices.

Dr Pfleger1The data logger is also equipped with a memory card which not only stores the measurement of data but also all the events in the instrument itself.

HC2-S sensors
The digital HygroClip2 climate probes provide class leading precision and long-term stability. All calibration and adjustment data is stored internally. Their standard accuracy ex works is ±0.8 %rh and ±0.1 K, for more demanding tasks, sensors with an accuracy of ±0.5 %rh can be supplied.

Sophisticated Software  – The HW4 software saves the measurement data, alarms and events in a protected binary format. Any manipulations are detected and the data record is then marked as corrupt. Instruments are organised in groups and shown in the room layout. Colour changes make alarms and disturbances easy to recognise.

Evaluation and archiving
A data file is created for every measuring point. Mean Kinetic Temperature values are calculated from this raw data. The evaluation also contains alarm times and deviations and is presented in the form of a table with statistical values. Thanks to the high level of integration of the hardware in HW4, virtually all Rotronic instruments can be implemented in the existing monitoring system.

Customer benefits
The monitoring system implemented by Rotronic offers a consistent solution, since all main and secondary installations and the monitoring system itself are integrated in the FIS management system, they can be monitored and controlled via a central software platform.

Dr. R. Pfleger GmbH

  •  Medium-sized pharmaceutical company located in the city of Bamberg,
  • The company is entirely owned by the Doktor Robert Pfleger-Foundation
  • The company now markets over 30 medicinal products
  • Primary focus on urological, gynaecological, and dermatological indication

For more information on any of our products please visit the Rotronic website.

The Perfect Climate for your Duty Free Goods

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Original Article from www.rotronic.com

Switzerland has around a dozen duty-free warehouses. These warehouses are transit zones for the storage of goods whose main advantages are the temporary suspension of customs law and taxes. They benefit not only from a location in the heart of Europe, but also from legal and political stability. The company Ports Francs et Entrepôts de Genève SA, is based in La Praille, where it manages a floor space of 150 000 m², half of which under the Swiss customs regime (duty-free).

To ensure it is able to meet high standards in quality and security, Ports Francs opened a new warehouse in 2014. It was specially designed to store valuable products in accordance with the requirements of insurers. To establish the necessary climatic conditions, Rotronic HF1 temperature and humidity transmitters were installed to enable control of the optimum storage climate.

hygroflex1_display_fornt_178
Hygroflex Transmitters HF1 Series 

 

1000 commercial premises in La Praille
There are currently 10 duty-free warehouses in Switzerland. Duty-free warehouses are usually located near national borders and airports. In contrast to most other countries, there is no time limit for storage in Swiss duty-free warehouses for goods not stemming from Switzerland. In 1888 the canton parliament approved the establishment of the operating company Ports Francs de Genève SA, which was later renamed to Ports Francs et Entrepôtsde Genève (PFEG).

site.png                                    Ports Francs et Entrepôtsde Genève

There are almost 1000 commercial premises of all sizes available in la Praille. The type of goods stored in duty-free warehouses has changed immensely over the years. The
strong development in the art and wine market has given rise to special security and quality requirements concerning,in the first instance, storage conditions (temperature, humidity and vibrations). The new warehouse building, designed in collaboration with specialised contractors, was inaugurated in 2014. The building, which serves mainly to store valuables such as antiques, works of art and wine, is the result of close co-operation between various specialists in security issues, insurance, energy and architecture as well as the end users. The numerous elements listed in the requirement specification included the critical details relating to climatic conditions (temperature and humidity) in the building’s storage rooms.

Like in our wine cellarsTransporting_the_Worlds_Finest_Wines_and_Spirits
To ensure a high standard of quality and security, Ports Francs et Entrepôts de Genève SA approached the Zurich-based company Rotronic AG in Bassersdorf. “We need precise and stable measuring instruments,” says technical director Marc Golay. The building concerned is equipped not only with a ventilation and air-conditioning system (humidity and temperature), but also with a central building management system utilising the concepts of  MSR (measuring, control and regulation). The building is divided into two large parts. The first is for storage of wine in accordance with applicable regulations (70% humidity, 13°C), as in the cellars of our forefathers. The second part is reserved for sensitive and valuable goods, primarily paintings (55% humidity, 21°C). “Since it was one of the main aspects of the building concept, we also wanted to have the possibility to trace the climatic conditions during storage.” This very functional location enables arrival of the goods by road with a loading platform and direct access to the premises. Equipment rooms, escape routes, freight elevators, elevators and sanitary facilities round off the building. “We wanted a system able to maintain a constant level of humidity and a constant temperature everywhere and at any time of the year. To ensure control and logging of these parameters, we opted for the measuring instruments from Rotronic”, adds Marc Golay.

Rotronic transmitters
Depending on the storage area of the goods, it is not always easy to check whether ventilation and air replacement are working effectively everywhere. The solution was to utilise 227 Rotronic HF1 transmitters within the complete premises. The instruments are monitored remotely by the MSR system from the Geneva manufacturers EnerBat – a specialist in the technical and energy monitoring in buildings – the system checks daily that the temperature and humidity requirements are being met. Since the building was designed to guarantee the best storage conditions, it does not have any windows so that the climatic conditions can be kept as stable as possible. To improve security for protection and prevention of fires, all stores are equipped with a common, dedicated gas extinguishing system.

The importance of using measuring equipment
Why was Rotronic preferred over other companies?

“It is a company with an excellent reputation that takes action immediately when necessary. It is extremely important that the probes work reliably and accurately as they deliver all the information on the climatic conditions in the building,” explains the technical director. Thus the importance of the measurements. The wall mount T/rh probes for the duty-free warehouse were fastened to the walls at a height of about 150 cm from the floor. They enable control of the temperature and humidity in the room air and emit a warning signal when limits are exceeded. The probes are also connected to the wider systems via analogue and digital outputs and finally integrated in a Scada monitoring system. “We decided to use the products from Rotronic because they were the best value for money,” says Fabien Caradot from Elitec. “There were of course other possibilities, but at the same price Rotronic scored higher with its HF1 product range in terms of quality, reliability of the material, technical support and calibration.” Elitec, which originally worked in the manufacture of electrical switchboards, today employs around 20 people and rounds off its portfolio of services with the fields of building automation, home automation and various inspection services such as technical and schematic analyses.

The Probes used the get the perfect temperature and Air humidity for Ports France et Entrepôts de Genève SA

  • 260 Main HF135-AB1X Probe (227 installed, the rest are reserved)
  • 22 Probes 9 Wall and duct mount probes) in the logistics hall of CICR
  • 2 Wall mount T/rF probes and 1 duct mount T/rF probe in the archives of CICR
  • 3 Duct mount probes in the red cross museum
  • 1 Ventilated outdoor probe for the Swissquote building in Gland
  • 35 Duct mount CO²  probes for the school Le Sapay

   Access to all our products or for more details please visit @www.rotronic.co.uk

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Emma Batchelor