Tag Archives: logging

Logging Solutions from Rotronic

In this post we take a look at the important questions you should ask when looking for data loggers.

Since our founding over 50 years ago, data logging has always been a key requirement for our customers and as technology and regulations have evolved so have our products and solutions. We now offer a wide range of devices but it can get confusing knowing which approach to take.

Logger Solutions_sm

When choosing a logging solution consider the following areas…

  1. Parameters – What environmental conditions do you need to measure eg Humidity and Temperature
  2. Accuracy/Calibration – How accurate do you need the results and do you require calibration.
  3. Environmental Conditions – Both the logger operating conditions and monitoring conditions.
  4. Access to Data & Reporting – Live data, manual download etc, software and reporting tools
  5. Local Display – Live values, max/min and local alarming
  6. Power Requirements – Mains, battery or PoE (power over ethernet)
  7. Memory – How long can the device log and is data stable if power is lost
  8. Cost – What it often boils down to, but always consider the cost of not changing what you are doing

Lets look in a bit more detail…

Parameters – Fairly self-explanatory but consider things like calculated parameters (dew point) , it might be better to use two separate devices rather than one. Rotronic offer Humidity, Temperature, CO2, Differential Pressure and Barometric pressure probes, but also many of our loggers accept analogue input signals so you can utilise existing or 3rd party instrumentation.

Accuracy & Calibration – Accuracy specifications can be mis-leading, if you care about your measurements we would always advice pre-delivery calibration. Also consider that often bulky loggers can be slower and more costly to calibrate vs devices with external probes. When considering humidity measurements drift is also a key factor.

Environmental Conditions – Consider both those you need to measure and where the logger will be placed. Many loggers have cable probes that can tolerate adverse conditions where the logger itself cannot. Also be wary of battery life, it is typically only stated for use at ambient conditions.

Access to Data / Reporting – Simple loggers typically require manual downloading of data. For large installations or where regular reporting is required this can quickly become a laborious task. Alternatively look for devices with a permanent connection to the monitoring software. Our latest RMS software provides live alarms, automated reports and users can access live data through a simple web browser, often saving time and money in the long run. Simple reporting is also key so that data can securely be shared. In compliant applications you may also require the ability for users to validate report authenticity.

Local Display – Useful for many applications but as data becomes always available can a mobile device act as the display for you data logger. For large spaces consider the ability to build dashboards in your software so that users can see data whilst operating.

Power Requirements – Devices with non user replaceable batteries lead to downtime and additional costs. Where possible mains or PoE connections ensure battery life is not an issue. Our latest wireless devices ensure >3 year battery life even when logging and transmitting data every minute.

Memory – Should be secure in the event of battery or power failure and sufficient to last either between download events or as a back up in case monitoring software / network connections fail.

Cost – Best to be realistic with your budgets, consider the time costs for not acting and down forget on going service costs such as validation and calibration.

As you can see from the simple overview above it is virtually impossible to have one logger for every application. At Rotronic we have a diverse range of solutions and even these do not cover all eventualities.

If you have monitoring requirements please do contact us to discuss further.

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

Monitoring Transportation

Rotronic has recently released a cold chain logger which can be used to ensure items are kept at the correct temperature during transportation.

tl-cc1_0094Rotronic cold chain logger

Transportation in general

One key aspect of today´s wealth in the modern world is specialization. So towns, regions or even whole countries focus on a few things they are really good at. This can be based on various factors; for example resources offered by the land, climatic conditions or specific knowledge that has been developed over a long period and has been passed on from generation to generation. As an example, Cuba provides brilliant conditions for the Corojo and Cirollo plants, better known as tobacco. Although smoking is quite popular among Cubans, their production of tobacco exceeds the local demand by far. On the other hand they lack other resources and goods. At that point trading, and therefore the importance of transportation, comes into play. In the case of the tobacco the transportation is not a simple task, since it requires a constant high humidity level to maintain the high quality expected from a Cuban cigar.

Tobacco-Fields-in-VinalesTobacco plants in Cuba

Like tobacco there are many products where special requirements for shipping have to be put in to consideration, in order to maintain freshness, internal integrity, colour quality or whatever other properties that could be affected by an inappropriate transportation.

Facts & figures:

A major step in the transportation industry was the international standardisation of shipping containers in 1955. This means that one container can be put directly from a vessel to a truck and transported all around the globe.

Today 28´000´000 ISO containers (20 feet) are permanently on the move, transporting goods from point to point keeping our economy running.

Every year 10´000 shipping containers fall over board.

0.16 Euro cents is the cost of transporting a bottle of Chilean whine to Europe.

Why the need to monitor transportation?

Various factors can have a negative impact on a product during transportation. Below are the most common parameters to be monitored to ensure product quality:

Temperature

Controlling temperature is the key in transporting fresh foods, where the rate of decomposition is reduced significantly by maintaining lower temperatures. It is also important as proof of an uninterrupted cool chain for frozen products or to ensure the effectiveness of medication.

truck_insidesthe back of a temperature controlled lorry.

Humidity

Monitoring humidity ensures that the growth of micro organisms in food and medications remains below critical levels. Controlling humidity also helps to maintain structural integrity of paper and cardboard or to avoid corrosion of metals during a long transatlantic journey in a shipping container.

Pressure

Apart of being able to reconstruct when and how long a parcel`s flight was, pressure is also en essential parameter for products that have to be transported in a vacuum or pressured chamber. This method could for example be used when transporting biological samples or hazardous chemicals.

Shock

To guarantee that expensive machinery, glass, works of art and other delicate products weren’t damaged during transportation, monitoring of the G-force in all three axis is the solution.

Rotronic-HygroLog-Log-HC2-P1-Universal-Humidity-and-Temperature-Data-Logger-Humidity-and-Temperature-Measurement---Large-21391770915

 

The Rotronic LOG-HC2 can log light, temperature, humidity, pressure, and shock.

Light

Light is a good parameter to determine if or at what time a container or package was opened. Also to ensure protection of light sensitive products such as vegetable oils, chemical substances or photo paper.

Philip Robinson                                                                                                       Rotronic UK

Humidity in Archive Stores

We recently visited a record office to help set up a wireless temperature and humidity logging system in their archives. They had been experiencing problems with mould growth on the records, some of which could be over a thousand years old. To reduce the levels of damage to the records, they wanted to be able to closely control temperature and humidity levels.

Archives in general

Archives are an accumulation of historical documents collected over the life-time of an organisation.

National archives collect, catalog, and secure historical & present day materials from their country. Besides preserving & organising collections, archivists face the great challenge of deciding which records are assigned a lasting value for research purposes and could contribute to the understanding of the country’s history.

Furthermore, archivists transfer the information to more resistant media by digitising documents, drawings, and photographs. This makes it easy for researchers to access conserved items without the risk of damaging the originals.

OrphicPrayerSheet, 3rd Century BCE

Ancient  Etruscan script

In spite of all the new media available these days some legacy materials need to be preserved in order to show their uniqueness. The oldest preserved book in the world is possibly an Etruscan script discovered in Bulgaria. It is estimated to be more than 2,600 years old.

Besides all the academic work necessary it requires great technical effort to create the best possible storage conditions suitable for the form of the objects to be preserved. For example; papyrus and paper require different temperature and humidity conditions compared with microfilm tapes.

Environmental factors in archive stores

– Radiation in the form of light will cause paper to yellow and ink to fade considerably.

– Air pollutants such as dust and chemicals accelerate the degradation of important documents.

– Vibration for example of archive stores caused by vehicular traffic or construction work can cause mechanical stress on collections.

– Insect pests can lead to severe damage through bites and deposits.

– Temperature & humidity are the most significant factors that have an impact on archive collections and often interrelate with other environmental factors.

Why the need to measure relative humidity?

As in museums, incorrect temperature and humidity levels cause damage to documents, books, photographs and drawings. The rate of decay can double with an increase of as little as 5 °C. Generally warm & damp conditions provide more energy and so increase the speed of decay.

High temperatures can cause document wax seals to soften and even result in the combustion of cellulose nitrate film. At low temperatures organic and plastic materials become brittle making them prone to physical damage. However, one of the most significant consequences of incorrect temperature is the incorrect relative humidity that can result – temperature has a direct effect on relative humidity and vice versa.

This particular fact of course is the same in museums, but is often much harder to control in archives since proper ventilation is not easy to achieve in between multiple shelves fully loaded with collections. Studies have shown large deviations of temperature and therefore also humidity (RH) within an archive section. In general, it is recommended to keep the temperature between 20 – 22 °C and humidity be-tween 50 – 60 %rh in archives where organic material is stored. Otherwise a temperature drop can make condensation inevitable.

book1

A damaged book.

RH above 65 % encourages mould and pest activity, RH below 45 % leads to desiccation, shrinking and cracking of organic materials.

The main challenge for architects, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning engineers is to create the most homogeneous controlled storage environment possible.

Philip Robinson                                                                                                       Rotronic UK

BlogShot – Inexpensive Compact Logger

Rotronic is pleased to announce the introduction of its smallest ever temperature and humidity logger. The HL-1D measures only 90 x 60 x 23 mm, is well specified with good accuracy, durable and has high ingress protection against dust and water (IP67). HW4-Lite validated software for programming, data download and analysis is included. The logger is available now at a competitive, inexpensive price.

Hygrolog HL-1D
Hygrolog HL-1D

The Rotronic HL-1D logger is very suitable for monitoring and recording conditions for a wide range of applications across all industries, in commerce and for research organisations. The compact logger is particularly suitable for monitoring high value products of all types during transportation to ensure that quality is maintained.

The significant features of the HL-1D inexpensive logger include:

•  High measurement accuracy of 3 %rh and 0.3 °C
•  Slim, compact and durable. High ingress protection rating of IP67
•  Clear LC display with configurable visual alarms
•  Large data recording capacity:  32,000 data points
•  Ranges:  -20…70 °C, 0…100 %rh. Logging interval from 30 s
•  Min / Max / Average statistical function on logger display
•  Package includes HW4-Lite validated PC software with data analysis
•  Three year battery life (with five minute logging interval)
•  FDA 21CFR Part 11 / GAMP5 conformity
•  Temperature only logger available (product code TL-1D)

HL-1D / TL-1D Logger Technical Datasheet – click here

Contact us now for logger pricing and additional information

Tel: 01293 571000  Email: instruments@rotronic.co.uk  Web: www.rotronic.co.uk

Temperature and Humidity Monitoring in Data Centres

Over the years there has been a rapid increase in large stand-alone data centres housing computer systems, hosting cloud computing servers and supporting telecommunications equipment. These are crucial for every company for IT operations around the world.

It is paramount for manufacturers of information technology equipment (ITE) to increase computing capability and improve computing efficiency.  With an influx of data centers required to house large numbers of servers, they have become significant power consumers. All the stakeholders including ITE manufacturers, physical infrastructure manufacturers, data centers designers and operators have been focusing on reducing power consumption from the non-computing part of the overall power load: one major cost is the cooling infrastructure that supports the ITE.

Data Centre Modelling
Data Centre Modelling

Too much or too little Humidity can make one uncomfortable. Similarly, computer hardware does not like these extreme conditions any more than we do. With too much humidity, condensation can occur and with too little humidity, static electricity can occur: both can have a significant impact and can cause damage to computers and equipment in data centers.

It is therefore essential to maintain and control ideal environmental conditions, with precise humidity and temperature measurement, thus increasing energy efficiency whilst reducing energy costs in Data Centers. ASHRAE Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments has helped create a framework for the industry to follow and better understand the implications of ITE cooling component.

Rotronic’s high precision, fast responding and long-term stability temperature and humidity sensors are regularly specified for monitoring and controlling conditions in data centres.

Why measure temperature and humidity?

Maintaining temperature and humidity levels in the data center can reduce unplanned downtime caused by environmental conditions and can save companies thousands or even millions of dollars per year. A recent whitepaper from The Green Grid (“Updated Air-Side Free Cooling Maps: The Impact of ASHRAE 2011 Allowable Ranges”) discusses the new ASHRAE recommended and allowable ranges in the context of free cooling.

The humidity varies to some extent with temperature, however, in a data center, the absolute humidity should never fall below 0.006 g/kg, nor should it ever exceed 0.011 g/kg.

Maintaining temperature range between 20° to 24°C is optimal for system reliability. This temperature range provides a safe buffer for equipment to operate in the event of air conditioning or HVAC equipment failure while making it easier to maintain a safe relative humidity level.  In general ITE should not be operated in a data center where the ambient room temperature has exceeded 30°C. Maintaining ambient relative humidity levels between 45% and 55% is recommended.

Additionally, data centre managers need to be alerted to  change in temperature and humidity levels.

Rotronic temperature and humidity probes with suitable transmitters or loggers are most suitable for monitoring & controlling conditions in data centres due to their high precision and fast response with long-term stability.

With Rotronic HW4 Software a separate monitoring system can be implemented. This enables data center managers to view measured values and automatically save the measured data. Alarm via email and SMS, with report printout allow data integrity guaranteed at all times.

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

Field Testing the new HL-1D Compact Logger – Up the Matterhorn!

Last week Rotronic launched their latest small compact temperature and/or humidity data logger!

hygrolog1_front
HL-1D Compact Logger UK RRP £73

With the Friday off work myself and a friend thought how better to test the impressive little logger than slinging it in a pack and carrying it up through sun, fog, snow and rain on an audacious weekend attempt to climb the 4478m Matterhorn in the beautiful Swiss Alps (I confess my friend could not care less about the logger aspect but was certainly up for the climb).

Matterhorn
Hornli Ridge of the Matterhorn 4478m

With no time for acclimatization, the climb would be grueling enough without carrying additional instruments, but thankfully the HL-1D is very compact and light. It has 3 year battery life, can store 32,000 readings and has high measurement accuracy of ± 3.0% RH and ± 0.3 °C. Of course the logger is designed more for monitoring office and work spaces,  transportation of products, production and storage environments, still we though it wise to push it to its limits!

Due to very poor conditions on the mountain we planned to overnight in a small hut at 4000m. So with our packs loaded we set off from the 2000m high gondola station above the beautiful village of Zermatt. But first ensured we were well fueled with ‘Apfel Strudel’ and coffee!

Breakfast HL-1D
Breakfast of kings!

The climb itself started at 3000m and the temperature quickly began to drop as we gained altitude.  At nearly 4000m the temperature dropped rapidly and clouds came in (shown by a rapid increase in the humidity). Luckily the Solvay Hut at 4004m provided welcome shelter and a ‘comfortable’ 3°C temperature (much warmer inside our sleeping bags).

Start of Hornli Ridge
At the base of the route proper

The morning showed that the cold temperatures and thick cloud had turned to more heavy snow fall, making any further progress even harder. The fresh snow combined with the debilitating effects of altitude sickness meant that we (wisely) decided to head straight down (this was just a quick weekend getaway after all).

Descent - more snow
Lots more snow on the way down!

The decent was challenging and navigation difficult. Snow fall was consistent most of the day and topped off by a steady shower of rain as we made our final walk back down to the gondola station (you can see the logger showing 100%rh as the top pocket of my bag becomes saturated in the down pour).

Zermatt
Relaxing back in beautiful Zermatt the following day – It’s sunny now!!

Back in Zermatt and we quickly find shelter to dry off and find a good spot for a celebratory beer and hearty Swiss meal.

What of our little logger? It provides a great record of the trip. Values safely recorded through the freezing temperatures and soaking rain.
Full trace of the logger can be found below; click on the image for more detail.

Matterhorn Trace
Matterhorn Trace

If you would like more info on the latest compact logger click here or for any other measurement queries please do not hesitate to contact us!

Dr. Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK