Tag Archives: Measurement

Why do we need Warehouse Mapping?

Rotronic is proud to be able to offer an increasing range of products and services to meet the demands of our customers. The requirements for mapping especially thermal mapping are increasing dramatically in food, pharma and cosmetics production and transport industries.

But what is Thermal Mapping?
Mapping is the process of determining the temperature and often humidity gradients within a defined space. It is a vital process when the product is regulated by government agencies such as the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Regulated materials must not exceed strict storage conditions. Fixed limits will typically exist for humidity and temperature both in terms of the absolute value and also the allowable rates of change. Mapping serves as a baseline for proving compliance within the storage spaces.

The reason for increasing regulatory compliance is to ensure products do not spoil or otherwise degrade during production, storage and transport. Warehouses are notorious for having warm or cold spots that are outside of the regular control specification. A proper mapping study serves to locate these spots and either modify or avoid the problem area. Similar problems can occur during transportation so increasingly transport is at least monitored if not fully controlled and mapped.

At 4.3 million square feet, the largest warehouse in the world is the Boeing Everett factory in Everett, WA USA. It was originally designed to construct the Boeing 747.

An FDA Form 483 is issued to a company’s management at the conclusion of an inspection when an investigator(s) has observed any conditions that in their judgement may constitute violations of the Food Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act and related Acts.

Mapping in General
A mapping strategy is needed for several reasons. It is important for regulators or quality managers to understand the philosophy employed for the mapping. A documented strategy will decrease questions from any regulators reviewing your mapping study. The strategy document also helps them understand the data that is produced by the mapping process. The document acts as a tool for collaboration as other people may suggest ideas that will make your study produce better data or make your effort more efficient.

As the mapping study progresses from start to finish, the strategy document acts as your reference guide, ensuring you remain true to the agreed upon process and do not make changes that will negatively affect the study. A typical strategy is usually comprised of a few written paragraphs that includes a description of the warehouse space, the type of equipment used, the number of sensors to be used, a general idea of the sensor placement, and the duration of the study. It is not unusual for the mapping strategy to change as it evolves. Writing a detailed document at the early stages of the project may cause re-writes that can increase the total length of the project. It is usually more efficient to fully document the warehouse mapping project after the strategy is agreed. Think of the strategy document as a proposal for your mapping team or the approval team so they can buy into and understand your mapping strategy. It may also facilitate the final approval stage, later in the project, because the auditor already understands the warehouse mapping project.

Continuous Monitoring After the Warehouse Mapping
Continuous monitoring is a best practice within controlled and regulated spaces. The mapping study will determine the hot and cold zones for “worst case” sensor placement. These worst case locations should be considered when installing a permanent, continuous monitoring system. The number of sensors used for a permanent system will be far fewer than what is required for the mapping study. In some cases, continuous monitoring may require only a few sensors once the problem areas have been determined through the mapping study. A continuous monitoring system offers peace of mind as product components, manufacturing space, or storage space are maintained and on record as meeting specified environmental conditions.

If you have any queries regarding warehouse mapping feel to get in touch and we will be happy to discuss!

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality

Some of the key factors for improving energy efficiency in relation to indoor applications are the control of Relative Humidity (RH) and temperature. The question is, how to control RH to acceptable levels in an energy efficient manner. Energy efficient humidity control has a very strong bearing on thermal comfort, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and eventually on the health and performance of occupants in air-conditioned buildings.

slider-pane1-new

Passivhaus buildings are built to a voluntary standard to improve energy efficiency and reduce ecological footprint.

IAQ control seeks to reduce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and other air impurities such as microbial contaminants. As such it is important to control relative humidity which can be a key factor leading to mould growth and the presence of bacteria and viruses, dust mites and other such organisms.

Buildings rely on a properly designed ventilation system to provide an adequate supply of cleaner air from outdoors or filtered and recirculated air

TrueDry_DR120_HR

Buildings may rely on dehumidifiers like the one above to reduce RH levels to a comfortable range

Air-conditioning systems typically employ a high level of air recirculation to save energy during cooling and dehumidification. Typically recirculation rates are around 80-90%, but can sometimes be even higher. The challenge is not so much in dehumidification, but in doing so without having to overcool. As such, ventilation is integrated for general comfort and economical saving.

Rooms are often designed with specific conditions in mind including temperature, humidity, brightness, noise, and air flow. Careful engineering and implementation of building automation and control is the only way to ensure energy efficiency and building operation conditions are met during occupancy, at the lowest possible costs.

IAQ Facts:

Energy Efficiency (EE) refers to either the reduction of energy inputs for a given service or the enhancement of a service for a given amount of energy inputs.

Relative humidity is highly temperature dependent, so if the temperature is stable, it is much easier to achieve a stable RH.

Air in our atmosphere is a mixture of gases with very large distances between molecules. Therefore, air can accommodate a large quantity of water vapor. The warmer the air, the more water vapor can be accommodated.

Why the need to measure, temperature and relative humidity?

Precise temperature control of air which is supplied to a room results in maximum comfort for the occupants. The temperature should be held constantly at a particular set point to achieve this comfort.

Readings from temperature transmitters installed in the air supply duct are compared to readings inside a particular room. It is easiest to achieve a constant room temperature if there is little difference between the two values. Air temperature control in supply ducts can be employed in rooms in which the air handling unit is used mainly for the renewal of air.

hf3_2_o_display_1

Rotronic manufactures temperature and humidity transmitters such as the one above which are suitable for use in spaces where appearance is a factor.

It is with good RH control that we can process the air for air conditioned rooms independent of the state of outside air and the processes taking place in the room. This way the RH remains constant or within the preset limits and thus energy consumption for humidification and dehumidification is minimized.

Air conditioning is supposed to maintain room temperature and RH as precisely as possible through the use of systems which monitor and control temperature and humidity in the room (or in the air supply ducts to the room). Systems must be dynamic to manage the changing room air quality depending on the occupants and usage.

With precise measurement and control of temperature and humidity, energy consumption for humidification & dehumidification as well as heating and cooling can be reduced leading to energy efficient building operation with lower energy costs and healthier occupants.

Phil Robinson
Rotronic UK

CO2 in Garages and Tunnels.

Modern vehicle engines emit many harmful substances, including carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons and some 20 other gases. It is known that all engines produce CO, particularly at cold start. To protect ourselves from this toxic gas, vehicles are installed with catalytic converters. This means that a warm running modern engine with converter generates 140 times more CO2 than CO.

catalytic_converterCatalytic converters convert a lot of the CO produced by an engine into CO2.

Facts and Figures

The longest tunnel in Switzerland will be the Gotthard Base Tunnel (under construction) that will be 57km long. The tunnel is a railway tunnel.

The longest car tunnel in the world is located in Norway, the Laerdal tunnel, 24km.

The LEP tunnel in Cern, Switzerland/France is a 26km circular ring.

Why the need to measure CO2?

Old vehicles (pre-catalyst) generate a lot of carbon monoxide pollution, to solve this, modern vehicles were installed with catalytic converters. Catalytic converters are not very efficient during cold start up but once warm they can convert CO to CO2 very effectively. This means modern engines emit much higher quantities of CO2 than CO. It is well-known that CO is extremely toxic but CO2 in high levels can also be hazardous to health. To ensure healthy air quality it is important to provide excellent ventilation in garages and tunnels, however running a ventilation system constantly is inefficient especially when few cars are running at a time.

SAM_3014Levels of CO2 in large indoor car parks can become extremely dangerous if not properly controlled.

In garages and tunnels vehicles can be operating in both warm and cold conditions, therefore it is important to measure both CO and CO2 to ensure a safe environment. Today there are laws around the measuring of CO – the maximum allowed value is 35 ppm. There are however, currently no rules on measuring CO2 but this is equally as important.

How does it work?

A meter can both control and alarm locally, as well as being part of a larger complete system. This application is similar, for example, to the ventilation requirements in a classroom.

The ventilation need depends on the number of cars running in a garage or tunnel instead of the number of students in a classroom. The sensors usually used to measure CO2 and CO in public garages and tunnels are capable of covering an area of around 250 m2.

Reduced Costs

A study was made in a garage containing 77 parking places and covering an area of 1,445 m2. The study showed that using sensors to control the ventilation reduced the fan operating time by 90% compared to constant running. The electricity cost was about €0.09 per kW/h (including energy tax and VAT) and the fan used 1.5 kW/h in operation. This meant that the demand-control solution produced an energy saving, per month, of 970 kW/h, and a resulting reduction in running-costs of ca 85.32 €/month. If all residential garages were equipped this way the sum of energy saved would make for a considerable benefit to society and the environment. A larger garage would have saved even more money thanks to the controlled ventilation system.

c700x420Ventilation plays a vital role in keeping in door parking spaces safe, especially when busy.

Another benefit is fewer people suffering from CO or CO2 poisoning being admitted to hospitals. As well as being good for the health of the general public, This helps reduce the costs of health care to the government.

Phil Robinson                                                                                                           Rotronic UK

Pharmacy Business Case – MEDICINES NEED WATCHING – CLOSELY!

Business Case BannerColleagues from our Swiss based HQ just outside Zurich have shared with us a great example of an increasingly important application based around the monitoring of medicines in typical high street pharmacies. Pharmacies may look like they simply store medicines on normal shelves but most drugs require strictly controlled and monitored conditions to ensure they reach us in perfect condition! Read on to discover more…

Medicines are sensitive products. Moisture or excessively high or low storage temperatures, can impair their quality. Incorrectly stored medicines lose their efficacy, leading to significant health risks. Correct storage is therefore vital, offering as it does the guarantee that medicines remain safe and efficacious and retain their high quality right up to their expiry date.

Meeting GDP/GMP requirements in pharmacies

The storage of medicines is legally regulated by GDP (Good Distribution Practice) Standard 9.2 and is inspected by the responsible authorities on site.

Insulins and other liquid antibiotics for instance must be stored in medicine refrigerators at a temperature between 2 °C and 8 °C. A temperature range of 15 °C to 25 °C applies to the vast majority of other medicines.It is compulsory to document the storage conditions of all medicines.

To help fulfil the legal requirements, Rotronic has launched the new HL-1D data logger – a convenient, precise, reliable logger that is virtually tailor-made for a medicinal environment.

Rosengarten Rotpunkt pharmacy

The HL-1D data logger has undergone exhaustive testing
under real-life conditions in the Rotpunkt Rosengarten
pharmacy. With its simple handling and remarkable price-performance ratio, the logger offers great potential for any pharmacy.

The Rosengarten Rotpunkt pharmacy is deeply rooted in the community of Bassersdorf, Switzerland and has been at its present location since 1985.

In 2011, Mr. Ivan Mihajlovic took over the directorship and today runs the pharmacy with a total of 10 employees.

Mr Ivan Mihajlovic
Mr Ivan Mihajlovic

“The quick evaluation of the data and the understandable visualization of the measurement values in a PDF report meet all QMS requirements and document the data long-term.”

HL-1D ideal for Pharmacies

Complete measurement chain

Rotronic offers complete solutions for the entire measurement chain. Even if you are already using other data loggers successfully, we have a range of innovative calibration solutions.

HL-1D for pharmacy

If you require more information or wish to discuss any monitoring, control or calibration applications you may have please do not hesitate to contact us.

Dr. Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

What is Dew Point Temperature

Our state side colleagues have put together a great FAQ technical note explaining dew point temperature in more detail!

chilled mirror / dew point mirror
chilled mirror / dew point mirror

The FAQ technical note can be accessed here and answers the following key questions!

  1. What is dew point temperature?
  2. What is frost  point?
  3. When should I choose dew point as the parameter I measure?
  4. What are the pros and cons of measuring dew point versus relative humidity?
  5. Does dew point change as the ambient temperature changes?
  6. How does pressure affect dew point measurement?
  7. What are the common technologies for measuring dew point?
  8. Isn’t dew point temperature the same thing as wet bulb temperature?
  9. How do I know which technology is best for my application?
  10. Where can I buy a dew point instrument?

Rotronic produce precision low dew point sensors for low moisture applications in addition Rotronic UK is the UK distributor for world class MBW chilled mirrors, please contact us for additional information!

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

Temperature, Humidity and Ceramic drying

Introduction

Ceramic drying is one of the most important processes in ceramic production technology. Quality defects of ceramic products are caused by improper drying. The drying affects the quality of the finished product, the throughput but also the overall energy consumption for ceramic manufacturing enterprises. According to various statistics, generally energy consumption during drying processes represents 15% of total industrial fuel consumption. However within the ceramic industry, the energy consumption used for drying accounts for a much higher percentage of the total fuel consumption. Therefore energy saving within the drying process is extremely important for all enterprises. Drying speed, reducing energy use , ensuring high quality products and reducing  pollution are all  basic requirements for any ceramic manufacturer today.

Measurement and Control in Ceramic Dying

Ceramic production is done through several main processes: casting, drying, glazing, firing…

The casting and drying are important processes for ceramic. A forming workshop is equipped with an intelligent control system. The control system regulates the relative humidity value using information provided via room and process sensors. Sensors have to measure accurately ad repeat ably despite the challenging and often dusty conditions. Humidification and dehumidification processes require substantial energy so tighter control is a huge energy saver for these industries.

A constant temperature is also achieved via the intelligent control system. With a stable temperature and stable relative humidity within the workshop, manufacturers ensure the quality of  the ceramic body drying.

After stripping the body from the cast, the body contains a very high relative humidity level. During the drying process, the body may crack or deform due to the speed in which the product is dried (volume and shrinkage) which ruins the product and decreases the throughput.

Exactly this part of the process has become a major bottleneck within the production process of ceramic products.

In a casting workshop, stable environments can reduce the cracking and deformation effectively. It also improves the throughput rate of semi-finished products and shortens the drying period, also prolonging the life frame of the  plaster cast.

So constant temperature and  relative humidity according to the set values will help all factories to improve the throughput, reach an optimal drying speed and deliver the best quality results available.

How can we help?

Rotronic provides a range of instruments for environmental monitoring and control.

Rotronic HC2-IC industrial temperature and humidity probes, are successfully working in these tough applications, the probes are installed on the roofs of drying chambers and resist chemical pollution. With a flexible  HF5  transmitter, the outputs can be set to the customers requirements.

With both digital and a range of analogue outputs available as well as several probe mounting options, products can be selected for all applications.

Measurement data can be viewed on HF5 with display or remotely via HW4 software. Ease of calibration and sensor replacement ensures down time is kept to an absolute minimum.

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

 

Incubators

Incubators in General

Right from the point when human beings started to cultivate land they were strongly dependent on external influences. The levels of rain, sunshine, CO2 as well as soil quality defined the success rate of plant growth. Like plants, every organism has its specific requirements for optimal reproduction. Incubators are used to artificially generate an organism’s ideal environment. Even the ancient Egyptians learned that the rate of successfully hatched chickens increased drastically when they put the fertilized eggs in a big oven built out of bricks that was permanently heated slightly. Although in that case, only the temperature was “controlled”. The Egyptian egg oven can be considered the earliest incubator. But hatching eggs is only one application where incubators are used. Other important usages are the growth of bacteria, viruses and spores for research, diagnostic analysis or even drug production

“Egyptian Egg-oven.” Published in “The Penny Magazine”, August 10, 1833.

Facts & Figures:

India’s poultry industry has to expand from 2010 until 2013 annually by 12-15% to fulfil local demand only.

The average chicken weight doubled since 1934 and is now around 2.5kg.

The US chicken consumption grew from 22kg per capital in 1980 to 39kg in 2011.

Why the Need to Measure

Various elements need to be measured in order to provide an ideal environment for organisms to reproduce.

Temperature

For incubators that are used for chicken hatching, temperatures from 37.2°C to 37.7°C are ideal for incubators with fan circulation. If the incubator has no fan 38.8°C is recommended for best results. For bacteria generally 35°C is best.

0016433

Incubator and shaker for growing cell cultures in liquid media

Humidity

For growing bacteria, high levels of humidity are required, the majority need 90%rh or higher. The widely known food poisoning bacteria “Salmonella“ only grows at 95%rh and above. For most moulds 80%rh is already sufficient to promote growth.

Humidity is also extremely important when hatching chicken eggs. Within the egg is a tiny air bubble that gets bigger during the growth of the embryo, but if the humidity level is to low the fluids that are essential to the final growth of the embryos are lost too quickly. A humidity level between 50-60%rh is considered ideal.

nu-5820-interior-1

Inside an incubator which is able to control humidity levels.

Carbon dioxide

In nature the CO2 level in a chickens nest is around 0.4% or 4000ppm compared to the surrounding air that has only 400ppm. Keeping the CO2 level in an incubator between 4000ppm to 6000ppm is necessary for a normal development. Especially in the late development of the eggs, the embryonic production of CO2 increases as incubation proceeds and therefore should be removed from the environment to keep the CO2 at a safe level.

Also in the research of cross-breeding or genetically modifying plants, a controlled CO2 environment is key to speed up the development process.

Philip Robinson                                                                                                       Rotronic UK