Tag Archives: software

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

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

At the Forefront of Health Care

casestudy

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.

Importance of Monitoring and Controlling Temperature and Humidity in Hospitals

Control of Temperature and Humidity in Hospitals

Temperature and relative humidity affects the airborne survival of viruses, bacteria and fungi. Thus environmental control in hospitals  is important because of infectious disease transmission from the aerosol or airborne infection.

Environmental exposure is a common hazard for all such organisms (whether viruses, bacteria or fungi) during this journey between hosts. Factors such as temperature, humidity (both relative and absolute), sunlight (ultraviolet light) exposure and even atmospheric pollutants can all act to inactivate free-floating, airborne infectious organisms.

hosp

Maintaining hospital premises at a certain temperature and a certain relative humidity (%rh), likely to reduce the airborne survival and therefore transmission of influenza virus. Temperature and RH settings in different parts of a hospital differ slightly between summer and winter.  In summer, the recommended room temperatures range from 23°C-27°C in the ER (emergency room), including in-patient and out-patient areas, as well as X-ray and treatment rooms and offices. The corresponding recommended RH is fairly constant throughout the hospital, between 50- 60%rh. In winter, the recommended temperatures are generally slightly lower, ranging from 20°C in some in-patient and out-patient areas, as well as offices, up to 24°C -26°C in in-patient and out-patient areas.

 

The recommendations for the newborn baby and the hydrotherapy treatment rooms are higher at 27°C –28°C. Again, the corresponding recommended range of RH is fairly constant, but slightly lower than for summer, ranging from 40%rh -50%rh, but up to 55%rh–60%rh for more critical areas, such as operating theatres and recovery, the intensive care unit and childbirth/delivery suites.

Temperature is one of the most important factors affecting virus survival, as it can affect the state of viral proteins and the virus genome. Virus survival decreases progressively at 20.5°C –24°C then < 30°C temperatures. This relationship with temperature held throughout humidity range of 23%rh- 81%rh.

Facts & figures:
RH (expressed in percentage) describes the amount of water vapor held in the air at a specific temperature at any time, relative to the maximum amount of water vapor that air at that temperature could possibly hold.

At higher temperatures, air can hold more water vapor, and the relationship is roughly exponential—air at high temperatures can hold much more water vapor than air at lower temperatures.

virus

Why do we need to measure relative humidity?

Virus: The survival of viruses and other infectious agents depends partially on levels of RH. At a temperature of 21°C, influenza survival is lowest at a mid-range 40%rh–60%rh. It is also important to note that temperature and RH will always interact to affect the survival of airborne viruses in aerosols.

At High temperatures < 30°C and at high RH <  50%rh may reduce the survival of airborne influenza virus.

Bacteria : For bacteria, the effect of carbon monoxide (CO), enhanced the death rate at less than 25%rh, but protects the bacteria at higher RH ~ 90%rh.

Temperatures above about 24°C appear to universally decrease airborne bacterial survival.

Fungi: Ventilation systems controlling Temperature and Humidity have a significant effect on indoor levels of airborne fungi, with air-handling units reducing, but natural ventilation and fan-coil units increasing the indoor concentrations of airborne fungi.

Dehumidification as well as HEPA filtration can be used to improve indoor air quality.

Different airborne infectious agents (i.e. viruses, bacteria and fungi) will have differing conditions under which they may be optimally suppressed; it will need to be decided which airborne pathogen poses the most risk to patients and staff alike in hospitals.

Thus, in reducing infectious disease transmission specific environmental control of temperature and humidity is vital for hospitals and healthcare premises.

Rotronic can offering a complete system for hospital measurement applications: a proven system that enables healthcare facilities to control and monitor their conditions and remain in conformance with internal or regulatory guidelines.

With the combination of both analogue outputs, controlling the air-conditioning, and digital outputs, linked up to the Rotronic HW4 monitoring software, end users have a clear overview of conditions.

Dr. Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technical Note 1 – Digital Integration of Rotronic devices

The Rotronic HygroClip2 was launched around four years ago and is used as standard with most of our devices. Underpinning the HygroClip2’s performance beyond the Rotronic sensor element is some impressive technology.

The Airchip3000 is the chip that provides high resolution measurement of the raw sensor outputs, temperature compensation and calibration correction tables which ultimately provides the high accuracy measurements our customers demand.  In addition, the Airchip provides digital and analogue communications. All the Rotronic instrumentation communicates digitally to these probes but these interface methods are possible without using a Rotronic handheld/logger/transmitter etc.

Lets explore what is possible…

Connections

Devices can be connected to your software or systems via USB, Ethernet, Serial or Wireless depending on the physical connections available. The AirChip itself has a simple RS232 output so additional hardware will be required for for anything but direct RS232 interface (to a Raspberry Pi GPIO for example).

Rotronic DLL

The Rotronic DLL provides a link between Rotronic devices and your software program (as well as our HW4 software). The DLL allows you to call up all functions within our devices that are accessible via our software. We have several example packages to make developing your own systems easier including;

– C++
– Visual Basic
– LabView
– Excel

The DLL can be integrated into wider software systems, if you have sufficient technical know-how. For example using using ctypes in Python allows the integration of Windows DLL. Python programs can then be used cross platform (Windows, Mac and Linux etc).

This approach is typically used when integrating our HC2 range of probes via our AC3001 Probe-USB converter cable. This way you can utilise our highest accuracy probes in a simple and efficient manor without any loss of accuracy due to digital-analogue conversions. It is also possible to quickly add the measured values into your existing projects. This is how our HygroGen2’s Autocal system communicates to the Rotronic probes during automated calibration and adjustment runs.

Example programs and DLL itself can be downloaded here

If you require support integrating our sensors into your systems please do not hesitate to contact us!

Direct Device Interface

In certain situations utilsing our DLL may not be appropriate for your project. So it is also possible to directly communicate with the Airchip3000 devices avoiding the DLL and using direct protocol commands. This is often a far simpler method and more commonly used when integrating to industrial systems.

With Ethernet and Serial devices communication if very easy using a terminal program (eg Putty) or direct from your Linux terminal (For USB some extra step are required explained at the end of this article).

1. Connecting to Rotronic devices via Putty (!!! USING USB? READ THE NOTE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST !!!

Firstly, you simply need to connect to the relevant comm port or IP Address and send your commands. Serial interface settings are detailed below. For Ethernet simply use RAW connection and select port 2101 or use Telnet with Port 2001 (you will need your devices IP address)

Step 1 – Setup Serial Settings in Putty

Putty Setup

Step 2 – Force Echo On / Line Editing
I strongly recommend changing the Terminal settings to Force Echo (so you can see what you type and edit it)…

Putty Setting Echo

Step 3 – Connect
Now simply open your session…

Putty Open

All Airchip devices will respond to the command below, an example response is shown from a HC2-S probe.

Sent Command
{ 99rdd}

Return String
{F00rdd 001; 36.30;%rh;000;=; 24.30;°C;000;=;nc;—.- ;°C;000; ;001;V2.0-2;0061176056;HC2 ;000;C

Explaination ( “;” separated values)
{
F = Device Type
00 = RS485 address
rdd = command
001 = Device type

36.30 = value 1
%rh = value 1 units
000 = value 1 alarm condition
= = trend

24.30 = value 2
°C = value 2 units
000 = value 2 alarm condition
= = trend

nc = calculated value selected
—.- = calculated value
°C = calculated value units
000 = calculated value alarm condition
= calculated value trend

001 = hardware version
V2.0-2 = firmware version
0061176056 = serial number
HC2 = device name
000 = sensor alarm
C = checksum

Important Note! Using USB interface with Putty

By default all Rotronic USB interface cables will link to the Rotronic driver and try to use the DLL. However if you configure the cable to be a Virtual Comm Port you can use the simple serial connection method described above! So you can see every device  connection type can be interfaced using this method 🙂

To do this you need to force windows to use the standard FTDI driver and setup the Virtual Comm Port.

Step 1 Install FTDI Drives

Select the relevant drivers from this page for you OS http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/D2XX.htm

Step 2 – Force Windows to use new driver

Go to device manager (Control Panel, System, Device Manager)

1 – Click Update Driver
2 – Select Browse my computer for Driver
3 – Choose ‘Let my pick from a list’
4 – Click Have Disk
5 – Go to the FTDI folder and click  ftdibus.ini
6 – Select the USB Serial Port

Now you will see a new USB Serial Port in Device Manager under Ports (COMM AND LPT) – right click and select properties. Ensure the Port Settings are as below.

Baud rate : 19200
Data bits : 8
Parity : none
Stop bits : 1
Flow Control : none

You can now use the Virtual Comm Port in putty or other projects.

In my experience with bespoke software packages for a single device type the terminal connection is very simple.

For example a simple Python code to communicate with an Ethernet device is below…

try:
session = telnetlib.Telnet(192.168.1.1, 2001, 0.5)
except socket.timeout:
print (“socket timeout”)
else:
session.write(“{ 99RDD}”.encode(‘ascii’) + b”\r”)
output = session.read_until(b”/r/n/r/n#>”, timeout )
session.close()
print(output)

We will look at direct interface to the AirChip and available protocol options next time!

Comments or queries – let us know!!

Dr. Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK