Tag Archives: Transport

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

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