Measuring temperature data is vital in a number of industries and, over the years, new technologies have been developed to make measuring the temperatures of substances and environments easier.
The humble thermometer is among the earliest tools used to record temperature data. It has been used for centuries in the healthcare industry. When healthcare professionals needed to make sure storage facilities for sensitive medical products were kept at adequate temperatures, they used a thermometer to take that reading. The need to measure temperature in medical storage areas has only increased. Many medical products are at risk of degradation or expiration when kept at inadequate temperatures, so thermometers have continued to be an important tool for quality control in healthcare.
Historically, healthcare workers took the temperature of a storage facility that housed temperature-sensitive medical products, then recorded those temperatures with a pen and paper. This had to be done at regular intervals to make sure that temperatures were stable. What’s more, regulators required healthcare companies to implement these practices as part of their procedure for keeping and shipping medical products that could become defective or dangerous if exposed to inappropriate temperatures.
Thermometers have also been used extensively in the food and beverage industry for similar purposes. Many food products must be stored in temperature-controlled facilities to avoid food spoilage and the possibility of food-borne illness outbreaks. Thermometers have been an invaluable tool to ensure food safety for many years.
Probe thermometers are often used in the food and beverage industry, particularly when cooking, to measure the internal temperature of food. Chefs use probe thermometers all the time when cooking meat and many other foods. They are also common among bakers, who frequently need to check the internal temperatures of their creations.
As digital transformation has swept across the business world, it seems no industry is escaping the trend toward digitization. The healthcare and food and beverage industries are no exception.
In place of traditional thermometers, digital thermometers and temperature monitors came into use. These tools saved countless hours by helping to automate the process of collecting temperature data. They were also far more accurate than traditional thermometers.
These electronic devices are so much more reliable than their analog counterparts that many industries are required to use them in order to measure temperature data to protect consumers. More recently, regulators are requiring not only the monitoring of temperatures in storage facilities, but also the automated logging of this information for reporting purposes.
Commonly known as Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandates, these regulations require companies to use devices to record environmental data such as temperature, humidity or differential pressure. These devices log the data, which can then be formatted to submit to regulators, which is why they are often referred to as data loggers.
Given the fact that data loggers offer some unique benefits that thermometers and temperature monitors don’t, it is no surprise that ELD mandates require companies to use them. For one thing, data loggers can automatically record environmental data at set time intervals, such as every 30 minutes or every hour. This is important for regulators to see since even mild exposures to high heat can significantly affect food or medical products.
A timely case study showing the importance of data loggers are the Covid-19 vaccines. All three major American Covid-19 vaccines, including the Pfizer-Biontech, Johnson and Johnson, and Moderna vaccines, must be stored at very low temperatures to prevent them from spoiling. Exposure to heat, even for short periods of time, could cause them to expire so data loggers are used to record storage temperatures at set time intervals.
This data must regularly be sent to regulators to meet compliance standards and protect patients. The same is true for other sensitive medical products that must be kept in refrigerated packaging or storage.
An entire supply chain, often referred to as cold chain storage, exists to ensure the safe transport of Covid-19 vaccines and other medical products. Temperatures of these products’ surroundings must be recorded and logged during each stage in the supply chain process.
Data loggers are the most reliable devices to accomplish this task. In many cases their use is required by regulators. In case you’re wondering “Why is a data logger better than a thermometer?” let’s dive into some more details.
Data loggers offer a more effective way to log and organize collected environmental data. Many of them are compatible with cloud-based software applications that allow data to be accessed or analyzed from multiple devices through an intuitive dashboard interface. The ability to analyze data and format it for submission to regulators is a massive time saver for companies.
Being able to view or analyze the data from a dashboard also means that companies don’t need to spend as much on expensive technical talent to manage more traditional relational databases. Data science professionals are often needed to work with relational databases, many of which have historically required knowledge in SQL or other programming languages such as Python. The visual dashboard that many data loggers make available saves companies a great deal of time and money.
Data loggers are superior to thermometers in a variety of other use cases. They are commonly used in labs when scientists need to collect and record precise experimental data. Using a data logger can help prevent human error, and allow the data to be gathered and stored for analysis at a later time.
Many classrooms are introducing data loggers into the curriculum and student laboratories. This allows students to gain hands-on experience with the field of data science in an interactive and engaging way.
Science educators often have students use data loggers when conducting lab experiments in science class. Students can then review the data after finishing their lab work to analyze the result of their experiment. By learning more about analyzing the data, they gain important data science skills while learning about the scientific process.
As you can see, recording temperature data is important in a wide array of different fields. In virtually every case, data loggers are a better tool for the job than traditional thermometers or temperature monitors.