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Why Data Loggers Are Important In The Food Industry

April 21, 2020 No Comments

Featured article by Marina Turea, Content Manager at Digital Authority Partners

Data loggers are electronic devices used to track and record specific environmental conditions. The average data logger has a microprocessor where the collected digital data is stored.  Later the data is downloaded from that device and subsequently downloaded to either a computer or a handheld device. The data logger also has a power source, normally a rechargeable battery pack. The last main component of a data logger is the sensor. This is what is used to measure such environmental conditions as temperature and humidity.

In the food industry, a data logger can “watch” storage conditions to ensure that temperatures in a freezer (for example) do not fall below or climb higher than set parameters. Should this happen, the data logger will trigger an alarm or alert system to encourage human intervention. The purpose of data loggers in the food industry is to prevent spoilage which translates to a loss of product and reduced revenues. In this article, we will take a closer look at the importance of data loggers in the food manufacturing industry.

Safe and Secure

Cold food processes require consistent environmental monitoring. This ensures the safety of those who work in the industry and anyone who comes in contact with the food from manufacturing to shipping to processing. When data loggers provide the “eyes and ears” for keeping conditions constantly monitored, a safe work environment is ensured. With the temperatures monitored to remain within a specific range, the food is secure and meets safety standards.

Considering there is so much concern in today’s world regarding the quality of food storage, it should be comforting to know that technology exists to maintain that quality for as long as is required. Data loggers provide an important role in the food industry that should not be taken lightly. Regulations for food safety are in place for a reason and data loggers assist with keeping those guidelines in place and enforced by sending an alarm when a temperature reading falls out of the regulated zone.

Here are six reasons why data loggers are so important to the food industry.

1 – Data Loggers Reduce Operational Costs

Hiring someone to manually monitor temperature readings and record them is costly. However, when data loggers are used to do this, conditions are “armed” around the clock and provide accurate, digital data. The information they collect can be stored in onboard memory and downloaded via USB or wirelessly to a smartphone with an app. When using a data logger, information is collected all the time at regular intervals as opposed to having shift workers paid all day and all night to provide the same service.

2 – Data Loggers Make Cold Chain Operations Profitable

Data loggers are made to precise specifications and calibrated for optimal performance.  They can be trusted to provide a high level of accuracy. They can detect and record the slightest temperature variations in an enclosed space.  Should the temperature fall outside the defined zone, the data logger will activate an alarm. Close monitoring of food storage in this manner will eliminate spoilage and reduce food product rejection. Using data logger technology will improve your storage and shipping operations and increase your return on investment.

3 – Data Loggers Improve Food Safety

Considering that so many food products are perishable, accuracy and recording of temperatures is of the utmost importance for any kind of food storage. Food that is not kept within safe temperatures can spoil and cause sickness. The ability to keep them safely stored for longer periods is highly dependent on constant monitoring to ensure consistent temperatures and is vital to the success of many aspects of the food industry. Data loggers manufactured with sensors to track temperature and humidity undergo rigorous testing to ensure their accuracy. The same data loggers are relied upon to perform this type of monitoring for both the healthcare and science industries.

4 – Data Loggers Assist With Food Compliance

The cold food management process requires that food be stored and kept at specific temperatures. Data loggers confirm that these regulated temperatures are met and that the companies using them are compliant. Regulations regarding cold food management are dictated by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). If perishable food products are destined to be shipped to points in Europe or the United States, data loggers keep companies compliant with the guidelines set by the regulatory bodies.

5 – Data Loggers Are Easy To Connect To Existing Systems

Adding a data logger to a food management process is simple. Most of them are portable, so you can install one just about anywhere. Once you determine that it has fully-charged batteries and you have set the temperature parameters to be monitored, the data logger is ready to use. It can interface with a computer via USB or wirelessly. You can also have recorded data sent to your smartphone via an app. If your previous food management process involved a thermometer and the occasional observation, a data logger will bring you ongoing observation.

6 – Data Loggers Provide Accurate Readings

The technology used in a data logger is digital, making the sensor (which can be either built-in or external, according to Dickson) used for detecting temperature and/or humidity levels very accurate. Most data loggers can record temperatures to within 0.5F. Mercury-style thermometers are not as accurate and can be “thrown off” by slight variations of the conditions they are monitoring. The digital recording device built into the data logger does not suffer any issues that would alter the accuracy of the readings, provided the sensors are properly operating. With digital accuracy, you can’t go wrong.

In Conclusion

To prevent any type of loss, either through spoilage or a reduction in the quality of the food product being stored, data loggers are used. They offer 24/7 accurate monitoring and recording of the environmental conditions where food is being stored. With the accuracy these digital devices provide as well as the ease of use and data collection, it couldn’t be easier to maintain compliance as regulated by agencies that require cold food processes to be monitored. A data logger can be the difference between earning a profit or suffering great losses due to food spoilage.

 

APPLICATION INTEGRATION, DATA and ANALYTICS , SOCIAL BUSINESS

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