Understanding the concept of temperature mapping
Businesses operating in the realm of temperature sensitive products such as pharmaceuticals, foods, etc depend heavily on temperature mapping to critically evaluate the efficiency of temperature regulated storage systems like refrigerators, cool rooms, warehouses etc.
The mapping involves observing the temperature variations experienced by a single temperature controlled system owing to factors like door opening, nearness to cooling fans, amount of product held within and person locomotion. Mapping identifies the temperature range in which maximum fluctuation is experienced for subsequent analysis of the reasons.
Mappers simulate ‘worst case’ scenarios to assess the system’s capability to withstand the same. The system should maintain the right operating temperature across a spectrum of adverse circumstances induced by weather, airflow restrictions, and operation of ACs, ventilators etc. The temperature variation impact is calculated to assure consistency of adherence to set industry standards.
Significance of mapping
Temperature controlled systems experience temperature variation ranging to a maximum of 10 degree Celsius at distinct locations within it. The central point within the chamber will have uniform temperature, whereas the area encompassing the fans and access points will suffer fluctuation. Warehouses are subjected to influences of weather.
Temperature mapping is of immense significance for businesses operating in the arena of temperature sensitive merchandise. Examples are biochemical industry dealing in vaccines and medications, and processed food industry trading in dairy, frozen food, treated food, meat, fruits etc. Mapping ensures that refrigeration units consistently maintains desirable temperature level for given product type.
Mapping pinpoints exact locations where temperature variation is beyond acceptable levels to facilitate installation of adequate monitoring system for adhering to stipulated standards. All backup systems are also thoroughly checked.
Process of mapping
Temperature mapping mandates that the equipment chosen should have adequate accuracy ratings for authentic results. Top notch equipment will yield readings within 0.3°C range accuracy (positive or negative), whereas accuracy of economical ones will only be in the range of 2.0°C. Economical equipment should not be used for products with very precise and limited operating temperature range.
While mapping warehouses, sufficient information regarding the constructions’ external ambience should be gathered to analyze effectively the influence of weather permeating through the walls. Warehouses are usually mapped for an entire year to critically observe the effect of external conditions. It also assists in ascertaining the strategic location for permanent installation of monitoring systems to save the same from seasonal influences of climate.
Temperature controlled chambers like refrigerators should be mapped only once, provided that the influence of external environment is well moderated. It is desirable to factor in the influence of other external components which can have a significant bearing on temperature. Warehouse’s cool room mapping should be done when the temperature is at its peak to understand the influence of temperature fluctuation.
Load testing is a vital part of mapping and examines the interaction between intended products and the temperature regulated individual chambers. The thing to consider is the condition in which the product will land i.e. in cooled mode or requiring cooling. This will have an impact on the chamber’s temperature. Testing will give a fair idea about the chamber’s capability to stand up to the highest specific load thrust upon it for cooling. Temperature calibration will be necessitated if the cooling unit fails to function properly under such circumstance or at full capacity. Calibration requirement can be gauged by failure simulation to gain insight into system’s operability under equipment malfunction or breakdown.
Sensor installation should follow mapping to continuously keep track of identified areas that are liable to succumb to temperature alteration. Stable components should be watched to assist in troubleshooting in the event of failure of certain system part. Businesses stand to gain on investments by gaining comprehensive insight into the intricacies of temperature controlled spaces.
Planning and documentation of monitoring systems should adhere to temperature mapping procedural requirements. The outcome should be vetted and subsequently sanctioned by system owners and independent quality analysts prior to installation. Sensors should be strategically fitted encircling the product, at major points like doors etc that can bring about temperature variation and at varying heights inside a large chamber.
Once you moot to plan the design of monitoring system, you should consider the accepted guidelines for that particular country. The number of sensors to be installed proportionate to chamber’s dimensions will be determined by local regulations. Zone wise distribution of sensors can also be implemented. Zones at faraway corners and those close to doors or cooling fans of a square or rectangular chamber will exhibit similar behavior. Accurate data regarding typical functioning of the system can be obtained with zoned installation of monitoring systems.
Sensor placement will be more successful if each individual container inside thermal fluid is installed with sensors. This will create a simulated environment to understand product packaging, temperature interruptions owing to people movement, logistics etc. This will extract more reliable information from sensors in terms of minute temperature shifts. One should also ensure that thermal fluid should effectively mitigate the effect of product’s packaging material.
To summarize, temperature mapping yields reliable information regarding the behavior of warm and cold regions inside temperature regulated environments. Product protection can be heightened by utilizing the real time feedback on system stability and operation.