Big data has become increasingly integrated into our daily lives and is critically important for large companies to make informed business decisions. For executives, information is power, and what gets measured gets managed. Having the most accurate data at their fingertips gives top management the edge they need to stay ahead of the competition.
Moreover, data collection is essential for a number of logistical reasons in many industries. For example, pharmaceutical companies must collect data about their storage facilities to ensure that medical products housed there are kept within safe temperature ranges. In the case of pharmaceutical companies, lives literally depend on the accuracy of this data.
Similarly, food and beverage companies must collect accurate data from their storage facilities to make sure that food products are kept in safe conditions. The reliability of this data is necessary to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks and protect consumers.
Just as important as analyzing this data, making sure that it is collected in an accurate and responsible manner is essential. It’s, therefore, no surprise that a variety of different technical solutions have emerged that are designed to gather and record data securely.
The Importance of Data Loggers
Data loggers are small electronic devices that collect environmental data such as temperature, humidity, and differential pressure from their surroundings. They offer a variety of benefits when compared to the manual temperature monitoring practices of the past.
Unlike thermometers, data loggers can record and store temperature data in a completely automated manner. This data can then be exported to external computer systems where it can be formatted, analyzed, and submitted to regulators using powerful software. Some of this software can even use complex machine learning algorithms to draw conclusions from large data sets.
Typically, data loggers use internal storage to house data, which can later be transferred to computers using Bluetooth, WiFi, or USB connections. For many startups and large companies, they are important tools to ensure data integrity. Data loggers are typically very accurate; however, over time they can gradually become less accurate due to various environmental pressures.
As a result, data loggers must be regularly recalibrated to make sure they are accurately measuring temperatures. The frequency of calibration necessary will vary significantly depending on the kind of data logger.
For example, data loggers that measure humidity will typically need to be recalibrated more often. In addition, data loggers that use a capacitive humidity sensor to measure a room’s temperature will also need to be recalibrated more frequently.
Data loggers will normally include information about how often they must be recalibrated in their user manual. Many data loggers can continue functioning accurately for up to 6-12 months. Data loggers will often need to be recalibrated more often as they get older, and, in some cases, older data loggers should be replaced.
Another important reason to recalibrate data loggers frequently is to avoid running afoul with changing regulatory standards. Recalibration laboratories and data logging experts will be informed of the latest changes in regulatory code and factor that in when they recalibrate.
ISO Calibration, for example, is far more precise and exact than the standard calibration protocol. Established in 1999 by the International Organization for Standardization, ISO 17025 requires companies to keep data loggers calibrated much more precisely to be in good standing with the IOS.
Why Recalibration is Critical for Temperature Mapping
According to Dickson Data, individual data loggers are often insufficient to implement a comprehensive temperature mapping strategy. This is because temperatures can vary significantly in different areas of the same storage facility. As a result, companies must use multiple data loggers that are each affixed to different areas of the storage unit to get an accurate, big-picture view of the range of temperatures therein.
These multiple data loggers’ readings can then be used to create a temperature map of the storage unit as a whole. Environmental changes such as ventilation, placement of the storage unit, sun exposure, and inventory load can then be accounted for and monitored visually. Companies that use data loggers that make use of a Bluetooth, WiFi, or USB connection can have this temperature map update in real time so that management can have a continuous picture of the temperatures within each storage unit.
As you might imagine, a top priority for managers is to ensure that temperature maps are accurate and reliable. In order to do so, companies must make sure that each data logger used to create a temperature map is recalibrated frequently.
These data loggers should also be recalibrated at regular intervals together. Synchronizing recalibration efforts is an important way to make sure temperature data is accurate.
In many ways, recalibration and temperature mapping are essential to protect consumers. You can imagine the dangers of food or medical products stored at inappropriate temperatures being shipped to patients and customers. The result could mean global foodborne illness outbreaks and the distribution of ineffective or harmful medical products.
The dangers of improper calibration extend outside of consumer safety and even relate to the health of the planet itself. That’s because temperature mapping techniques are used to monitor environmental conditions such as climate change and urban heat islands. They can even provide insights into the effects of pollution on different geographical areas, and collected data can be stored in an environmentally friendly way.
Urban heat islands represent a significant challenge for city-dwelling populations. What’s more, low-income and minority communities are at increased risk of heat-induced stress and even death. That’s because many of these families do not have the financial resources to purchase cooling systems and air conditioning.
Improper calibration of data loggers used for temperature mapping can result in an inaccurate picture of environmental changes. This could lead climate scientists to draw incorrect conclusions and for legislators to enact counterproductive environmental policy.
Moreover, it’s important for the recalibration of data loggers used to measure environmental changes to be synchronized. Recalibrating some data loggers while leaving others to display inaccurate readings can create a distorted view of environmental changes. Companies should also make sure to take note of recalibration times between different batches of data loggers and to schedule routine calibration efforts to limit guesswork.
To sum up, it’s clear that data logger calibration is essential for many industries to protect consumers and the environment. Calibration is particularly important for data loggers used for temperature mapping. Companies should predetermine when data loggers should be recalibrated and carry out those efforts in an organized, routine manner to ensure data integrity.
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