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Wireless Dataloggers Protect PQ in a Medical Warehouse

HOBO Data Loggers Monitor Environmental Conditions

A medical device company required environmental data collection to ensure optimal temperature and relative humidity conditions in its Tennessee warehouse facility. Millstone Medical Outsourcing, based in Fall River, Massachusetts, recently installed a wireless data logging system to measure and record the air temperature and relative humidity in its 150,000 square foot warehouse in Memphis, Tennessee. The company provides inspection, packaging, distribution, and warehousing of medical instruments and implants, with a primary focus on the orthopedics market. CAS DataLoggers presents this Onset application note and also provides Onset HOBO dataloggers for applications like this every day.

Quality Control Requirements:

Due to the sensitivity of its products, Millstone’s staff engineers must maintain specific temperatures and relative humidity levels within warehouses facilities at all times. The company serves multiple clients who require warehousing temperatures be kept between 64°F to 74°F, with RH levels below 90%.

In the past, the engineering staff at the company’s Memphis facility relied on several standalone dataloggers to collect this environmental data. These loggers were deployed in quality-critical areas where users would return each month to manually offload the data onto a PC for analysis. However this monthly ritual was very time-intensive, and because the loggers were only used in a limited number of areas, there was no assurance that the facility’s environment as a whole was being properly maintained.

While staff could have deployed more stand-alone data loggers to accurately monitor the entire facility, upper management decided that the labor involved in offloading the data would make the effort unfeasible.

Compact Environmental Monitoring Solution:

To overcome these limitations, Millstone Medical Outsourcing chose a HOBO wireless data logging system from Onset. This system logs and wirelessly transmits near real-time data. To create this wireless monitoring network, the facility’s chief engineer, Tim Lucenti, deployed 20 Wireless HOBO Temperature/Humidity dataloggers within the company’s facility. Lucenti spaced the nodes 100 feet apart to create a perfect grid within the 300 x 500 foot space. Lucenti also deployed additional nodes in quality-critical areas for redundancy.

“The software technology provided with the nodes makes it easy for us to add and subtract nodes in the system,” Lucenti said.

Throughout the facility, users deployed the wireless dataloggers on support beams, on wall mountings, and on storage racks. Each HOBO logger is powered by an AC adapter and backed up with batteries. In addition, a wireless logger with a low-temperature sensor is deployed inside the facility’s -25°F freezer.

Now this new setup records and transmits Temperature and Relative humidity readings every five minutes to the system’s receiver located in the facility’s IT room. The receiver is linked to a dedicated computer via USB. In addition to providing access to data in one centralized location, the system is also configured to notify Quality, Operations, and Engineering management staff via email and text messages if temperature and relative humidity levels rise or fall below required ranges.

Business Benefits:

As a result of deploying the HOBO wireless data logging system, facility engineers no longer need to spend hours retrieving data from individual stand-alone data loggers. This is a welcome change to their schedules, providing more time to focus on other projects. Additionally, the Onset system’s near real-time data collection allows engineering staff to quickly address environmental issues that arise on a 24/7 basis, as opposed to only a monthly one. This helps improve operations and business reputation.

Once a month, engineers generate graphs of environmental conditions for management review. Not only do these charts provide management with an accurate assessment of the facility’s environment, they also serve as sales tools for securing new clients and help provide assurance of environmental conditions for existing clients. With this valuable data, company management, prospects, and regarded customers are all assured that the facility is well-monitored and maintained.

What’s more, with HOBOWare Pro, engineering management now generates trend reporting. In these reports, outside ambient temperatures are plotted next to indoor temperatures to determine the effect of outside temperatures on indoor conditions. With this analysis, engineers are able to anticipate heat spikes and adequately compensate with temperature controls.

“We are currently monitoring ceiling areas,” says Lucenti. “With this data, we will better determine how to configure racking close to the ceilings, which will allow us to expand our product storage area.”