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4 Benefits of Temperature Mapping

4 Benefits of Temperature Mapping

by Rohan Mathew

The process of temperature mapping helps determine the temperature ranges within a specific storage space.  Devices called data loggers measure and track the selected temperature parameters. Temperature mapping assists in identifying environmental conditions that could damage stored products. As an example, hot spots (areas where the temperature is too warm compared to the rest of the storage area) can result in the spoilage of sensitive assets. In addition to locating hot spots, temperature mapping can identify locations for the placement of data loggers to continually monitor areas that can affect compliance. In this article, we will take a closer look at four of the main benefits of implementing a temperature mapping process.

1 – Protecting Products

Many types of products are shipped from the manufacturer to a retailer.  Those products pass through many different hands during transport to their destination.  Many of these products require specific temperature zones to ensure their integrity upon arrival at their destination. Cold storage is typical for perishable items such as vaccines, transplant organs, food products, and other sensitive items. Temperature mapping is effective in identifying zones within storage areas and transportation links of the cold chain that could cause damage to these products.  When such a risk is present, the cost of lost inventory can be massive. Temperature mapping is a preventative measure that can reduce the risk of potential loss of products.

2 – Maintaining Compliance

Along with the point made above, temperature mapping ensures that environmental conditions are met and maintained in settings where compliance is required. This is done through the use of strategically located data loggers within a storage space. Through the readings taken by the sensors connected to the data logger, such conditions as temperature, humidity, and pressure can be documented. This information can either be downloaded either instantly or at a later time for analysis. Charts and graphs created from this data will verify compliance. In settings where temperature readings are crucial, non-compliance can bring fines and additional penalties beyond the loss of inventory which makes maintaining proper temperature levels vital.

3 – Evaluating Impact of HVAC Systems

A key element to successful storage conditions is a properly operating HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system. Temperature mapping can help narrow down where an HVAC system may be responsible for hot spots or areas in a storage facility that hover close to falling out of compliance.  This is crucial when the facility is part of a cold chain requiring strict temperature requirements.  Data can be collected through the temperature mapping process to give you information that may point to a failing HVAC system or one that requires repair to bring it back to proper operation.  Since the integrity of the products in storage depends on the specific environmental conditions, temperature mapping is an effective tool for helping to identify potential HVAC system failures.

4 – Detailing Your Monitoring Needs

One of the most practical reasons to conduct temperature mapping in any facility is to acquire necessary data for assessing the monitoring system in current use and determining how to improve it.  This can involve an easy solution, such as relocating existing data loggers, or determining where additional data loggers may be needed.  Many factors can affect the temperature within a storage facility and planning for future expansion may result in a serious alteration of the environmental conditions at which products in your facility are stored.  Such changes can be addressed through the temperature mapping process. This temperature mapping guide explains further how you can use mapping to inform your future environmental monitoring plans.

When You Should Formulate a Map on Site

The best time to carry out a temperature mapping process is when the storage area is empty. This prevents the possibility of sensitive assets being compromised. When the data has been collected, another mapping exercise should be conducted while the storage area is completely full of inventory. The information collected from both sessions can then be analyzed and a risk assessment determining hot and cold spots can be documented. It is vital to repeat a temperature mapping process at different times of year to represent the seasonal changes in storage conditions and capacities. Regular mapping also provides proof of compliance when requested by regulators.

How To Properly Map

The simple steps to conducting a proper temperature mapping session start with identifying the storage space to map. Determine the highest point for storage and identify contributing factors to that temperature.  This can include lighting, heaters, loading bays, windows, doors, and any other feature that might affect the current temperature.  Then place data loggers around the storage area to capture accurate readings from various points in and around the storage area. The data collected from this exercise can then be downloaded and analyzed. Through analysis, problem areas can be addressed and any issues rectified to prevent incipient problems.

Conclusion

Temperature mapping is a process employing data loggers to determine environmental conditions throughout a storage area.  When used for this purpose, the data loggers can assist in identifying locations within the storage space where temperatures fluctuate to create either hot or cold spots.  Either of these can produce a risk that will not only potentially damage sensitive products but can affect the level of compliance within the storage facility. To avoid product and financial losses, temperature mapping should be conducted at least seasonally to ensure the facility has safe conditions for product storage. Temperature mapping is not difficult to do and can be a valuable investment if you are providing storage as part of a cold chain. The mapping process relies on data loggers for collecting the information needed to verify compliance and to direct any corrections necessary to maintain a level of safety appropriate for all products in storage.

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