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Protecting Vaccine and Food Storage with Good Freezer Monitoring

By Andrew Erickson

September 9, 2022

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Refrigeration and freezer temperature monitoring is critical to protecting food storage and vaccine storage. Cold chain breaks can cause serious health risks, so it is important to have a system in place that will notify you immediately if there is a problem.

But where do you start when you're researching and planning your purchase of a freezer monitoring system? What features are important, and which are just a waste of your budget dollars?

Let's dive in!

Basic Architecture of Freezer and Refrigerator Monitoring

Temperature sensors (probes) can be placed in freezers and refrigerators to remotely monitor the temperature. Alarms will sound if the temperature rises above a safe level. You can also receive alerts via email or SMS text message.

Most monitoring devices will also have the ability to act as data loggers that track and log temperatures over time. This is important for maintaining records and being able to identify patterns or potential problems. Think about how much more valuable a graph is for visualizing long-term trends.

Data logging is required by many laws and regulations, so it is important to make sure your freezer monitoring system has this capability. Logging of temperature data provides protection against many types of liability.

On-Premises vs. Cloud-Based Options

There are two basic types of freezer monitoring solutions available on the market: traditional systems and cloud-based solutions.

A traditional (on-premises or "on-prem") freezer monitoring system uses dedicated hardware that is installed on-site. This can be a more expensive option upfront, but there are no recurring fees.

A cloud-based freezer monitoring solution uses sensors that connect to an online platform. This can be a more convenient option since you don't have to worry about the head-end. However, you will be required to pay recurring fees for the use of the platform.

An RTU is a Great Device to Get You Started

An RTU, or remote terminal unit, is a great way to get started with freezer monitoring. An RTU is a self-contained device that monitors and records environmental data. It can be used to monitor freezer temperatures, as well as other parameters such as humidity and pressure.

RTUs for freezer monitoring are cost-effective. They are easy to set up and use, and they provide reliable data that can be used for analysis and reporting.

An RTU can send SNMP traps to your SNMP manager or to a cloud-based service. This allows you to select either of the two options I discussed above.

If you're looking for a freezer monitoring system that doesn't require a cloud subscription, an RTU is a great option. RTUs can send you simple emails or SMS text messages without requiring a cloud subscription. You can also log into its web interface to check temperature levels.

Now matter how you choose to receive alerts, you'll know if there is a problem with the freezer temperature. You can then take steps to correct the issue and protect your customers.

A Freezer Monitoring Device is Imperative During Power Loss

During a power failure, it is especially important to have freezer monitoring in place so that you can quickly assess any damage done to the cold chain. If there has been a break, you will need to know about it right away so that you can take steps to protect your customers.

Freezer monitoring can also help you to make informed decisions about how to use limited power when your consumption must be capped. With good visibility, you can reduce the overall load within your facility and manage your energy use during a crisis. You can make strategic choices about which freezers/refrigerators can afford to stay unpowered and which need power very soon.

Battery Backup Protects Your Monitoring During a Commercial Power Failure

With a battery backup, you can keep your freezer monitors online even when the freezer (along with the entire power grid) is offline. This ensures that you have the best possible information about the status of your cold storage during an emergency.

You might not have backup power for your entire freezer or refrigerator complex, but the power consumption of a small temperature monitoring system element like an RTU is tiny. Many RTUs made by DPS consume less than 200mA at -48 VDC. We're just talking about a small CPU and a temperature probe, really.

Don't let your loss of electrical power be absolute. The battery required to keep monitoring online for hours or even days is quite small. You'll maintain peace of mind during a crisis.

You Can Choose an On-Premises Head-End

If you want to keep everything "on-prem" for security and reliability reasons, you can do that with a central alarm master station.

Consider that T/Mon LNX is a central collector of temperature data for many RTUs and IP-enabled temperature sensors. It has a built-in web server that allows you to view data from all of your RTUs in one place. You can also export data to Excel or CSV files for further analysis.

It's also likely that you'll want to have T/Mon perform basic network monitoring functions to protect the data transport for all of your monitoring data.

If you're looking for a central collector of freezer data, T/Mon LNX is a good option. It will help you to keep track of your freezer environment and ensure the safety of your food/vaccine/other products in healthcare and food production contexts.

Don't Skimp On Your Obligation to Public Safety

Which freezer monitoring solution is right for you? It really depends on your specific needs and budget. But quality should always be your top priority - after all, we're talking about protecting public safety.

With the recent public demand for vaccines during COVID and beyond, it is more important than ever to make sure that your vaccines are stored at the correct temperature. Freezer monitoring is the best way to ensure that your vaccines are safe and will remain effective.

If you are not currently using freezer monitoring, now is the time to invest in this technology.

Give Me a Call! Let's Discuss Your Project Together.

Do you have questions about freezer monitoring? Let's talk about it.

I don't know absolutely everything about freezer monitoring, but I know quite a bit. At DPS, we specialize in remote monitoring of temperatures.

As our company name suggests, this has commonly been for HVAC failures at remote telecom sites, but we've also seen plenty of vaccine monitoring projects for county governments, for example.

We engineer semi-custom remote monitoring systems that you can use for your freezer monitoring. In particular, I can help you navigate the challenges of initial research and project design. Every proposal I write includes a detailed diagram so you can easily see what I'm suggesting and justify your purchase to management.

To get started now, call me at 1-800-693-0351 or email me at sales@dpstele.com

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Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson is an Application Engineer at DPS Telecom, a manufacturer of semi-custom remote alarm monitoring systems based in Fresno, California. Andrew brings more than 15 years of experience building site monitoring solutions, developing intuitive user interfaces and documentation, and opt...

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