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If you have a cold food storage facility, you know how important it is to keep it under strict temperature and environment thresholds. However, simply buying and installing a thermometer is not enough.
DPS has been providing remote monitoring solutions for more than 30 years, and for many different industries. We understand what it takes to have a truly reliable system. Monitoring your cold food storage is vital to detect and notify you of any problems that could risk your perishable goods.
Learn how you can properly monitor and protect your cold food storage facility.
When you are in charge of keeping your cold and frozen food products in good condition, you might feel like problems are always around the corner. Especially if you are not always there to monitor everything.
To ensure that your perishable items are stored under the correct temperatures, efficient environmental monitoring should be in place. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says "Refrigerator/freezer thermometers should be monitored."
When you deploy a monitoring solution for your food storage facility, you are making sure that any issue will be early detected and you will be notified in a timely manner. So, if for example, someone leaves the freezer door open or a power outage happens, you'll be alerted of a temperature change immediately.
In a nutshell, these systems are a good solution not only for cold storage facilities but for the following industries as well:
Your monitoring system is an extra layer of protection for your unmanned facilities. It should notify you the instant there is any possible threat to your equipment.
When you receive early notification from your system, you can correct any small issue before it becomes a bigger problem - stopping the snowball effect. This can reduce the costs of:
Spoiled perishable goods
Windshield time for site visits
The first step you should take when starting your monitoring project is making sure that your system is able to monitor the right aspects in your facility.
Your remote monitoring system should be able to give you visibility over the following points:
The most important and non-negotiable aspect your remote monitoring system should track is changing environmental conditions such as temperature.
And it doesn't take much at all. At the most basic level, all you need to monitor the temperature is a thermostat-style sensor that sends you alerts when a threshold is crossed and issues become imminent.
Although this can be an efficient solution since it uses a discrete sensor, it's not the one that gives you the most control over your food storage. It is not the most versatile notification system or the most reliable either. A discrete sensor can simply tell you if the temperature is a problem or not.
Instead, the best practice here is to use an analog sensor. This sensor will give you greater detail and accuracy when checking the temperature at your cold storage.
Analog sensors provide you with an accurate reading of the precise temperature in the room, whereas discrete sensors can only tell you if the temperature has passed a certain point or not. So, for better visibility, it's important to use analog sensors.
An added way to keep your cold storage facility free of issues is being able to know when the commercial power is down. If you don't have some sort of backup power and the commercial power goes down, you'll be facing big problems.
Do you have backup power for your air conditioning? In a cold storage facility, being able to keep the air conditioning running at all times is vital.
An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) battery backup can be deployed to make sure your air conditioning continues working even after a primary power loss. However, to ensure that your UPS battery is always ready to take over when a commercial power failure happens, your UPS battery backup system should be fully monitored.
Small remote telemetry units (RTUs) are able to measure battery voltages at affordable prices.
Monitoring only the temperature is not enough though. For better visibility and security, you can also monitor access to your facility. Restricting access to your food storage is a very good measure to ensure the security of your business.
With a Building Access System, you can monitor and restrict who is coming and going at which times of the day. You can also add IP cameras and motion sensors to keep an eye at any activity during after-hours.
Your monitoring system for your food storage should not only monitor critical conditions but also be able to alert you in a way that makes sense for your situation.
Your system should be able to incorporate the structure of your organization and also provide you with notifications wherever you are. These alerts can take the form of:
And they can also show up in a mobile web interface for your smartphone
Make sure your monitoring devices can give you the choice of having at least two of these notification methods - however, you should preferably get all of them. Having many different notification methods reaching you means greater flexibility and control when setting up your cold food storage monitoring system.
However, getting all these kinds of alerts won't mean anything if they don't clearly explain the problem.
It's not helpful to receive a message saying that an alarm has been triggered. How are you going to know clearly what happened? Vague alerts such as "Alarm Point #5" simply leaves you wondering what the problem is and what you should do.
So, make sure your monitoring system is able to send out meaningful, detailed notifications that will help you decide what to do next.
Another point to keep in mind when planning an effective temperature monitoring system for your cold food storage is having an escalation list. This feature allows you to protect your network if the first tech alerted misses the alarm notification for some reason.
If the person doesn't respond within a user-defined time, for example, 10 minutes, then the second person is notified, and so on down the list.
Your monitoring system needs to be durable and reliable. Devices with cheap plastic housing lack industrial durability are not the best practice. It's important to have industrial-grade durability on an ultra-stable platform for best performance and durability.
Your monitoring system is completely useless if it's not durable enough to operate efficiently.
Quality support and assistance goes a long way when you need to ensure that your monitoring system is operating efficiently 24x7.
The best tech support services out there don't put you on the hands of untrained interns reading from a script. Instead, they let you talk to actual engineers with experience working with your system. They've installed it, set it up and done all the things you're trying to do. Maybe they even helped design the products you are using.
Make no mistake, tech support is a powerful tool to help you keep your cold storage monitoring system up and going.
Food service organizations need intuitive monitoring systems to protect both perishable and non-perishable products in storage. For that, a fully automated remote monitoring network is the key to help cold food storage facilities and many other organizations to improve food safety and ensure quality control.
In this article, you've learned that the best remote monitoring systems:
It allows you to monitor all critical conditions at your cold storage facility.
Uses analog sensors for accurate environmental readings.
It gives you flexible, detailed notifications and provides an escalation list.
Runs on an ultra-stable platform.
And gives you 24x7 tech support with real engineers.
With more than 30 years in the market providing custom remote monitoring solutions, we've helped many clients with their cold food storage challenges. Our solutions can not only help you verify that everything is constantly stored at the correct temperature, but we can help you monitor anything else you need under only one screen.