Temperature mapping your facility, warehouse, or refrigerator is a daunting task. We know, we’ve done it a lot. With each new project, comes a laundry list of new challenges, from where to hang data loggers, to how magnetic strips may affect the accuracy of your data loggers, to how to operate a semi-broken forklift. We’ve seen a lot of curveballs, and haven’t always knocked them out of the park.
After taking our big cuts and occasionally missing, we have gained unparalleled experience in the temperature and humidity mapping industry. And we’d like to share some of that knowledge with you.
”Hackers,” ”hacking,” and ”lifehacks,” stopped being taboo about 5 years ago. The term has gone from meaning something tech-based, nefarious, and virus-infected to something good: easy tips and tricks to help you get stuff done, and make your life easier. The world has seen the creation of message boards, websites and books dedicated to teaching us how to work smarter, faster, and easier.
As avid readers of those message boards, websites, and books, we thought we would write down a few hacks that our customers may find useful, specific to one of our favorite temperature-based applications: environmental mapping.
So, continue reading for some easy ways to solve problems and not make mistakes during your next temperature mapping project.
Before Mapping: Use a three tiered labeling system for your loggers.
Label your data loggers like this: 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, 2C, etc. This task is easy enough with a standard label-maker, and you will be very happy that you labeled your data loggers this way. Each data logger should get a label, which you can associate with its serial number for future reference. But why do it a three tiered labeling system? Unless you are doing a mapping project for a vertically-challenged room, your mapping project will include three vertical planes. The three tiered system, keeps all your data loggers at a particular plane on the same y-axis: a huge help when visualizing temperature swings, and generating your final report.
Before Mapping: Learn how to work a forklift, or a ladder.
This is a big one. You don’t think it matters until you have everything in place to map your facility, begin placing loggers, and have to delay the study because you can’t reach the necessary heights to monitor your facility completely. Most facilities will have someone who knows how to operate a forklift. So, make sure she/he is available to place data loggers in your facility, or learn how to operate a forklift yourself.
Also, make sure your insurance information is straightened out and good to go.
While Mapping: Magnets, magnets, magnets.
Magnets are great for the shelving in your facility, and for attaching to processing equipment that can’t have adhesives strapped on to it. We use magnets on every data logger. Attaching loggers to walls, equipment, pallets, and more is one of the biggest challenges facing any mapping study. You want the loggers out of harm’s way, but you also want them to be measuring the temperatures your products are in every day. With magnets, sometimes we need them, sometimes we don’t. But we are always happy having them as an option.
But . . . make sure your data loggers won’t be affected in weird ways by magnets. Sometimes you can get some strange readings.
While Mapping: Command Strips on Walls.
The SAVIOR. Command Strips are the most important piece of equipment outside of your actual data loggers. We just got done building magnets up, but a healthy supply of command strips is even more important. Command strips are perfect for both the 24 hour mapping study and the week long mapping study, because they come off walls so easily.
While Mapping: Bright colored rope and tape for any hanging loggers.
Safety Green or Bright Orange is what we recommend. If you are temperature mapping a large facility, you will need to hang some ropes from the ceiling to monitor high points and middle points in the middle of a room/area.
To do that, you will need rope. We recommend that not be a rope that is good at going incognito. You want facility staff to notice that your data loggers are hanging from the ceiling, and to thus avoid knocking them down.
After Mapping: Back It Up.
Ah, your temperature mapping study is done! Time to download the data and do some hardcore analysis, right? Hold your horses, and don’t jump for data analysis joy just yet. Before you do anything with the downloaded data from your data loggers, BACK IT UP. If you used wireless data loggers, that transmit readings via WiFi or Ethernet to the cloud (like DicksonOne!) you are probably okay, as your data is saved redundantly in the cloud.
But if you are manually downloading your data, you need to copy it off your computer to another server/computer, and to the cloud as quickly as possible. We backup our data at least three times. Don’t be the person who is at fault for having to do the whole study over again.