Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Environmental monitoring is incredibly important in so many industries. For companies involved in industries such as food and beverage, healthcare, pharma, aerospace, or manufacturing, having pinpoint accuracy about and control over your working environment is vital. Companies that implement the latest technology and do environmental monitoring well have a major advantage over those that don’t. To help explain why this industrial best practice is so important, here are 5 things you should know about environmental monitoring.
1. Accurate Data Is Key
Gone are the days where companies have only simple, semi-accurate thermostats and thermometers to rely on for environmental monitoring. Advances in environmental monitoring technology have come a long way in recent years, and now environmental monitoring is much more accurate with the advent of data loggers.
These small electronic devices are used to monitor and record location-specific data about environmental conditions. This includes data on temperature, humidity, pressure, and other conditions to ensure that the environment in a space is safe, compliant, and optimal for the specific activities that are happening there. The information these data loggers provide is incredibly accurate and helps provide a true picture of the exact environmental conditions.
There are many different types of data loggers. There are some that have displays while others are shown on a software interface at another location. There are cloud-enabled data loggers and ones with Bluetooth capabilities as well. Companies like Dickson and many other companies specialize in providing data loggers, software, and accessories to conduct environmental monitoring.
2. You Can See the Big Picture
Through a process called thermal mapping, environmental monitoring gives you a true picture of exactly what is happening in every part of your environmentally controlled space. In the past, environmental sensors were expensive or bulky or didn’t have the ability to connect with other sensors. This meant that a sensor – usually a traditional thermometer or thermostat – would give you a reading of only what was happening in the immediate area in which it was placed.
To create a thermal map of a space, data loggers are placed in different areas throughout a warehouse, cold room, storage facility, manufacturing space, or anywhere that needs to be highly controlled. These sensors not only read the conditions of a given area but also are able to connect to create a map of the conditions throughout the space. This way, you are better able to identify hot spots, cold spots, or areas that are more or less humid than others within a space.
This thermal map gives you not just an outstanding level of understanding about the environmental conditions of your space but also a high level of control and accuracy. This helps with product safety, precise manufacturing, and the ability to recreate conditions.
3. Variables Can Be Accounted For
Closely related to thermal mapping is the ability to stress-test your systems with environmental monitoring. Either through simulating certain conditions or by monitoring your space when conditions put different stressors on your systems, you can find out exactly how your environment will react in every situation. This is especially important in industries where maintaining precise conditions is mandatory for compliance reasons or to keep products and materials safe for the people working with them or for consumers.
Environmental monitoring allows you to answer vital questions about your systems so you will be prepared for any scenario. What happens if the building loses power? How do the humidity and temperature outside affect the humidity and temperature inside? What changes when a door is open or more people are in the room? Finding out the answers to these questions and more allow you to be more informed, agile, and confident when it comes to your controlled environment. It can also help prevent a controlled environment failure that will cost your organization.
4. You Can Stay Complaint
There is a lot of oversight by local, state, and federal governments over the industries where environmental control and therefore environmental monitoring are important. It is more than just best practice to use certain environmental control in these industries–it is the law. Industries such as food and beverage, healthcare, pharma, and aerospace, in particular, have a high amount of regulation. Falling short on compliance in these industries can lead to product recalls, massive fines, or even being shut down by governing bodies.
When you do environmental monitoring right, which includes the concepts above of gathering accurate data, stress testing, and thermal mapping, you will be able to stay compliant at all times. When an auditor or inspector comes to your facility or inspects your equipment, the fact that there is such a high level of knowledge and control over the environment thanks to environmental monitoring will pay dividends and save your company money and time.
5. Safety is Top Priority
Environmental monitoring is obviously important for a number of reasons. When it comes down to it though, the main reason that environmental controls are put into place and environmental monitoring best practices are implemented? Safety. Keeping workers and consumers safe should be the top priority for any company and in many of the industries listed above, safety is the key basis for the environmental monitoring.
When untoward events take place, such as pharmaceuticals being kept at an unsafe temperature, or companies not taking proper food safety measures along the supply chain, it puts the public at risk. Likewise, when the temperature, pressure, or humidity increases or decreases to an unsafe level in aerospace or other volatile manufacturing situations, the employees working with these products could be in danger. To ensure the safety of everyone involved at all levels of these processes, environmental monitoring is key and should be done at the highest possible level.
Environmental monitoring is not something that individuals or businesses as a whole often think about until it is too late. Now that you know these 5 important things about environmental monitoring, you hopefully now understand how important it is. The best part is, with the right equipment and some basic understanding of the process, it is easy and cost-effective to implement and will help protect your business and make it more efficient.