Every day, we talk with dozens of customers to help them find the right data logger for their project. One of the first questions we ask is, “Why are you buying a data logger?”
Every day, we talk with dozens of customers to help them find the right data logger for their project. One of the first questions we ask is, “Why are you buying a data logger?” Our goal is to understand the problem they are trying to solve or the reason they are looking for a logger. Like many things, it often boils down to money: trying to reduce the cost of lost product or production or finding ways to improve quality and efficiency and reduce expenses.
Based on the responses from customers in many kinds of industries with all different types of applications, we have compiled a list of seven common ways that using a data logger can help our customers save money.
What does a data logger do?
First off, if you are not familiar with them, you might be asking yourself, “What is a data logger?” We have an article devoted to this, but briefly, they are devices that record information by periodically taking measurements from external or internal sensors over an extended period of time. Data loggers are an ideal way to capture data by removing the need for personnel to spend time manually taking and recording measurements. In addition, many data loggers can provide alarm capabilities to notify staff if a measurement falls outside of the acceptable range.
Data loggers can record temperature, humidity, current/voltage, and many other types of data. They come in a wide range of styles and capabilities. There are small, inexpensive single-channel models that can simply record just a few thousand points of one specific parameter; for example, the Switrace IPST8 single-use transit temperature logger. Other models, like the 16-channel dataTaker DT85, can capture millions of points from multiple sensors, process the data as it’s collected, evaluate complex alarm logic, and automatically push the data to a server for further analysis and backup.
How can data loggers save you money?
So from the businesses — large and small — that we work with every day, here are seven common ways you can save money and time by using automated data logging:
“Standalone” operation means it records on its own. No need to have staff manually read and write down values, saving labor costs and freeing up staff to do other tasks.
Reduce errors. Because the data is measured and stored electronically, accuracy is improved and costly errors or data loss are eliminated. This can reduce rework and scrap costs and eliminate the need to retest.
Simplify analysis. Having the data in electronic format allows it to be immediately used in Excel or other programs without time-consuming manual entry. Improved analysis can help identify opportunities to reduce material and processing costs.
Capture data on machine and worker productivity by shift, week, or month to identify opportunities to increase output/reduce cost.
Improve product quality and reduce scrap by capturing process data such as oven temperature profiles.
Monitor energy usage to find targets for conservation or retrofit to reduce energy costs. Equipment like motors, pumps, air compressors, HVAC, and lighting are prime candidates for potential cost savings.
Immediate alert notifications with alarm outputs can help prevent potential problems before product loss occurs.
I thought it might be useful to provide some examples as to how different data loggers are used in specific applications to get you thinking about how you might be able to employ data loggers in your operations to save money and improve the bottom line.
Remote alarms save your products. By continually monitoring temperature using a logger like the Accsense A2-05 that provides email and voice message alarms, you can be notified the instant that your environment goes outside safe temperatures. This is popular not only in medical and life science applications but also in food, beverage, and industrial monitoring applications. This feature alone can pay for the logger by helping to avoid a disastrous loss of product or a costly process delay!
Wireless communication for instant access to data. Wireless data-logging systems with remote monitoring capability allow access to temperature data anytime, anywhere. The T&D TR-71wb Wi-Fi/Bluetooth temperature data logger is a two-channel model with a measuring range of –40°C to 110°C that can automatically send data to TandD’s free WebStorage Service. Users can access stored data and receive alarms on their mobile devices directly from the cloud. Imagine the time you can save being able to check temperatures remotely without having to walk across the plant or drive to the office. And, as they say, time is money!
Prove product quality to inspectors and vendors. SwiTrace IPlug-IPST8 data loggers continually monitor product temperature whether in storage or transit, electronically storing the data for quality compliance purposes. These simple temperature-monitoring solutions are easy to use, log automatically, and are designed to operate in any industrial environment. Built-in LEDs indicate if the product has been outside the acceptable temperature range, allowing immediate acceptance or rejection of a shipment at the receiving location before it makes it into inventory. If you need a report, their built-in USB interface makes a connection to a PC for downloading the data a snap!
Proof of regulatory compliance. If you need compliance for FSMA, HACCP, FDA, or another industry regulation, data loggers like the Lascar EL-21CFR-2-LCD can easily capture and store critical measurements in an unalterable form as the basis for a documentation system proving regulatory compliance. As many of our customers have found, electronic record keeping can dramatically reduce the cost of compliance reporting and virtually eliminate errors and missing data.