Individual industries heavily rely on specific tools. There would be no restaurant industry without ovens or entertainment business without film cameras. For some industries, especially ones that are heavily regulated by the government, digital data loggers are one of these tools.
Data loggers are electronic devices that record, store, and sometimes even transmit data. These devices are often used to monitor environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and pressure.
To help explain more about what data loggers are, in which industries they are commonly found, and how they relate to everyday life, here is a list of four vital industries that rely on data loggers.
Intro to Data Loggers
Data loggers are electronic devices with sensors that monitor specific data points and record them on its internal memory. That data can then be manually downloaded or, if the device is internet-connected (part of the Internet of Things), the data can be transmitted to the cloud.
Some data loggers offer additional capabilities. Digital data loggers can have display screens to read or internal alarms that sound when something isn’t right. Bluetooth-enabled data loggers can send alerts to on-site phones or tablets when conditions warrant.
To learn more about the intricacies of these digital devices, here’s a quick guide from Dickson to show how data loggers work before we dig further into the industries that rely on them the most.
In the healthcare industry, data loggers are essential simply because they are an efficient and inexpensive way to help keep people safe. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are often the end-point for pharmaceutical drugs before they reach the end-user, so monitoring the temperature where the medicine is stored is crucial (more on this below).
Data loggers that monitor pressure are also often found in hospitals and medical facilities. These organizations sometimes need to create either positive or negative pressure rooms and data loggers help them do this.
Positive pressure rooms, where the air pressure is higher than in the space outside the room, help push germs and other contaminants out of the room. This is helpful in places such as clean rooms or surgical suites where contaminants need to leave the area to avoid carrying infection.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, negative pressure rooms have lower air pressure than the surrounding areas. This keeps air particles in the room. When hospitals isolate people with infectious diseases, negative pressure rooms (monitored by data loggers) help do this.
The pharmaceutical industry, which is closely related to the healthcare and hospital industries, also makes frequent use of data loggers.
One of the reasons certain industries (like the pharmaceutical industry) are heavily regulated is because if a product is unsafe or ineffective, that defect generally can’t be noticed by the naked eye. In these cases, the government needs to step in and impart a certain level of quality assurance to keep people safe.
In 2021, the pharmaceutical industry is the most obvious example of this. Both of the first two major COVID-19 vaccines approved in the U.S., from Pfizer and Moderna, required subzero temperatures to maintain their efficacy. Data loggers were there to ensure this need was met at every step of the way.
Data loggers are used in each step of the pharmaceutical development process; many of them measure temperature. This starts in pharmaceutical labs where research and development occur and continues through the production process. Data loggers are also used during shipment and storage of the products to record the correct temperature so that effective drugs can be safely administered to patients.
This process, in which data loggers play a huge role, is something most people watched closely during the pandemic.
The aerospace industry is another sector where no one would ever see if a product was about to fail but, if it did, the consequences would be catastrophic. While temperature and pressure data loggers are common throughout the industry, humidity data loggers are of the utmost importance here.
Aerospace companies use certain specialized compounds to seal or join things together. If compounds don’t dry or harden at the right temperature it can weaken the bond and cause eventual breakage.
Digital data loggers help these companies monitor the relative humidity in a room so that everything works the way it’s supposed to do. Due to the fact that in the aerospace and other industries, temperature and humidity often must be monitored together, many data loggers combine both these features.
Over 250 known foodborne illnesses make 48 million people sick every year, hospitalize 128,000 of those people, and result in death for around 3,000 people. Many of these foodborne illnesses can be eliminated or at least minimized by maintaining proper environmental conditions during food handling.
Temperature (and often humidity) data loggers are frequently employed in the food industry. They help keep food fresher, longer, as well as keep it safe for consumption.
One innovation in data loggers that helps the food industry is small, single-use, Bluetooth-connected data loggers that can travel within shipments and give package-level readings of conditions. This way, even if the refrigerated truck stays cold, you will also know that the package of ground beef at the bottom of a container also stayed within an acceptable temperature range.
Innovations like this, along with IoT digital data loggers that can be monitored from a single off-site location via a remote cloud-based monitoring system, are helping organizations in many industries keep people safe while also helping to maintain their bottom line.
Digital data loggers may seem like something very industrial and technical but, as you can see, they are used in many ways that help keep us healthy and safe every day. Next time you visit a hospital, take a pill, fly on an airplane, or cook a piece of chicken, you can thank data loggers for helping to keep these products safe for you. Without them, many of these things we take for granted would be far more dangerous.