Going Beyond Temperature
“Measuring and logging temperature and humidity is really simple,” says Dave Huntley, general manager, Instruments Group of Lansmont Corp. (Monterey, CA). “Measuring shock and vibration is much more difficult.”
For almost a decade, Lansmont has been helping pharmaceutical manufacturers capture very detailed moment-by-moment pictures of the real-world conditions their packages will encounter. The technological tool that makes this possible is Lansmont’s Saver, a multichannel monitor. This fall, Lansmont is rolling out a new model, the Saver 3X.
Temperature and humidity are slow to change, whereas vibration may change moment to moment, and shock may be an almost instantaneous event. To monitor such dynamic variables, Huntley says, “We need to sample the environment thousands of times a second. Temperature you would sample once a minute, once an hour, once a day, depending on how fine a picture you want.”
The Saver 3X, Huntley says, is “kind of a toned-down version that’s roughly half the cost of the original Saver. It’s smaller, it runs longer, it’s got more memory.” Lansmont also has a direct replacement of the Saver, one “that will have all the bells and whistles,” according to Huntley, in development. The Saver device consists of one main hub and multiple thermocouples and other sensors. These units gather information about different stages of a palletized load.
Such detailed mapping is usually reserved for the package design and development stage. “The lower-cost disposable units are a better fit for the monitoring phase,” Huntley says. Periodic temperature audits using Savers or similar devices are also worthwhile as a check to see whether the shipper is still encountering the expected environmental conditions.