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emperature Mapping

Environmental monitoring is critical to regulated industries. Regulatory bodies require that certain products or raw materials in these industries are manufactured, distributed, and/or stored under precise environmental conditions to protect the consumer. If these products don’t meet certain quality standards, they can harm people and the consumer would never know just by examining the product.

To ensure that the products stay safe and that they also meet all regulatory specifications, businesses in these industries must know the exact conditions of every space that these products travel through. One means of doing this is through temperature mapping.

Temperature mapping is a process that uses data loggers placed throughout a controlled space to create a three-dimensional map of the temperature in a given area.

Temperature mapping is a process that uses data loggers placed throughout a controlled space to create a three-dimensional map of the temperature in a given area. This helps create a clear picture of the temperature throughout the environment so you know if the space is suitable, if it meets regulatory standards, and if any problem spots are developing.

The terms temperature mapping and thermal mapping are often used interchangeably but thermal mapping refers to mapping both temperature and humidity together. Temperature monitoring and mapping are also different functions. Mapping uses many more data loggers and gives you a comprehensive picture while temperature monitoring is a less intensive, continuous process.

Temperature mapping is critical in several industries. These industries all engage with this process in different places and for different reasons but the process is just as important in each one. Here are four areas where temperature mapping is essential.

Pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturing and testing

Pharma and biotech companies create products that frequently require delicate or fragile chemical or biological material. These materials often must be kept in very strict temperature ranges in order to maintain their effectiveness and stay safe for use. Temperature mapping, especially in the distribution process, is so important in these industries.

A perfect example of this is happening very visibly at the beginning of 2021. The COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the U.S. and other countries – from Pfizer and Moderna – both contain messenger RNA (mRNA). This is a biological material that needs to be frozen, or even in a deep-freeze, from the time it is produced to the time it is thawed for injection.

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Temperature mapping is being used in the manufacturing, distribution, and storage phases of the vaccine to ensure that limited and valuable doses don’t get too warm and go to waste. Dickson adds that pharma companies and other organizations will often consult a third party to assist with temperature mapping or thermal mapping, as this process can be difficult for an organization to handle on its own.

Medical device manufacturing

When creating medical devices, it is very important that they are produced in a controlled environment. The environmental conditions are highly regulated because a consistent production environment is key to ensure that these devices function properly. Many of these devices diagnose medical conditions, help sterilize equipment, or are even implanted in a body. If they are not produced in the right conditions, they can fail to do their job or badly harm someone.

These medical device production facilities can be large spaces where there are variances of temperatures throughout. With equipment as precise as medical devices, the conditions in the production facility must be just as detailed. Temperature mapping will allow producers to understand where hot or cold spots in the production facility are and take measures to fix the issue or keep devices away from those areas during production.

Laboratory operations

Laboratories must be equipped for a wide range of processes. In order to do their research, lab researchers need equipment that can provide incredibly cold temperatures, stunningly high temperatures, and spaces that provide consistent temperatures in between. Temperature mapping can be done within all types of equipment to ensure that the desired temperatures are being met in each piece.

Temperature mapping is a part of validating the effectiveness of all sorts of lab equipment. It can ensure that incubators are reaching consistent temperatures throughout and verify if different shelves within an oven are at different temperatures. The process can also alert researchers to hot sports in cold storage or refrigerator units and confirm that plasma freezers or ultra-low freezers are reaching their prescribed low-temperature requirements.

In a laboratory setting, each of these individual pieces of equipment should be temperature mapped to ensure effectiveness, compliance, and safety. If the equipment is not providing the desired temperatures, there can be major impacts on the research happening at the facility.

Food and Beverages

The food and beverage industry relies on cold storage and the cold supply chain to ensure products stay fresh and free of bacteria that cause foodborne illness. On the production side, products may need to be heated to a specific level to kill bacteria or other contaminants. Either way, temperature mapping these controlled spaces or equipment is vital to the industry.

The cold chain is very important to the food and beverage industry as the products often need to travel through several modes of transportation and warehouse spaces. The more temperature mapping is done in all these spaces, the better the products will fare as they travel through the cold chain.

In the food industry specifically, temperature mapping isn’t always about compliance. It can also be done to ensure quality and meet internal standards. A good example of this is at restaurants. To make sure that the food produced in a kitchen is up to the standards of the chef, they may temperature map ovens or other equipment to help ensure consistency.

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Temperature mapping is an essential part of many regulated industries. The pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturing and testing, medical device manufacturing, laboratory operations, and food and beverage arenas are just a few of the most relevant examples. Other industries where temperature mapping plays a critical role include aerospace, healthcare, and other types of precision manufacturing industries.