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Are Wireless Sensors Better for Remote Temperature Monitoring in a Warehouse?

Are Wireless Sensors Better for Remote Temperature Monitoring in a Warehouse?

October 26, 2018 - Premsai Sainathan

Read Time 4 Mins.

While wired temperature sensors are a common tool to monitor temperature in cold storage warehouses, newer remote temperature data loggers are a better way to measure, collect, and wirelessly transmit data about warehouse temperature & storage conditions for live monitoring.

 

Continuous warehouse temperature monitoring is crucial to ensure the safety of temperature-sensitive goods like fresh food, produce, or medicines.

Even the slightest change in ambient storage temperatures can spell disaster, which is why temperature and humidity monitoring systems are critical to ensure both the safety of stored goods as well as prove that a warehouse follows strict quality control processes.

Traditional warehouse temperature monitoring systems rely on wired temperature sensors or probes placed strategically within a storage space to measure ambient temperature at intervals. While these systems have proven reliable in the past, issues with installation, scalability, and maintenance have made way for a newer generation of wireless temperature sensors that are proving better than their plugged-in predecessors.

 

 

What is a Remote Temperature Data Logger?

A remote temperature data logger (or sensor) is a compact wireless digital thermometer with data storage and Internet connectivity.  It measures and logs ambient temperature data, which is stored on the device as well as streamed wirelessly (using WiFi, Bluetooth, or GSM) to an online storage and processing system — aka, the Cloud — from where the data can be shared or acted upon.

Since it’s a wireless device, remote temperature loggers can be used to measure the condition of temperature-controlled products in storage as well as in transit. Automated logging and streaming ensure constant monitoring while minimizing the need to manually measure and record temperatures.

The system can be set up to flag any spikes in ambient temperature and send customized alerts to a central warehouse monitoring system or to individual stakeholders through an email or SMS.

 

Are Wireless Temperature Sensors Better Than Wired Sensors?

The three most important factors to consider when evaluating a warehouse temperature monitoring system are:

  • Cost – of installation and operation.
  • Scalability & Flexibility – of the installed sensor network.
  • Reliability – of the installed sensors.

 

Although wired and wireless sensors have their own pros and cons, for most cold chain warehouse applications, wireless temperature sensors are the way to go.

  • Wireless temperature sensor systems have far lower installation and operating costs than their wired counterparts.
    There’s no need to install any wiring or dig up the floor for network and power cable conduits. The ease with which a wireless warehouse temperature sensor network can be installed also makes it easier to deploy in shared storage spaces or older facilities that may not be able to support the added infrastructure.  Connectivity is cheaper too; while the cost of network cable and its installation has risen over the years, the cost of data plans has dropped dramatically.  Improvements and better manufacturing processes have also brought down the costs of wireless sensors used for remote temperature monitoring.

  • The flexible nature of a wireless sensor network makes it easy to deploy, modify, and scale.
    All you need to set up a wireless warehouse temperature monitoring system is some well-placed temperature sensors and access points to the Internet (such as WiFi or a GSM hotspot) to ensure complete uninterrupted coverage. The compact nature of the sensors and zero need for cabling also makes it easy to install temperature sensors in areas that may be inaccessible to wired temperature sensors. Because of the Cloud-based storage and management of sensor data, it’s also simple to link and integrate information from distributed cold storage facilities into a single dashboard for easy management.

  • The length for which wireless devices can be deployed has increased tremendously as well. 
    Newer low-power connectivity and communication solutions like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Nb-IoT mean battery powered wireless temperature sensors can run for months, perhaps even years (depending on the reporting intervals) before their power runs out. The cost of powering a wired sensor network, especially in a large warehouse, would considerably outweigh the cost of running a network of low-cost battery-powered sensors.

  • Wireless temperature data loggers are also more reliable as compared to wired sensors when it comes to gaps in connectivity.
    Unlike wired sensors, remote temperature monitors don’t have to be in constant contact with a central system. While gaps in connectivity — like cable faults or power outages — may cripple a wired monitoring system, wireless temperature data loggers can store sensor readings until connectivity is restored, which ensures there are no gaps in monitoring.


Why Haven't Wireless Warehouse Temperature Monitoring Systems Caught On Yet?

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of wireless sensors is that they’re limited by distance and the speed at which the wireless data is transferred. Although it’s possible to improve network performance using a signal repeater or booster, wired sensors have a much more predictable data transfer rate.

If you’re storing vaccines, medical products, or other highly temperature-sensitive products, your temperature monitoring system needs fast data rates and constant connectivity to manage and control HVAC or other facility management subsystems. In this case, a wired solution is probably your best bet.

If you need a flexible cold storage warehouse architecture, or if you need to install temperature sensors arrays in configurations or locations that prove challenging for wired networks, then wireless sensor systems are a much better option.

An ideal solution would be a hybrid system — wireless remote temperature sensors to ensure optimal placement and coverage, all linked to centralized data logging and facility management system through wired networks for reliable connectivity and reporting.

 


New Call-to-action

Roambee’s advanced Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless sensors systems can improve the efficiency and ease with which you monitor temperature-controlled storage spaces. 

Designed for rapid installation and easy integration with existing ERPs, WMS, or inventory monitoring systems, Roambee’s cold chain monitoring solutions can help improve your cold chain storage monitoring and management.

 

 

 

 

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