Are You Using The Right Probe?
You’ve been in your current position for only a short while. Let’s say you are the QA Manager of a Food Manufacturer. As you go through the necessary learning curve, and get to know the environment you’ll be working in, you notice that your monitoring products need calibrating, or are too few and far between, or aren’t functioning at the level you’d like them to be functioning at.
You call up your company’s purchasing agent, say you need another temperature data logger, and hang up the phone.
I’m not here to ask the lame rhetorical question, “does this sound like you?” This situation most likely has never happened to you, and you even less likely are dealing with it at the current time.
But, it’s not invaluable. The above situation illustrates how quality can be sacrificed for convenience. It makes sense to call your purchasing agent when you need a new product, I’m not arguing that. I’m saying that maybe they are making the wrong purchase.
What you are measuring with is as important as what you are measuring. Probes, in our case temperature probes, are not all the same. (Probes/Sensors measure temperature, are connected to a data logger, which records the measured values).
Our question to you is a simple reiteration of our title: “Are you using the right probe?”
Another Quick Example:
If you are using a K-Thermocouple Probe to Monitor Vaccines, you are doing it all wrong. You need to be using a Thermistor or RTD probe, submerged in a Glycol Bottle, with an accuracy of 1.0F or .5C. When did this come around? Less than two years ago. If you are still using a K-Thermocouple Probe to measure the temperature of your vaccines’ environment, you are doing it wrong per the CDC. Reevaluation should happen consistently, if not on a yearly basis. Most of the time you’ll be fine, you’ll be using the correct probe. However regulations change, and you need to change with them.
How To Figure It Out:
Step 1: Do you even need a probe?
If you are measuring the ambient temperature of a room, you might not. If you are measuring the ambient temperature of an environmental chamber and want your device on the outside of that environmental chamber, then you probably do. There are hundreds of reasons to use or not use a remote probe. The most basic? Do you want to measure the temperature of something but not submerge your device in the same environment? If so, you need a remote probe.
Step 2: Check your current specifications.
Temperature Accuracy and Range. The two most essential things to your probe. Find out what they are/were. This may seem easy, but if you are using a device made a long time ago, you may have to do a little digging. Start with any old spec sheets or manuals you may have kept, then move onto contacting the manufacturer.
Also, here are a few more specs you may need to be aware of:
- Response Time
- Material type (i,e. HACCP and Stainless Steel)
Step 3: Look up what the people who could get you in trouble really want.
Who audits you? What standards do you have to comply to? We can’t answer this question for you, but here are a couple of common regulatory agencies that our customers work with in environmental monitoring:
Step 4: Compare.
Do they match? If not, time to reevaluate your probe choice.
Got Questions? Make some calls. Call your regulatory agency, ask for information, or at least where to find information at.