Scribbled-down temperature readings provided too late to save a shipment are thankfully becoming a relic. In its place, temperature loggers that can provide more timely data to stakeholders are becoming the norm. Cold chain custody must stay unbroken to get customers their products on time and without spoilage. Placing a temperature data logger lets logistics professionals access an app to track temperature readings and receive accurate, updated, and cost-efficient information. Knowing how long perishable food was exposed to temperature variances is crucial to avoid shortening its shelf life. 

The data loggers help assure stakeholders that perishable foods are transported and stored safely, measuring temperatures during transit to confirm they stay within the acceptable range. Using loggers reduces contamination of the shipment, as spoiled shipments cost money and maybe even a reputation. This article will examine how temperature loggers work, their benefits, and how Hwy Haul works with the Tive Tag to ensure your shipment arrives in the intended condition.

The Technology Behind Temperature Loggers

Temperature data loggers are becoming less cumbersome and more precise as technology improves. The logger is a battery-powered thermostat paired with software that monitors a temperature-sensitive shipment throughout its journey. The logger has a different number of inputs, and most have an internal thermistor or thermocouple. In the past, the shipment would lack visibility once it left the point of origin. Stakeholders now can more easily access information to confirm the reefer is functioning correctly and tell if a breakdown happened during cold chain custody.

How Temperature Loggers Work

The logger is positioned inside the freight shipment and records the temperature at intervals, such as every 10 or 15 minutes. The sensors receive electrical signals to determine the temperature, then display the number, store it in internal memory, or transmit it wirelessly to wherever it is needed. The sensor may be a thermistor that changes resistance based on the current temperature and has a quicker reaction time — and is more accurate – than a thermocouple, which creates voltage when the temperature changes but has a greater range of degrees it can measure. Other methods include RFID tags, which use radio waves to track the temperature, and infrared sensors, which can measure temperature from a distance.

How Temperature Loggers Store Data

Many companies use digital temperature data loggers, which incorporate thermistors but then use a microchip with an internal sensor. These come calibrated and maintain a hyper-accurate history, essential when transporting perishable foods that must remain in cold chain custody. Once recorded, the information can be saved for as long as needed or passed on to anyone interested via remote monitoring. All parties can now examine the data — usually through an app — and make future decisions based on how the process went. The loggers can also feature multiple sensors to study various temperatures simultaneously. 

Features of Temperature Data Loggers

Temperature data loggers are becoming standard in the logistics industry because of their features, ease of use, and affordability. Flexible peel-off loggers, like those offered by Tive, may be placed in multiple locations to ensure accurate readings. One feature, storing data, is handy for those who want to analyze the numbers later, especially if something goes awry during shipment. The diminutive size of the trackers means they can readily attach to packaging. The loggers can integrate with other systems, such as tracking software or GPS. Digital loggers offer high accuracy, more flexibility, and lower costs. 

Temperature Logger Accuracy

The best temperature data loggers are accurate to within 1℃ and can measure small incremental changes when the temperature fluctuates. Someone no longer needs to manually monitor and write down temperature readings; however, using temperature loggers could encounter challenges that affect accuracy. For instance, the placement of temperature data loggers could be in the wrong spot, outside air may have gotten in to alter the reading, the packing could be faulty, and there could be other human or machine errors. The loggers are highly accurate, but mistakes can still occur.

Single-use vs. Reusable Temperature Data Loggers

Single-use loggers are suitable for only one time, while reusable can be used several times, often for a year or longer. Single-use loggers offer no contamination risk, while you must sanitize reusable ones after each use. A single-use one is good for companies that don’t have to use loggers often, while reusable is a more cost-effective option for companies that constantly need readings. Downloaded loggers provide information that is reviewed once the shipment arrives at its destination. 

Benefits of Using Temperature Data Loggers

Almost 40% of the world’s food gets wasted annually, with a significant portion attributable to temperature excursions and other cold chain issues. The wasted food could feed 2 billion people yearly, or twice the number of currently undernourished people worldwide. Shippers can use temperature data loggers to preserve the quality of perishable shipments and reduce waste. Here are some other significant benefits of using temperature data loggers:

  • Improved food safety: Keeping accurate temperature readings within acceptable ranges during storage and transportation assures shippers and other stakeholders that food shipments will arrive safe to sell and consume.
  • Longer shelf life: No breaks in the cold chain custody throughout the journey help maintain food at its highest quality, which is crucial for extending a perishable product’s shelf life.
  • Cost savings: Constant temperature monitoring helps shippers reduce the risk of rejected loads due to spoilage, saving them thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: Temperature data loggers help shippers gain the efficiency needed to complete on-time, in-full deliveries consistently — which translates into happy retailers whose shelves stay fully stocked and satisfied end customers.
  • Evidence when needed: If something is faulty during the trip resulting in a destroyed or spoiled shipment, there will be evidence of what caused the issue. This evidence supports freight claims, builds deeper trust among partners, and helps drive process improvements.
  • Provide better visibility: Stakeholders can monitor updated temperature data throughout a shipment’s journey, tapping into cloud-based data using an app on their mobile phones. This information empowers them to take action to mitigate issues or avoid them altogether.
  • Advanced analytics: Storing temperature data in the cloud allows for analyzing what went right and wrong during the process. You can study supply chain issues and adjust as needed. Recording temperature data on paper in the past was an inefficient way to review data and was rife with inaccuracies.
  • Greater speed and efficiency: Manually recording temperature data was time-consuming and labor-intensive. Accurate temperature loggers enable drivers to concentrate on other areas while spending less time on slower, manual checks.
  • Easy access to temperature data: You can now feel like you are in the truck by receiving downloaded information from the cloud on demand.
  • Enhanced reputation: Fewer compromised shipments translate to improved customer satisfaction. Building trust and deeper relationships between partners paves the way to becoming a shipper of choice.
  • Reusability: Many sensors are reusable several times and can last more than a year.
  • Environmentally friendly: Less food will end up in the landfill, emitting greenhouse gases while going uneaten and unused.
  • Compliance: HWY Haul and Tive Tag help shippers meet their compliance needs, including the Food Safety Modernization Act’s requirement of keeping 12 months of stored temperature data.

Cost of Temperature Loggers

Like most products, there is a wide range of prices for temperature loggers. Shippers can purchase a basic single-use unit or one that may be reused multiple times.

Upfront cost

The price can vary greatly depending on which features you choose, and this can add up quickly if you need to purchase several loggers. A single-use temperature logger may run as little as $20-30, while a more expensive, multi-use option with all the bells and whistles can cost over $300.

Maintenance cost

Almost all temperature data loggers are low-maintenance and easy to set up and start tracking. Depending on the trackers, you may have to replace batteries and upgrade software and hardware. The sensors for temperature data loggers need recalibrating at least once a year. Analyzing the more comprehensive data may also be an additional cost.

Hwy Haul Uses Data Loggers to Get Your Shipment There on Time with no Damage

Temperature data loggers are becoming the standard to ensure shipments are secure and that the cold chain goes unbroken. The accurate loggers allow for temperature data analysis, and stakeholders can access current readings during a shipment. This access helps reduce the chance of freight rejection, which often means losing money, time, and customer confidence.

Hwy Haul is keeping up with logger technology to ensure your shipment doesn’t suffer the catastrophic losses that result from improper, antiquated temperature readings. Hwy Haul works with Tive Tag to produce a cost-effective way to ensure your deliveries get to the proper place in the appropriate condition. Visit Hwy Haul today to see how it can meet your fresh produce and perishable needs, prevent delays and food waste, and keep your perishable foods fresh all through the cold chain custody.