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How Temperature Data Loggers Are Crucial In The UK’s Ongoing Vaccination Programme

The UK’s country-wide vaccination programme is ongoing in order to protect the nation from contracting and suffering from the consequences of COVID-19. Now the Delta variant has been identified, it’s become a race against time simply because this mutation of the virus is known to spread faster. As the government stocks up on the vaccines that have been approved for use in the UK, there is an even greater need for proper storage facilities that can track and maintain stocks in their ideal condition using equipment such as data loggers for temperature to monitor the environment in which they’re held. The use of accurate temperature data loggers can help preserve the quality of doses until they are ready for use.

From the beginning of 2021 to early spring, the government targeted nine top-priority groups for vaccination. From January to Mid-February, vaccinations were carried out on care home residents and workers, people aged 80+ and frontline health and social workers; people aged 75 to 79; and then people aged 70 to 74 and anyone else who was considered clinically vulnerable.

In the second wave of vaccinations, which started at the end of February, the priority moved to people aged 65 to 69, followed by individuals with underlying health conditions aged between 16 and 64. Efforts were then concentrated on others aged 60 to 64, individuals aged 55 to 59, and people in the 50 to 54 age range.

As the programme continued to gain momentum, a number of problems needing to be addressed were flagged up. Most critical of these were the requirement for more and better storage for the vaccines; the requirement for temperature data loggers to ensure that the vaccine was being kept at the right temperatures; finding more people to join the vaccination teams; and opening new vaccination centres to accommodate more people.

The first round of vaccinations was with Pfizer-BioNTech’s product. Once vaccines from AstraZeneca and Moderna were approved for use, there was a huge ramping up in vaccine operations.

So far, over 48 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Over 90 per cent of people 16 years old and above have now had at least one jab, and now the country is now setting its sights on the twin goals of an autumn booster campaign and the vaccination of children below 16 years of age.

However, the government has needed to find ways to improve storage and preserve the integrity of the vaccines being stored for use. This has been one of the largest logistical operations ever to take place in the country, with millions of doses of the vaccine being transported country-wide and stored in critical areas. It’s crucial to ensure that vials are stored at the right temperatures, as any mistake can cause significant delays to the life-saving programme and result in wasted resources.

All three vaccines are administered in two doses, but the AstraZeneca vaccine is a viral vector, while the two others are RNA vaccines. Storage temperatures for each of the three types vary, however, which means strict temperature monitoring is required. The AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at regular fridge temperatures, while the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has to be kept at -70°C. The Moderna vaccine, on the other hand, should be stored at -20°C. Data loggers for temperature monitoring are key to detecting any potential risks of deterioration in the as-yet unused stocks.

Reliable temperature data loggers

Maintaining the right temperatures can be important where goods are stored generally and is especially critical for a product as sensitive as vaccines. To do this, you need the right equipment. Smashtag Ltd manufactures reliable temperature data loggers that can help track possible variations in temperature efficiently and with a high degree of accuracy. Because our data loggers are portable, they can be used both in storage facilities and while transporting the goods.

As well as monitoring temperatures for vaccines, drugs, and other pharmaceutical products, our temperature loggers can also be used in a host of other industries. For instance, this impressive piece of kit can be highly beneficial when monitoring storage temperature conditions for fresh produce, refined foodstuffs, and frozen foods, for instance.

For top-quality temperature data loggers, call Smashtag at 01223 881881 or send us a message through our Contact Us page for more details.

Smashtag Launches a Range of Temperature Data Loggers

Smashtag has launched a range of wireless Bluetooth temperature data loggers to complement its low cost temperature logger ‘Chill’ and now offers devices suited to more applications and environments. Smashtag Chill is still its leading product and this has also been enhanced by updated Apps for both Android and iOS which provide a full service system to users. The new App means that the tags are always transmitting and can be read by any device within radio range with the App installed and open. This means that anyone for example  in the cold chain, can interrogate the tags, but the data is then automatically transmitted to the cloud and can only be viewed securely by the authorised users. This means that all parties can check that their responsibilities have been fulfilled, before passing over shipments to the next link in the chain. Tests have shown that tags can be read from outside steel containers for example, without the need to open them and break the security seals. The App is free to download from the Apple store and Google Playstore.

The range has been developed to meet the needs of other users that have requested different packages and specifications. A larger rugged device, Extreme, with suitable lithium batteries offers -30°C performance and a 5 year lifetime. Essential is more consumer focussed and is being used in greenhouses, fridges and ambient room monitoring. Extensive testing has shown that continuous -30°C operation can be  achieved and although many devices claim this, tests have shown that many battery chemistries, including lithium button cells, fail very rapidly under long term exposure at low temperatures.

The “Chill” was launched in April 2019 and the extended product range is the next big part of the Smashtag system. Matt Sims, MD says, “We’re constantly developing our products and system to improve the experience and make it easier than ever for our customers to use. We have been surprised by the range of applications that customers are using the loggers for and the range has been developed in response to customer requests. The loggers can be purchased directly from the company’s website or from Amazon.

For more details and to purchase, visit https://smashtag.global

Recycling temperature data loggers

Temperature loggers are used all over the world, included in shipping consignments from one side of the globe to the other and mostly it’s impossible to keep track of where they end up or to arrange for their return. Single-use loggers are therefore a good fit for such purposes, as if the device cost is low enough, there is no need to collect and return them for re-use, thus eliminating complications and costs in the logistics chain. One problem with this approach however is that it is difficult to know if the logger has been recycled. Electronics recycling is a complicated process, large numbers of different materials, with different safety hazards have to be grouped together to be broken down and a new purpose identified for each. All electronic components contain valuable metals such as gold, since it is an ideal conductor and does not corrode, making it perfect for connections, however other much lower value metals are not always worth collecting for recycling. 

There is also the big problem of plastics recycling and the issues which are tending to dominate the green agenda at the present time. There are many different types of plastics used in today’s products and for them to be reused again, given their much lower value compared to metals, it’s not always commercially viable to process them.

In a temperature logger, the main components are the electronics and sensor hardware, casework and the battery. Battery types have a big impact on the environment if they are not recycled correctly. In the past, many containing heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium have simply been dumped in ground fill sites, causing consequent problems with pollution. The current generation of lithium batteries of popular cell types potentially have the most impact, due to the high energy cost of lithium extraction and processing. Alkaline batteries, such as the ones used in our own products, Smashtag Chill and Essential, contain more readily accessible materials, zinc and manganese dioxide.

Everyone has a responsibility to ensure that what we introduce into the environment has a minimal effect on the sustainability of the planet. Our products can be readily recycled and we are happy to enter into agreements to provide a credit against future sales of loggers which are returned to us for recycling. In the best recycling case, our loggers can simply be fitted with new batteries, re-programmed and packaged and re-sold. In this case, everything except the minimised plastic packaging of the logger and the batteries are 100% reused, with minimal energy input and the discarded plastics and batteries are grouped and sent for recycling.

What Are The Major Functions Of A Data Logger For Temperature?

Many industries need to know the temperature levels that a product gets exposed to, as well as the length of time of exposure. Whether for use in safety-critical applications like the sterilisation of medical instruments or in heating food for canning, temperature data loggers are crucial. Data loggers for temperature are designed with integrated temperature sensors and a logging system. Some variations measure humidity and incorporate sensors for doing so accurately. The device receives and stores regular samples taken from one or multiple sensors at a set frequency.

The datalogger works like a USB drive; gathered information about temperature and time is stored in onboard memory for later download via Wi-Fi. It is configured to record the temperature at a designated time interval. The temperature recording is set to measure the data every 10 minutes by default, where it will time-stamp the information and store it. It also features wireless capability, so you can remotely monitor your temperature data logger wireless device.

It works in different fields

The application of temperature logging encompasses a broad scope of industries. High levels of accuracy and integrity are key across many critical applications. The pharmaceutical industry, for example, relies on accurate temperature reading and tracking in keeping its products safe, while both fresh and frozen food requires close monitoring of temperature throughout the supply chain.

It also logs humidity and high temperatures

In agriculture and seed germination maintaining local humidity is critical. If you cannot keep the humidity level as required, potential hazards for human health can occur. Recording the data is essential to ensure that the items are ideal for preserving their quality. Additionally, a temperature data logger helps you safeguard your products according to the UK authorities’ guidelines and avoid legal repercussions.

It helps you preserve your product for a longer time

Food items like cheese and wine, as well as many non-food items such as artwork, face real the possibility of damage if not stored at appropriate temperatures and humidity level, particularly during transport. Keeping a data logger for temperature and humidity on hand throughout will provide you with the information needed to ensure their quality and safety. The datalogger can even serve as evidence in case of any doubts about mishandling.

Having your own Smashtag temperature data logger is no longer a mystery. You should get your device now at https://smashtag.global/ or get in touch with us at 01223 881881 to learn more about it.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a data logger thermometer?

A temperature data logger, also known as a digital temperature sensor, is a portable measurement device that records temperature changes over time. These devices can work independently and generally used in environmental monitoring for shipments involving food, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. They log environmental changes throughout the supply chain to ensure they remain within tolerances.

How should data loggers be used?

Our wireless data recorder for temperature automatically records real-time data from, making it useful for geotechnical monitoring and instrumentation. You can see these records over a mobile device. These devices work independently, which means you can leave them unattended as they record the complete data anytime they want to.

What are the advantages of a data logger?

Using data loggers can give you two significant advantages. Using this device, you don’t have to have someone manually monitor conditions throughout a supply chain, saving you time and money. The other benefit being that data loggers record data more consistently than manual recording, giving you much better quality data.

How do temperature data loggers work?

A temperature logger is a portable electronic device used to collect environmental measurements. It’s battery-powered for long-term use. It receives one or more sensor inputs, sampling and saving them at a preset regularity. Once gathered, they can display this data on a mobile device or PC for analysis.

Are data loggers accurate?

Yes. All of our products are calibrated against a UKAS thermometer, which ensures their accuracy. Once a data logger is activated, it can be left unattended to gather information, measuring and recording data for the entire logging period. They also function as a humidity monitoring device, they providing a thorough picture of the air temperature and relative humidity over time.

The Efficiency Of Data Logging

  1. It records data more accurately than manual recording.
  2. You can leave it unattended, saving time and effort.
  3. They can record data long enough to get sufficient information about a particular place.
  4. It can also record multiple data points within a short time.
  5. Loggers are often durable enough to record data in extreme environmental conditions.

The Difference Between A Data Logger And A Temperature Monitor

A data logger thermometer is a device used to monitor temperatures ad other environmental conditions over time. They differ from a temperature monitor, an instrument for process control and continuous thermal monitoring, and do not keep data. Though they both work by receiving thermocouple sensory inputs, they differ in capacity, applicability, and functionality.

Features Of Data Loggers

A temperature data monitor can:

  1. Record ambient temperatures of an environment.
  2. Record humidity within the environment.
  3. Record pressure of gases or liquids in an environment.
  4. Determine the load or strain a structure
  5. Detect impact or measure the shock threshold of a breach.
  6. Keep a record of electrical current passing through a system and detect dangerously high current.
  7. Record voltage.

Advantages Of Using A Data Logger For Temperature

  1. May be left unattended because it records temperatures automatically, saves time and effort.
  2. Continuously record data for an entire recording period.
  3. No manual recording, eliminating human error and increasing accuracy.
  4. Capable of withstanding extreme environmental conditions, removing the need to compromise safety.
  5. Records many data points in a short timeframe.

If you want to get all of the perks of using a temperature data logger, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Smashtag Ltd today!

Oxford University AstraZeneca Vaccine

Congratulations to our neighbours on the science park, AstraZeneca and Oxford University for their success in developing a COVID-19 vaccine. It’s great to see British science excelling and in these difficult times, we’re now able to see a way out of the pandemic.

The vaccine has had a bumpy road with rumours of deaths around their trials and suspected side affects but thankfully none of these were true and finally on 30th December 2020 it was given MHRA approval and 100 million doses are now being produced for the UK.

AstraZeneca and Oxford University should be highly praised for their efforts over the past year in developing a vaccine which is effective and produced at cost, not making a large profit from such a global crisis.

It’s been a long road and a tough Christmas for everyone but the end is coming, lets hope we can celebrate Easter normally.

Coronavirus Temperature Monitoring

With discussions about a vaccine being available as early as September, something we all hope happens, if not sooner, once the vaccine is available in large quantities it will need to be distributed. Forgetting about the politics of where the vaccine is manufactured and where it is to be distributed, there are logistics issues to be addressed when moving vaccines around.

Vaccines usually need to be kept at between 1 – 8°C and sometimes much tighter controlled temperatures such as 2 – 5°C. Specialist packaging normally is used to ensure the temperature does not exceed these strict limits and a temperature logger is included with shipments to provide assurance that this has been the case.

Once delivered, the vaccine is stored in fridges for longer term storage until it can be used or reaches its expiry date. Fridges are also monitored using temperature loggers which can be designed for longer durations than those used for shipping. Infrequent checking with a USB device or real-time monitoring is normal, so that if a problem occurs and the fridge is showing a rise in temperature, staff are alerted before the contents of the fridge are damaged.

Temperature monitoring is of vital importance for vaccines because if the vaccine has exceeded its temperature limits it can be damaged. Further, there is no way to tell from the naked eye if this has happened, it will still look exactly the same and if used, the patient will live their life believing they are safe from a dangerous disease when they are not.

Hopefully, it is a question of when, not if, there is a Covid-19 vaccine and it will be one of the most sought after medical products ever. As such, it will require a huge volume of medical shipments, packaging and the services that go with it for many months if not years. The distribution challenge will be huge, given the millions of people who will need to be immunised to kill off this virus for good and the difficulty of reaching some regions, achieving this successfully will be no small feat.

Certainly, from the camaraderie we have seen across the globe in efforts to suppress coronavirus so far, it gives us great hope that everyone will work together when a vaccine is available to distribute it as quickly and safely as possible.

Still operating – COVID-19

Like all businesses in the UK we are following Government guidelines and our staff are working from home where possible. We are still here to answer your calls, emails and enquiries and are still able to fulfil orders.

We are working with our partners to try and keep our stock available during this time. Shipping of fresh produce and pharmaceuticals will continue throughout the lockdown and we will do our best to support our customers through this time.

From all of us at Smashtag, keep safe!

Smashtag integrates with LINKFRESH

Smashtag which manufactures a Bluetooth temperature logger for temperature monitoring sensitive products through the cold chain industry has teamed up with LINKFRESH, the leading global provider of supply chain ERP solutions for the fresh produce industry.
Smashtag has recently launched its low cost wireless temperature logger, ‘Chill’ which uses Bluetooth to download the recorded temperatures to a smartphone, making it much easier for customers to get their temperature data back securely without expensive custom radio equipment.

The partnership with LINKFRESH will allow customers to integrate the recorded temperature data directly from Smashtag Chill into their ERP system.  The temperature data can then be attached to the appropriate consignment, quality control or traceability record and enable rapid identification of any shipment at risk of temperature damage, as well as building a complete traceability picture for that shipment.

Matt Sims, Smashtag MD says “It’s great to find a local partner where we can maximise the usefulness of shipping temperature data with a customer’s internal ERP system. We know that linking both systems will be of great benefit to customers, reducing the time and effort required to ensure the highest quality of products.”

Richard Jones CIO at LINKFRESH says, ”At LINKFRESH we are always looking for ways to innovate and increase the value of data to our customers.  For many years LINKFRESH has electronically captured traceability data throughout the fresh produce supply chain; this partnership with Smashtag adds another dimension to the data.  We are very excited about the possibilities the partnership with Smashtag will provide.”

For more details, visit our homepage at https://smashtag.global and https://linkfresh.com

Smashtag Chill Launch – Bluetooth Temperature Data Logger

We’ve launched Smashtag Chill, our Bluetooth Temperature Logger for monitoring your shipments.
Used in conjunction with the Smashtag Chill app for both Android and iPhone devices, the new data logger monitors the cold chain more easily, quickly and at a lower cost than traditional approaches. Ideal for use in the transport of fresh produce, frozen foods, refined foodstuffs (such as chocolate, wine and cheese) and pharmaceuticals, Smashtag stores data securely in the Cloud and makes it available for authorised users anywhere in the world to access.

The new Smashtag Chill temperature logger works with any smartphone or tablet

Ease of use and sharing of data

The state-of-the-art temperature logger could not be simpler to use. To start logging the temperature, users simply press the button on the tag, which can either be attached to a box via its self-adhesive pad or left loose in a container. If, during shipment, the temperature exceeds pre-set limits, the red alarm light will begin to flash. Once the product has arrived at its destination, the recorded temperature data can be downloaded via Bluetooth using the Smashtag app on an Android or iOS device by again pressing the button on the tag. Once downloaded, the temperature data is sent up to the Cloud where it is stored and shared with the appropriate parties.

Matt Sims, MD of Smashtag, said, “The market research we undertook at the beginning of our product development found that a number of companies had boxes full of old USB data loggers that they needed to get rid of and, on further discussion, we were told that a number of them had never been downloaded because they couldn’t get the software to work! Meanwhile, the suppliers who put the loggers in the containers at source complained that they never got the data back from their customers, so it was clear there was a problem we could solve.”

“As almost everybody has a smartphone and wireless networks are everywhere,” explained Matt Sims, “Bluetooth was an obvious technology choice. Being low cost and simple to use, we believe Smashtag will allow more people to acquire temperature data more quickly.” In addition, with Smashtag the cold chain remains unbroken. “Although many refrigerated trucks and containers today are temperature-monitored,” continued Matt Sims, “your product can be moved between vehicles, breaking the chain of data. With a Smashtag within your packaging, you can be sure your product has been kept within the correct temperature range throughout its journey.”

Cyber security

Data security was a key consideration in the design of the new system. “USB devices pose a big security risk,” said Matt Sims. “If someone wanted to hack into your system, installing a virus or malware via a USB device would be a perfect way to do it. The risk is so great that cyber security specialists are starting to advise businesses to avoid using USB devices altogether.” Smashtag temperature data can be downloaded by any phone with the app anywhere in the world, but not everyone is allowed to see it. Once the data is downloaded from the tag, it is sent to the account of the tag’s owner in the Cloud. “Your temperature data being protected is important but more important is making sure Smashtag is not a back door into your company’s wider internal systems,” added Matt Sims.

Accurate and robust

Smashtag Chill’s casework provides IP67 protection and the device can operate safely in a temperature range of -30˚C to +70˚C. The sensor on the Smashtag is specified to ±0.5°C and the product is CE, FCC and IC approved. Powered by alkaline batteries, there are no restrictions for use in the holds of aircraft and the logger has a minimum operational life of 45 days and a shelf life of 12 months.

Recycling

Smashtag uses alkaline rather than lithium batteries for environmental and safety reasons and the company also offers recycling as part of its service to customers.
March 5, 2019

Smashtag Chill – A New Dawn in Cold Transport Solutions

There are certain industries in which it is absolutely crucial for logistics companies to keep products within a strict temperature range. Two of these Industries include pharmaceuticals and fresh produce. Here, we explain a little more about the importance and issues facing businesses operating within these industries and what they can do to protect from losses.

Pharmaceutical

In the case of pharmaceuticals, maintaining temperatures within a certain range is crucial to the efficacy of the medicine. If drugs are allowed to become too hot or too cold, it can render them useless and they can even become harmful. At the very least it can reduce their effectiveness. The greatest danger is if the recipient of a pharmaceuticals order is unaware of the cold chain breach. Without knowledge that the efficacy of the drugs may have been compromised, clinicians may treat people with drugs that are unlikely to have the desired effect or vaccinate individuals with vaccines that are unlikely to provide the presumed protection. The knock-on effect of that speaks for itself.

Produce

Perishable produce is another area in which an ambient temperature is crucial. Well managed transportation is key in reducing the risk of the food becoming rotten and slowing down the process of decay by inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Certain foods, in particular meat and fish, can become harmful to the consumer if they are allowed to become too warm. Fresh meat for example should be kept at an optimum temperature of 1.5°C. The two outcomes of failing to keep perishable food fresh by maintaining an optimum temperature are wastage and illness – these outcomes are disastrous for both company and consumer.

How much are we wasting?

In the developed world there are strict rules and regulations regarding the cold chain and on the whole every possible precaution is taken to ensure that cold chains and temperature ranges are adhered to. The trickiest part is monitoring to ensure that no breach has occurred. Maintaining a specific temperature range throughout the process of transportation can be challenging. In the United States, estimates suggest that 12% of total food waste happens as a result of failure to provide appropriate refrigeration during transportation.

The solutions – are they really enough?

Currently many logistics companies use USB temperature loggers in transportation containers to check that the storage temperatures do not rise too high or drop too low. USB monitors however can be fiddly and time-consuming to use and can even pose a security risk. Cyber security companies are now advising businesses to ban USB devices as they are considered a security threat. Viruses and malware can be stored on USB devices and then transferred into business IT systems with disastrous consequences.

A new dawn

The new alternative from Smashtag is a state-of-the-art Bluetooth device which is simpler and safer to use than the old-style USBs. Our Bluetooth device uses a simple mobile app to report on temperature fluctuations occurring whilst products are being transported. The device works via a self-adhesive pad which can be attached to a box or left loose in a container. The device records temperature and reports any undesirable fluctuations to the ‘Chill’ app, which then sounds an alarm. The Chill app not only records the data but also uploads the information to the Cloud and this information can then be viewed by anyone who needs to see it. The Chill app and device are accurate, simple to use and provide easy to access data. A straightforward and modern solution to the problem of transporting goods at an optimum temperature? We think so! Why not give it a try to see how much easier it could make your cold storage shipments?