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The Data Logger has become one of the essential measurement instruments to monitor the events and contingencies taking place during a specific distribution cycle.

Although there are several types as temperature and humidity, data loggers, pressure data loggers, and accelerometers… they all point in the same direction by providing companies with data related to the threats that their load must withstand and then make informed decisions about it.

What is a Data Logger used for?

Before defining what a Data Logger is, it would be better to know why it is important to include it as an additional process of the packaging development department. Regardless it is managed by engineers or designers.

It is common for companies to know their products perfectly, but not to know the dangers they face when going out into the distribution cycle.

The packaging of a product faces different challenges each time it is transported. Packing’s resistance and main mission are tested: to protect the inside product so that the customer receives the product in optimal conditions.

According to Packaging Digest, up to 11% of the goods present some kind of damage by the time they arrive at the distribution center.

In addition to the already mentioned protection function, the packaging also facilitates handling and storage and makes it possible to identify the load.

Perks of recording data

Therefore, for companies to develop optimized packaging that fulfills their mission and resists the distribution cycle, they must know the threats that packaging will involve.
And… how can we know precisely what dangers the cargo is facing? Answering this question, there are two main methods to determine what challenges and contingencies a product + packaging system will face:

  • In response to this question, there are two primary methods for determining the challenges and contingencies that a product + packaging system will have to face. However, it is a significant time investment as it entails a high financial cost.

In addition, the information acquired could be valid only for the executed trip, given that behavior of handling operators or drivers may vary due to the presence of observers. Therefore, this method may be valid for an initial observation. However, it must be correlated with supporting data obtained from other sources.

  • On the other hand, there is the option of research and bibliographic documentation. In this case, engineers look at studies conducted by other entities and then use the available data.

The difficulty with this method lies in the possibility that the data may have become obsolete or it will be uneasy to determine which sampling parameters have been used. Similarly, the conclusions depend on the paper author’s perspective, and it could happen that they are not valid for the distribution environment of the engineer who investigates.

Compared to the two previous scenarios, the reliability of a Data Logger data stands out. Thus, this instrument becomes the best substitute for observing the transport environment and monitoring the events around the package or vehicle during the distribution cycle.

What is a Data Logger?

The Data Logger or Data Recorder is a device that allows you to record the events taking place during a trip or transport. And that can influence the cargo transported (packaging + product). In addition, this tool records these events but does not interfere with or influence them.

By measuring the parameters of the same route multiple times and using the same equipment and procedures; it is possible to obtain statistically valid data to describe a particular distribution environment.

The straightforward measurement of these events, using a data- logger is the best way to obtain information about a specific distribution channel.

For this purpose, it is necessary to calibrate the data logger in the laboratory so its accuracy is tested.

Types of Data Logger

There are many types of data loggers depending on their purpose and size. But, we could classify them mainly into two large groups; data loggers for temperature and humidity measurement and data loggers for shock and vibration measurement.

Temperature and Humidity Data Recorder

They measure the relative humidity and temperature to which the load is exposed during the distribution cycle.
The temperature and humidity measurement can be the key to food or pharmaceutical products transport. So the company knows what conditions it must be able to withstand the protective packaging.
Within this group, tools of different sizes can be distinguished.

  • Small ones are fully autonomous devices incorporating sensors, analog and digital circuits, batteries, and ways to store and read information. They thus measure static or slow-changing parameters, such as temperature and humidity, at regular intervals, using little energy and with easy use.
  • On the other hand, a bigger temperature and humidity data logger has a multi-channel capability (they also measure voltage and digital and current signals) but will require external sensors connected to the unit.

Impact and vibration Data Logger

Data loggers of the second type focus on measuring shock and vibration (pressure loggers and accelerometers also enter here). In turn, they can be divided into two categories: numerical monitors and full-waveform recorders.

On the one hand, numerical monitoring units are purchased for a lower economic cost, a tighter size, and low energy consumption. However, they also have a lower memory capacity. They are unable, to perform a fully detailed transport enviroment.

Their function is to extract numerical data from the measurements they take, the most common being accelerations (with date and time), information about the duration in which the event has exceeded the limits, and estimation on the change of speed or number of events in an interval.
On the other hand, we find that full-waveform data loggers (full-waveform data loggers) can measure and store more complex data about the shocks and vibrations taking place during transportation

In addition, they can act as a Data Logger of humidity and temperature. These tools allow you to analyze data on the time, and frequency of events. In addition to compiling this information statistically.

All this is done through a software program hosted on a PC so that they facilitate its installation, data recovery and analysis, and the generation of reports.

For all these reasons, full-waveform data loggers are the most powerful and sophisticated tool for characterizing a transport environment.

Benefits and uses of a full waveform Data Recorder

The main benefit of using a data logger is giving companies the ability to make choices, about packaging design, transport, and laboratory testing protocols needed to protect goods.

Full-waveform data loggers can help companies determine the dynamic environment produced in transport vehicles:
This tool monitors and records all information about vibrations or impacts that affect the product or packaging system. Thanks to this, it is possible to simulate these events later in a laboratory environment with a vibration + pitch & roll system or an impact machine, among others.

Para obtener resultados fiables en este caso, es necesario colocar el Data Logger en el vehículo, y no en el palé.

Full-waveform data loggers can also be used to statistically determine the drop heights that load units may experience during transport. The data obtained, in turn, can be used to design a laboratory test that reproduces these conditions.

In this case, the data logger has to be placed inside a package. So that it is handled naturally and follows the reality of the distribution cycle.

Another use of full-waveform data loggers is to use the information to verify the effectiveness of a specific packaging design, measuring the impacts and vibrations that the packaging can transmit to the product.

To do this, a block of wood with the same size, shape, and weight as the product to be transported is taken, and a Data Logger is added. Then, the block is protected by taking care to use the same protective packaging that has been designed for the product.

Discover how to reduce damage during transport with an impact recorder

At Safe Load Testing Technologies, we can help you design effective and optimized protective packaging thanks to our Data Recorder and our transport simulation systems. Get in touch with us and let’s talk about how we can help you.

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