Wireless: The Future of Temperature Monitoring

Wisconsin-based Primex manufactures wireless environmental monitoring systems for a wide range of industries. Its PrimexTEMP wireless temperature sensors are linked to a proprietary system called OneVue, which uses Amazon Web Services to process more than 480 million sensor updates each day.

“It’s a completely cloud-based monitoring solution designed for mass scalability, which fits perfectly in the pharmacy world,” said Primex General Manager Mike O’Brien. “The sensor device, which is the brains of the local monitoring capability, connects with the cloud via Wi-Fi, PoE or a standard Ethernet connection. That device has a couple of ports for probes, which connect into the sensor device. The probes are mounted inside the refrigerator or freezer and inserted into a bottle containing a glycol or wax solution that emulates the contents [for] monitoring, rather than ambient air.”

The sensors regularly log and report temperatures, and when an excursion from predefined ranges occurs. When there is a temperaure excursion, the cloud-based system sends out alerts based on user preferences. “You can ask for email, SMS text or voice call alerts—or all three,” Mr. O’Brien said. “Users can also configure alert rules that specify who gets notified of an excursion depending on the time and location.”
All of this is documented in a time-stamped record, which identifies the person who reviewed the temperature excursion. The user also can add comments, documenting what led to the excursion and what was done to mitigate it. “That’s extremely important for the FDA and regulatory agencies,” Mr. O’Brien said.

All of the probes employ CertiTrak Calibration Certification Tracking, which links a unique certificate to each individual probe. The certificate provides data required for compliance with CDC guidelines and other authorities having jurisdiction. “We only use RTD [resistance temperature detector] platinum probes, which have the highest accuracy and the least amount of drift over time,” Mr. O’Brien said. “The sensors are solid-state, and the probes all store information about when they were put into service and when they were calibrated. Instead of looking at a spreadsheet to maintain data on when your probes went into service and need to be calibrated or changed, our system tracks it all and takes the burden off the end user.”