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Extending Battery Life in High Power Wireless Sensors

High output power requires energy, and the primary consumer of this energy is the radio. To extend battery life, the radio needs to be activated very infrequently. If you simply extend the time between transmissions, you will not be alerted to an abnormal condition in a timely manner. To solve this dilemma, the alarm limits for the sensors being monitored are downloaded and stored in the CQ wireless devices. The onboard microprocessor (separate from the radio) wakes up every second, updates the clock, possibly takes a measurement, and then goes back to sleep. All this happens very quickly (millisecond or so) so very little power is consumed. After a certain number of measurements are taken, they are averaged and the result compared against the alarm limits. If an alarm condition is detected, the radio will be immediately activated and the measurement sent to the host monitoring station (DA-33). If everything is normal, the average value is stored to be sent at a later time. This time is programmable and is usually set to once every 15 minutes or even once an hour.

The CQ wireless sensors utilize standard “AA” alkaline batteries available anywhere at low cost. Our competitors use specialized Lithium batteries which are expensive and often must be purchased from the supplier of the sensor. You can also use standard “AA” lithium batteries in our CQ wireless sensor. These can be purchased just about anywhere and even though they cost more than alkalines, they may be more economical because of their extended life.

To know more about effective web based monitoring systems and more, reach out to CIMTechniques today.

Eliminate Dead Spots with Wireless Sensor Communications

While freedom of movement is one of the great advantages of wireless sensors, we have occasionally heard, “I don’t want wireless because when I moved my refrigerator just a few feet from where it was, I lost my sensor.” This is invariably due to the physical environment (metal objects which cause signal attenuation and reflections). The CQ sensor’s high power levels and the use of Spread Spectrum technology all but eliminate this objection.

A radio channel can be very hostile, corrupted by noise, path loss and interfering transmissions from other radios. Even in an interference-free environment, radio performance faces serious degradation from a phenomenon known as multipath fading. Multipath fading results when two or more reflected rays of the transmitted signal arrive at the receiving antenna with opposing phases, thereby partially or completely canceling the signal. This problem is particularly prevalent in indoor installations. In the frequency domain, a multipath fade can be described as a frequency-selective notch that shifts in location and intensity over time as reflections change due to motion of the radio or objects within its range. At any given time, multipath fades will typically occupy 1% – 2% of the band. From a probability viewpoint, a conventional radio system faces a 1% – 2% chance of signal impairment at any given time due to multipath fading.

Spread spectrum reduces the vulnerability of a radio system to both multipath fading and jammers by distributing the transmitted signal over a larger region of the frequency band than would otherwise be necessary to send the information. This allows the signal to be reconstructed even though part of it may be lost or corrupted in transmission.

CIMTechniques is involved in offering quality web based monitoring systems and temperature and humidity monitoring systems among more for monitoring critical applications across a variety of market fields.

EZCAL Minimizes the Cost of Annual Sensor Calibration

The accuracy of temperature sensors used to monitor the environment where critical materials are stored during pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution must be verified at least once a year. This is easily accomplished at the ambient temperature by comparing the value produced by the sensor with the temperature read by a recently calibrated precision instrument. Generally, the difference between the two is added to the value in the monitoring system to “offset” the final value so that the two agree.

This approach is fine, but what if the ambient temperature shifts by a few degrees up or down? Will the same offset apply, or has the calibration of the monitoring system’s data acquisition unit changed due to component aging? You’ll never know unless you place the sensor in a test chamber and vary the temperature up and down, comparing the sensor’s measurements with a precision instrument that measures the temperature inside the chamber. This can be a time consuming task, especially if the temperature sensor is 20 feet up on a pallet rack in a warehouse. Time is money, and if “3-Point” calibration needs to be performed in 50 sensors in a large warehouse, the cost can skyrocket.

CIMScan’s new EZcal system provides a fresh approach that significantly reduces the time and effort required to calibrate warehouse temperature and temp/humidity sensors in the field. The method is quick, straightforward, and accurate — simply replace the existing sensor probe with one that has been fully calibrated.

This is made possible because CIMScan’s CQ and CZ sensors all have built-in data acquisition units that produce digital values in engineering units (°C for example).

To use EZcal, all you have to do is order the number of sensors you need to replace the ones in your facility from our pool of fully refurbished and recalibrated units. Each sensor is provided with a 3-point calibration certificate and a full one-year warranty. After receiving the sensors, simply unplug the old ones and plug in the new, then send the old sensors back to CIMTechniques so they can be tested, refurbished, recalibrated, and placed back in the EZcal pool. You will, of course, receive a rebate for the sensors that have been returned and are in working order.
To buy CIMScan’s new EZcal system and other web based monitoring systems, contact us today.

Save Big Using CIMScan

It is impossible to develop an effective conservation plan and stay on it without accurate information. CIMScan provides this in an easy to use web-based monitoring system that you can access from virtually anywhere using a simple web browser. The system will automatically alert you via email, cellular text message, pager, or voice telephone if it determines that your target consumption will be exceeded.

Develop A Conservation Plan and Stick to It

Develop your conservation strategy by first determining your energy/water consumption and identify peak periods as well as times when consumption is minimal. Use this information to develop an achievable conservation plan including monthly consumption targets. Configure CIMScan to alert you when it determines that these targets may be exceeded. This will allow you to take corrective action or modify your conservation plan to be more realistic.

Identify areas where improvements can be made
Set consumption baselines so that effective conservation plans can be implemented
Identify changes in consumption and determine what triggers them

Maximize the Use of Energy from Non-Commercial Sources
Compare consumption from commercially produced energy with that produced by renewable sources to minimize cost Shift loads to times where renewable energy is more available

Get Everyone Involved in the Conservation Process

  • Setup energy conservation competitions
  • Have people identify areas where energy can be saved
  • Display conservation activity in building lobbies for all to see

Manage Energy and Water Consumption

  • Be alerted that demand limits are being approached
  • Know you projected consumption to better negotiate rate schedules

Take Charge of Demand Billing

Commercial users on demand billing can use CIMScan’s data and analysis tools to determine when consumption peaks occur and shift these to off-peak times. Users can also configure CIMScan to automatically alert them if their programmed Peak Demand is about to be exceeded.

Know Your Projected Consumption to Better Negotiate Rate Schedules

Identify Billing Errors

Billing mistakes happen. Compare the total consumption recorded by CIMScan during a billing period with your utility bills to identify errors.

Monitor and Reduce Energy Consumption at Multiple Remote Sites

A single CIMScan system can continuously monitor virtually any number of remote sites located anywhere on the planet. These could be an array of branch banks, apartments in a high rise complex, or individual buildings on a collage campus.

See How Your Consumption Compares with Others

Compare your consumption with other buildings of similar size and construction using the US EPA’s Energy Star® program

How to Obtain Particles Per Cubic Meter Measurements in A Timely Manner

The ISO 14644 standards for cleanroom monitoring require airborne particle measurements to be taken in particles per cubic meter. Most particle counters used for these applications have a sample flow rate that is internally regulated to one cubic foot per minute (1 CFM). Since a one cubic meter sample contains 35.3 cubic feet, the particle count values from a little more than 35.3 minutes (2,118 seconds) to accumulate a one cubic meter sample. That’s a pretty long time between updates.

All CIMScan DA-06/07 Remote Monitoring Stations have multiple 36 element arrays for each remote device. These can be used to accumulate a count of the particles per cubic meter for each of the size channels in a remote particle counter. The diagram below shows the structure of one of the arrays along with three other variables that will be used to control the count accumulation.

Remote Monitoring Stations

The “Index” identifies which of the 36 array elements will receive the next count information from the particle counter. The “Sum” is used to accumulate the particles per cubic meter value and the “Count” is incremented for each sample until it reaches “36” indicating that the array is full. (Thirty-six (36) one cubic foot samples means that slightly over one meter will be sampled for each Particles per Cubic Meter value. This was chosen to be conservative and provide a worst-case output.) During the count up to 36, the accumulation operation proceeds as shown in the diagram below.

Remote Monitoring Stations 2

The value of the “Index” says that array element number 3 will be processed next. As the next cubic foot measurement is received from the particle counter, it is stored in the array according to the “Index” and added to the “Sum” value (operations #1 and #2). The “Count” is also incremented (#3) if it is less than 36. This continues until the “Count” reaches 36 which is an indication that the array is full and the “Sum” then contains a valid Particles per Cubic Meter value.

Once the array is full (“Count reaches 36), the accumulation operation starts following the diagram shown below.

Remote Monitoring Stations 3

As before, the “Index” points to the array element to be processed next. When a new measurement is available from the particle counter, the old measurement from the array is subtracted from the “Sum” (#1 in the diagram) before the incoming value is stored in the array (#2) and added to the “Sum” (#3). The “Index” is then incremented to the next array element (#4).(Note that when the “Index” reaches the end of the array, it automatically moves back to the beginning for the next measurement. This is called a “circular buffer.”)

Once the array has been filled, the Particles per Cubic Meter measurements are reported to the server once every minute.
Get confidence in monitoring critical application anywhere, anytime. Chose CIMScan web based cleanroom monitoring system today.

Mean Kinetic Temperature

Mean Kinetic Temperature (MKT) is a way of expressing the overall effect of temperature on perishable goods during storage and transportation. It is calculated in CIMScan using the generally accepted formula shown below.

MKT-1

Prior to CIMScan release 6.0.5814, the remote devices (monitoring station and eLinks) calculated a single partial MKT value once an hour and sent it to the server. The equation for this value is shown below.

MKT-2

The disadvantage of this approach for calculating MKT is the fact that the same number of samples needs to be acquired every hour. With the 6.0.5814 release, the number of samples can vary from hour to hour because the server can now accept the partial sum and the number of samples as separate values.

MKT-3

The server stores these values in an MKT table in the database and then uses them to calculate the MKT over any hourly period of time.

When the server generates a report containing MKT, it sums the Partial1 and Partial2 values over the period of the report and divides them according to the equation shown at the beginning of this document. This produces an average of which the natural log is taken. This value is negated and divided into the Activation Energy divided by the gas constant. This produces an MKT value for the period of the report.

Choose CIMScan temperature and humidity monitoring system today!

Basic Steps for Formal System Validation

The FDA mandates that equipment used to monitor the temperature in blood bank refrigerators and freezers or cleanrooms in compounding pharmacies be formally validated. Validation is a process that begins with a user requirements specification (URS) system. From this, the monitoring system is designed and a System Design Specification (DSD) (sometimes called an SRS) is created. This is followed by tests to verify and document that 1) the system components were installed and configured correctly (IQ), 2) that they function properly (OQ), and 4) that they meet the applications specific needs (PQ). The available CIMScan validation template package contains a precise framework to allow each of these documents to be easily and accurately created.

The SDS (SRS) template is an all-encompassing generic requirements specification and is provided as a MS Word document that has been specifically structured to provide the foundation for the IQ, OQ, and PQ protocols. The prospective user simply fills in the blanks and makes various selections or additions to tables.

The Installation Qualification Protocol (IQ) is a template that is expanded based on the component tables contained in the SDS. Also included are sections where the user verifies the availability of pertinent Standard Operating Procedures. A major part of the IQ is devoted to verifying that the system is configured to match the requirements in the SDS. There is a 1:1 mapping of the requirements to the IQ which eliminates the need for a traceability matrix.

The Operational Qualification Protocol (OQ) is supplied as a completely executed and fully documented package that covers the entire CIMScan server software product. The tests exhaustively verify every facet of the operation of the system. You can choose to use the OQ as is, or an unexecuted version can be supplied for you or a third party validation contractor. Again, the OQ protocol matches the requirements stated in the SDS.

The Performance Qualification Protocol (PQ) is used to verify the critical operations for your specific application. These include sensor accuracy, data recording, data display, alarm detection, and alert delivery.

It typically takes less than a week to prepare the validation documents for a medium sized lab or cleanroom monitoring application through a web based cleanroom monitoring system. Once the documents are available and have been approved, the installation can start. The IQ is normally executed during the installation process and should only take a half day to fill in. Once the system is operational, the PQ for a system with 30 points can be easily executed and documented in less than two days.

How We Create the Formal Validation Documents

We take a pretty pragmatic approach to system validation while delivering most effective web based monitoring systems. Essentially, you provide us with a simple User Requirements Document (URS). We then fill in one of our validation templates to create a System Design Specification (SDS) that meets the user requirements. In conjunction with this, we use another template to create an Installation Qualification (IQ) protocol containing sections for all the hardware and software, system configuration, availability of SOPs, etc. Since most of the work related to these documents has already been done, the effort required to customize them for your application is minimal.

Before a new version of the CIMScan server software is released, it is exhaustively tested (formally validated). In conjunction with this, we create, execute, and document a server software OQ and supply it to our customers for use in their validation package. The tests for the OQ are conducted using a standard set of remote hardware. Since all measurement data enters the CIMScan server through a single portal and in a common message format, this hardware set can be used to completely verify the operation of the software.

Finally, we create a Performance Qualification (PQ) protocol based on the SDS and IQ. The PQ is executed after the system has been installed and is fully operational to make sure that the remote devices are correctly linked to the server and the measurement data is being stored for each sensor. It is also used to verify that abnormal conditions are properly detected and the appropriate alerts generated.

Formal Calibration Certificates or Certificates of Compliance are provided for all sensors. Certificates of Compliance are also provided for all the remote data acquisition hardware. Formal Validation Documents for all our hardware are available for inclusion in a customer’s validation package if necessary.

IMPORTANT STATISTICS: CIMSCAN

All DA-series monitoring stations and Remote Device Controllers have the ability to accumulate hourly statistics for each monitoring point. These statistics include the following:

  • Average Value (arithmetic mean) over the hour
  • Maximum Value Detected and the Time it was detected during the hour
  • Minimum Value Detected and the Time it was detected during the hour

A Special Calculation (see below)

Today, the “Special Calculation” can be either the Variation detected during the hour or the Mean Kinetic Energy (MKT) calculated over the hour. MKT is typically used to monitor areas where pharmaceuticals are stored and is an indication of the stress on the materials caused by increased temperature.

You can currently plot the statistics over any period of time for which they exists. You can also generate a tabular report containing a listing of all the statistical measurements recorded over a specified time period.

A report is also available that will allow you to summarize the statistics over a specified period of time. In other words, it will allow you to see the average value or the maximum value detected over a time period. You can also accumulate the variation or MKT for a period with this report.

Statistics reporting works in tandem with the normal measurement value reporting in CIMScan. Typically, you’d configure your system to do normal alarm detection using the measurement data. You would, however, only log this data for a relatively short period of time (30 days). You would rely on the hourly statistics and the alarm log for long term storage. (The alarm log contains all alerts that were detected.) You could make the measurement update rate fairly quick (1 minute) without excessive database loading.

CIMScan system, as efficient web based environmental monitoring system, provides its users the confidence in monitoring critical applications across various fields.

Must be able to Interface with Other Systems

Measurement data, including values, alarm status, and a timestamp can be easily exported to other systems using OPC (CIMScan acting as the server), Modbus/TCP (CIMScan acting as a slave), and MQTT (CIMScan acting as a broker).

INTERFACE

MQTT is a Client Server publish/subscribe messaging transport protocol. It is lightweight, open, simple, and designed so as to be easy to implement. These characteristics make it ideal for use in many situations, including constrained environments such as for communication in Machine to Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) contexts where a small code footprint is required and/or network bandwidth is at a premium.

The protocol runs over TCP/IP, or over other network protocols that provide ordered, lossless, bi-directional connections. Its features include:

  • Use of the publish/subscribe message pattern which provides one-to-many message distribution and decoupling of applications.
  • A messaging transport that is agnostic to the content of the payload.
  • Three qualities of service for message delivery:
  • “At most once,” where messages are delivered according to the best efforts of the operating environment. Message loss can occur. This level could be used, for example, with ambient sensor data where it does not matter if an individual reading is lost as the next one will be published soon after.
  • “At least once,” where messages are assured to arrive but duplicates can occur.
  • “Exactly once,” where message are assured to arrive exactly once. This level could be used, for example, with billing systems where duplicate or lost messages could lead to incorrect charges being applied.
  • A small transport overhead and protocol exchanges minimized to reduce network traffic.
  • A mechanism to notify interested parties when an abnormal disconnection occurs.

The diagram below illustrates the basic data flow with MQTT messaging.

INTERFACE01

Must Support the Use of 3rd Party Instruments

Many third party instruments provide one or more analog outputs for their measurements. These can be easily tied to a CIMScan remote device controller using a PD-17B analog data acquisition unit. Converting the 0-5V, 0-10V, or 4-20 mA to meaningful measurement data is easily handled by the remote device controller.

The fact that CIMScan’s standard remote device protocol is Modbus RTU over RS-485 means that most of the thousands of Modbus RTU instruments can be connected directly to the system without any additional hardware or software. Devices that communicate via the popular Modbus/TCP protocol can interface directly with the CIMScan server via Ethernet or to a remote device controller using an inexpensive Modbus TCP to RTU bridge. Bridges are also available allowing you to use other protocols like BACnet, DeviceNet, Profibus, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT, and others.

Must be a fully validated system

The CIMScan Validation Templates consist of four documents in Microsoft Word or PDF format. The documents have been designed to minimize the effort required to formally validate a CIMScan monitoring system. The requirements document and the individual validation protocols can be easily modified to meet the needs of a specific application. The Operational Qualification Protocol (OQ) is provided with the results of each test fully documented and signed off by CIMTechniques’ QA department. It can be used without any further modification/testing or the entries erased and the tests redone on-site.

The diagram below shows how the protocol documents are related to the System Requirements Specification (SRS).

VALIDATED SYSTEM

The tests in the IQ and PQ are tailored for each application and are created directly from the tables in the SRS.

What Is Gmp Compliance And Do I Need It?

Good manufacturing practices (GMP) are the practices required in order to conform to guidelines recommended by agencies that control authorization and licensing for manufacture and sale of food, drug products, and active pharmaceutical products. These guidelines provide minimum requirements that a pharmaceutical or a food product manufacturer must meet to assure that the products are of high quality and do not pose any risk to the consumer.

Good manufacturing practices, along with good laboratory practices and good clinical practices, are overseen by regulatory agencies in the United States, Canada, Europe, China, and other countries. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) version of GMP is used by pharmaceutical regulators and the pharmaceutical industry in over one hundred countries worldwide, primarily in the developing world. The European Union’s GMP (EU-GMP) enforces similar requirements to WHO GMP, as does the FDA’s version in the US. Similar GMPs are used in other countries, with Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam and others having highly developed/sophisticated GMP requirements. In the United Kingdom, the Medicines Act (1968) covers most aspects of GMP in what is commonly referred to as “The Orange Guide,” which is named so because of the color of its cover; it is officially known as Rules and Guidance for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Distributors.

CIMScan meets GMP requirements by providing a fully validated; web based environmental monitoring that adheres to the data security and digital signature guidelines outlined in FDA 21 CFR Part 11 and other guidance from the EU and China.

What Can Be Monitored In A Hospital

The overriding reason for monitoring in a hospital is to ensure patient safety. The following is a list of some of the possibilities.

 

Blood Bank

  • Temperature in blood bank refrigerators and freezers (including super colds)
  • Temperature in blood product transportation coolers
  • Temperature in warming baths and slide warmers
  • Platelet agitator motion
  • Security of radioactive sources
  • Temperature in the blood bank refrigerators at the OR and Trauma Unit
  • Room temperature and humidity in the blood bank area

 

Pharmacy

  • Temperature in pharmacy refrigerators and freezers (including super colds)
  • Temperature, humidity, differential pressure, and particle counts in cleanrooms
  • Temperature in pharmacy refrigerators at nurses’ stations
  • Temperature and humidity in pharmaceutical storage rooms

 

Laboratory

  • Temperature in laboratory refrigerators and freezers (including super colds)
  • Temperature (to -200°C) and LN2 level in cryogenic freezers
  • Temperature at slide warmers
  • pH of culture mediums
  • Temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels in incubators
  • Temperature in ovens
  • Room temperature and humidity in the laboratory area
  • Appliance door open time (door ajar)
  • Special interfaces to instruments

 

In-Vitro Fertilization Lab

  • Temperature (to -200°C) and LN2 level in cryogenic freezers
  • Temperature at slide warmers
  • pH of culture mediums
  • Temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels in incubators
  • Temperature, humidity, and room differential pressure in procedure areas

 

Nurses’ Stations

  • Temperature in refrigerators containing pharmaceuticals
  • Temperature in refrigerators containing patient food
  • Temperature of blanket warmers
  • Temperature and humidity in rooms where pharmaceuticals are stored

 

Dietary

  • Temperature in refrigerators and freezers where perishables are stored
  • Steam table temperature
  • Dishwasher hot water temperature
  • Deep fryer temperatures
  • Oven temperatures
  • Temperature in food delivery carts

 

Operating Rooms

  • Temperature, humidity, and differential pressure in the operating room
  • Special wireless temperature sensor at the operating table
  • Temperature in blood or tissue storage refrigerators

 

Isolation Rooms

  • Temperature, humidity, airlock pressure, and door open time

 

Patient Rooms

  • Temperature in patient food storage refrigerators

 

Remote Clinics

  • Temperature in refrigerators and freezers containing pharmaceuticals & blood products
  • Temperature in specimen storage refrigerators
  • Temperature and humidity in pharmaceutical storage rooms

 

Monitoring Service to Associated Doctors

  • Temperature in refrigerators and freezers where pharmaceuticals are stored
  • Temperature in specimen storage refrigerators
  • Temperature and humidity in pharmaceutical storage rooms

 

In addition to helping to maintain patient safety, the following can be monitored to minimize cost and improve the bottom line.

  • Levels in air and vacuum lines
  • Power line voltage and current levels
  • Electric power consumption
  • Natural gas consumption
  • Fuel oil consumption
  • Chilled water consumption
  • Temperature and humidity levels in public areas (keeping an eye on the HVAC system)
  • Energy from green sources
  • Domestic water consumption
  • Hot water consumption and the energy required to produce it
  • Generator oil and fuel levels and starting battery condition

 

The CIMScan temperature and humidity monitoring system for hospitals effectively ensures systematic operations as an in-expensive on-line solution.