ART Laboratory Temperature Monitoring

Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics – October 2013, Volume 30, Issue 10, pp 1389-1393

The heat is on: room temperature affects laboratory equipment–an observational study

Julia M. Butler, Jane E. Johnson, William R. Boone (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Greenville Health System University Medical Group, 890 W. Faris Rd., Suite 470, Greenville, SC, USA)



To evaluate the effect of ambient room temperature on equipment typically used in in vitro fertilization (IVF).


We set the control temperature of the room to 20 °C (+/−0.3) and used CIMScan probes to record temperatures of the following equipment: six microscope heating stages, four incubators, five slide warmers and three heating blocks. We then increased the room temperature to 26 °C (+/−0.3) or decreased it to 17 °C (+/−0.3) and monitored the same equipment again. We wanted to determine what role, if any, changing room temperature has on equipment temperature fluctuation.


There was a direct relationship between room temperature and equipment temperature stability. When room temperature increased or decreased, equipment temperature reacted in a corresponding manner. Statistical differences between equipment were found when the room temperature changed. What is also noteworthy is that temperature of equipment responded within 5 min to a change in room temperature.


Clearly, it is necessary to be aware of the affect of room temperature on equipment when performing assisted reproductive procedures. Room and equipment temperatures should be monitored faithfully and adjusted as frequently as needed, so that consistent culture conditions can be maintained. If more stringent temperature control can be achieved, human assisted reproduction success rates may improve.


This research was submitted to the Faculty of Eastern Virginia Medical School in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences-Clinical Embryology and Andrology. Norfolk, Virginia May 2012.
Capsule Because modest changes in ambient air can affect surrounding equipment, it is necessary to be aware of room temperature when performing assisted reproductive procedures

How CIMScan Handles Particle Counters to Produce both English and Metric Measurements

If properly configured, the remote particle counters in CIMScan can simultaneously provide measurements in both particles/ft³ and particles/m³. Particle counters whose sample flow rate is internally regulated to one cubic foot per minute (1 CFM) should be configure to continuously take one minute samples to produce measurements in particles per cubic foot. During operation, both channels report these measurements to the CIMScan server once every minute.

Since a one cubic meter sample contains 35.3 cubic feet, the count values from a little more than 35 one cubic foot samples must be summed to produce a measurement in particles per cubic meter. This will require over 35 minutes at a 1 CFM sample rate. To speed things up, CIMScan handles the summing in a simple but every effective manner producing a particles per cubic meter value every minute.

All CIMScan DA-06/07 Remote Monitoring Stations have two special 36 element arrays for each remote device. These can be used to accumulate a count of the particles per cubic meter for both channels of a two channel remote particle counters. 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.


The “Index” identifies which of the 36 array elements that 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 each sample until it reaches “36” indicating that the array is full. (See why a “36” element array was chosen rather than “35” later in this article.)

During the count up to 36, the accumulation operation proceeds as shown in the diagram below.

Sliding box data

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.

 Sliding Box Accumilation

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 Foot measurements are reported to the server every time the particle counter provides a new set of measurements (or once a minute).

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, one cubic meter contains 35.3 cubic feet. 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. (Newer versions of the DA-06/07 allow a user to select that 35 or 36 samples be accumulated for the cubic meter values.)

CIMTechniques’ New Website – Press Release

CIMTechniques’ New Website & Blog Keeps You Up To Date On Critical Environment Monitoring Technology

The new CIMScan website has a host of features, including an informative blog, product details and specifications, application guides and much more. The new site is easy to navigate, and importantly simplifies finding the best monitoring solution.


Oct. 21, 2013 – CIMTechniques has completely re-designed the CIMScan website ( The new website aims to make it easier for customers, and partners, to obtain support information, upgrades, and generally maintain a free flowing communication channel with CIMTechniques. The website is also structured to provide new users with the information they need to quickly determine the best monitoring solution to meet their requirements.


The CIMScan monitoring system is quite sophisticated yet it appears elegantly simple in its ease of configuration and use. The system finds application in a variety of markets where reliability and accuracy are of paramount importance. CIMScan’s straightforward architecture has the flexibility to allow the use of the entire range of remote data acquisition and sensor components across multiple applications in the same system. This keeps the cost down while improving quality.

Walker Petroff, Founder & CEO of CIMTechnics, Inc, explained the need for the new website redesign “Since we installed one of our first Cleanroom monitoring systems at NASA’s space facility in Cape Canaveral, we have been providing innovative solutions for keeping an eye on critical applications in pharmaceutical, semiconductor, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and medical device manufacturing. The latest version of our flagship CIMScan monitoring system embodies what we have learned over 20 years in a completely web-based system. Numerous innovations make CIMScan second to none in ease of use, accuracy, reliability and maintainability. However, unless we have a vehicle to communicate our achievements, our efforts have been wasted. The old website was static and difficult to keep current and relevant. The new website not only provides us with a showcase for our products, but also gives us an additional means of dialog with monitoring system users, so that we can continue to be innovative and responsive to their needs.”

About CIMTechnics: CIMTechniques is a South Carolina corporation that has been in operation since 1992. The company has evolved to become the technology leader, through innovation, in markets and applications that serves companies and institutions where quality and reliability matter most.



Monitoring Stations’ Hourly Statistics Minimize Data Storage Requirements

Hourly Statistics

Beginning in the fall of 2010, all CIMScan Remote Monitoring Stations have the ability to very accurately calculate the following statistics for each monitoring point for every hour and send them to the server:

  • Average (arithmetic mean) over the hour

  • Maximum Value Detected over the hour and the time it was detected

  • Minimum Value Detected over the hour and the time it was detected

  • A User-Defined Statistic calculated from the measurement values over the hour

The User-Defined Statistic can be one of the following:

  1. The Variation at one Standard Deviation of the measurements taken over the hour

  2. The Mean Kinetic Temperature for the measurement (see below)

  3. An Accumulated Total for the hour assuming that the measurement is a rate

  4. The number of minutes that the measurement was outside the alarm limits.

  5. Same as #4 above except the time outside the limit is multiplied by the measurement value (also see explanation below)

The Mean Kinetic Temperature (MKT) provides a simple way of expressing the overall effects of elevated temperature which may occur during storage and transportation on perishable goods such as food and pharmaceuticals. MKT is more than a simple weighted average. The weighting is determined by a geometric transformation (the natural logarithm of the absolute temperature) and shows the affects of accelerated thermal degradation of materials as their temperature increases.

The international Conference on Harmonization (ICH) stability testing guidelines defines MKT as “a single derived temperature, which, if maintained over a definite period, would afford the same thermal challenge to a pharmaceutical product as would have been experienced over a range of both higher and lower temperatures for an equivalent defined period.”

The following universally accepted equation is used to calculate MKT.

MKT Calculation

CIMScan automatically converts the temperatures to the units of measure specified by the user (°C or °F).

Beginning in the fall of 2013, a useful statistic was added to accumulate the amount of time (minutes) over the hour that a monitoring point was outside its alarm limit. An additional special calculation can be chosen to multiply this value by the increment between the alarm limit and the measured value during the excursion.

Additional statistical calculations will be added based on customer demand. Statistics offer the ability to capture high speed events and provide them to the CIMScan server at a manageable update rate.

Statistics Improve Response while Minimizing Data Storage Requirements

With the addition of hourly statistics for each monitoring point in CIMScan, measurement update rates can be increased without fear of overloading the database with huge quantities of measurement data. This is accomplished by relying on the statistics for long term data storage and only keeping the real-time measurement data for short period of time (like 30 days). Consequently, you can significantly increase the measurement data update rate to improve the overall system response without negatively impacting long term data storage.

Long term storage of measurement is mandated for regulated industries. This is primarily done to satisfy auditors that measurements have been properly taken and the values were within acceptable limits. It is also useful to help determine the cause of an event that occurred sometime in the past as well as for legal reasons.

Wireless that Works

CIMTechniques has been providing wireless monitoring systems for over 15 years. During that time we’ve learned a lot about what to do to make wireless sensors work reliably. The main thing to remember is the fact that we are operating in the same two unlicensed bands (900 MHz or 2.4 GHz) along with millions of other wireless devices like Wi-Fi, wireless pagers, RFID, wireless instruments, etc. This means that the potential for interference is great and ever increasing as the wireless revolution explodes. Maintaining reliable communications in this mess is the challenge we all face implementing wireless systems.

Most of our competitors provide wireless units with output power levels of 1 mW. A few provide outputs of up to 20 mW, but rarely over that. In addition, most of these units operate on a single preset frequency. Consequently, if another station is operating on that frequency, units with low power levels will be drowned out and their communications will be interrupted. To combat this problem, we provide wireless devices with output power levels which can be adjusted to 40 or 158 mW to effectively punch through almost any interference. We also offer the ability to add external antennas that will increase the effective radiated power by a factor of three.

Another way to combat interference from another wireless device is to simply switch frequencies to a clear channel. This could be done manually whenever a new wireless device is in the area. Of course, this is impractical. A better way is to automatically switch using a technique called Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS). With this proven technology, our wireless sensors constantly change frequencies to find a clear channel within their operating bands. This ability, along with the higher output power levels, costs more and therefore our wireless components are a little more expensive than the less capable units from our competitors. (See the section on Spread Spectrum Technology in the paragraphs below.)


In the past, data security isn’t an important consideration in a wireless monitoring system. In today’s environment, that may not be case. How about the possibility of an unscrupulous person deciding to monitor the temperature levels from the blood bank refrigerators in hopes of detecting an abnormal condition on which to base a lawsuit? That sounds pretty farfetched, but it is a possibility. Also consider the situation where a disgruntled employee or even a terrorist wanted to disrupt hospital operations by falsifying measurement data and creating a huge number of alerts that would have to be responded to.

To prevent the above from happening, all of CIMScan’s wireless devices use AES-128 Encryption to provide protection from eavesdropping or the falsifying of measurement information.

Longer Range

The range of a wireless device operating indoors depends on 1) the construction of the walls between the transmitter and the receiver, 2) the power levels produced by the transmitters, and 3) the types of antennas used. Our CQ series of wireless sensors offers the highest power level of any competitive device and high gain antennas are also available to increase the range.

Our competitors may say that range isn’t important, “just add repeaters.” Repeaters are generally not particularly expensive. They do, however, require line power for operation. Installing a new power receptacle in an area where one doesn’t already exist will be very expensive.

Freedom of Movement

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 eliminates this objection. (See “multipath fading” in the Spread Spectrum section below.)

Faster Update Rates and More Available Sensor Types.

All battery-powered wireless sensors from any manufacturer (including CIMTechniques) normally operate at a very slow update rate (typically once every 5 to 15 minutes) to extend battery life. Our line-powered CQ-05 wireless bridge can provide updates every 25 seconds if necessary and has an interface with up to 8 inexpensive CT series SensorBus sensors. The following is a list of some of the available sensor types.

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Differential Pressure
  • CO2 Level
  • O2 Level
  • Airborne Particles
  • Voltage/4-20 ma Current
  • LN2 Level
  • Door Ajar
  • Line Power
  • Flow Rate
  • Tank Level

Standard Batteries

The CQ series of wireless sensors utilize standard “AA” alkaline batteries available just about anywhere at low cost. Our competitors normally use expensive Lithium batteries which often must be purchased from the supplier of the sensor.

A Closer Look at Spread Spectrum Technology

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 probabilistic 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.

The two primary approaches to spread spectrum are direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) and frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS), either of which can generally be adapted to a given application. Direct sequence spread spectrum is produced by multiplying the transmitted data stream by a much faster, noise-like repeating pattern. The ratio by which this modulating pattern exceeds the bit rate of the base-band data is called the processing gain, and is equal to the amount of rejection the system affords against narrow-band interference from multipath and jammers. Transmitting the data signal as usual, but varying the carrier frequency rapidly according to a pseudo-random pattern over a broad range of channels produces a frequency hopping spectrum system.

One disadvantage of direct sequence systems is that due to design issues related to broadband transmitters and receivers, they generally employ only a minimal amount of spreading, often no more than the minimum required by the regulating agencies. For this reason, the ability of DSSS systems to overcome fading and in-band jammers is relatively weak. By contrast, FHSS systems are capable of hopping throughout the entire band, statistically reducing the chances that a transmission will be affected by fading or interference. This means that a FHSS system will degrade gracefully as the band gets noisier, while a DSSS system may exhibit uneven coverage or work well until a certain point and then give out completely.

Hello World!

We are pleased to announce the launch of CIMTechniques’s new CIMScan website  Our re-design was built with our customers’ and partner’s needs in mind.

A few of our goals with the new website were to make it more informative, easy to navigate, and importantly easier for our customers, and potential customers, to find the best monitoring solution to meet their needs. We also wanted to make it easier for us to manage and update, so that we could provide a better online experience for our customers and partners.

We hope you will enjoy the new website and new features, including our informative blog,  product details and specifications, application guides and so much more.

Warmest Regards,