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How to measure commercial fridge temperature?

Thanks to technological progress through the decades, we have access to a variety of produce never seen before. However, on top of the ecological question is the risk of safely storing these goods until they reach the consumer.

We live in a society where too much is wasted, and controlling the cold chain and cold rooms in markets is one way of preventing this. Therefore, proper management of these equipment allows for less waste.

A cold room is simply a place where a specific temperature is artificially generated. Typically designed for storing products longer in an environment below the outside temperature, cold rooms are considered as advanced refrigerators and are the last stop on the cold chain before produce is sold to consumers. They are used for upholding sanitary standards - for example, restaurants that receive and handle meat, storage of perishable products, and to display products in supermarkets.

Commercial fridges in a grocery shop
Fridges in a grocery shop

There are two types of cold rooms: positive cold rooms and negative cold rooms. This refers to the temperature itself, being either above zero degree Celsius (positive cold room) or below freezing point. The former is used to preserve produce such as fruits and vegetables, whereas the latter will be used for frozen goods.

The cold chain is logistical, including actions and equipment, and is used to properly store and deliver temperature-sensitive goods or assets. In today’s globalisation, where a large amount of goods travel major distances before reaching the final consumers, controlling temperature is an incredibly important issue. Many goods that are considered as perishables, especially food, suffer from quality degradation over time. The chemical reactions responsible for this can be mitigated with lower temperatures. Cold and freezing temperatures can slow down the development of bacteria and spoilage by solidifying water molecules.

Monitoring a Cold Room

Used to store many physical goods, a cold room has to be carefully monitored to prevent any kind of failure. These systems have an alarm built in that can send out an alert if a problem were to arise, but it is not enough. Using a device that can preemptively send out a warning or to monitor the temperature 24/7 may prove to be more efficient. One can do so very simply with the sensor node known as RuuviTags. Using Bluetooth technology and an open source software, the device sends data such as temperature, humidity or pressure to your phone or in large scale installations, to cloud system.

Ruuvi Station mobile application
RuuviTag sensor produces data that is easily visible on mobile phones

Temperatures used to preserve aliments vary depending on the products. Cheese or red meat should not be kept at the same temperature: in this case, meat requires a lower temperature on average. When it comes to display cold rooms, where products are put before final consumption, different categories of aliments are placed separately.

Temperatures used to preserve aliments vary depending on the products. Cheese or red meat should not be kept at the same temperature: in this case, meat requires a lower temperature on average. When it comes to display cold rooms, where products are put before final consumption, different categories of aliments are placed separately.

In the case of a cold room, the key point is, of course, temperature. The “Ruuvi Station” (name of the application) transforms all of it in easily readable graphs. Furthermore, you can also set an alert in case the room temperature goes above or below a certain level, as seen in the picture below. The sensor ranges from -40 Celsius degrees to 85°, making it very versatile.

Several companies, such as Miratag, offer monitoring solutions with these sensors as part of the equipment. Humidity is also important inside a cold room, as air that is too dry will harm fresh fruits and vegetables. Ultimately, cold rooms are also an ecological challenge as they heavily consume electricity.

Importance of the Cold Chain

The logistics of the cold chain is everything before cold rooms, which is the final step before consumption of the product. Whether it’s flowers, meat, or pharmaceuticals, it is crucial to respect procedures as some items travel great distances over a certain period of time.

The standards in various developed countries are strict in order to protect the consumers, and it can prove difficult to properly measure temperature throughout the process.

Veggies in freezer
Vegetables in a freezer

As an example, supermarkets in France are required by law to probe the temperature of the goods they receive. It would be less of a challenge if tools were used to track temperature of the transportation system throughout all stages of the process.

Another industry where temperature monitoring is essential is the cut flowers industry. In this case, the cold chain management in the supply chain is of utmost importance, specifically because of the physical distance between the markets. As Florinews writes, “temperature also has an effect on the rate of metabolism, water loss, tissue deterioration and growth of Botrytis cinerea (a fungus affecting plant species) in harvested cut flowers”. In this industry, whether it comes to the logistics of cold or monitoring a flower shop, it is a challenge to monitor everything, and the perfect solution has yet to be created.

Flowers in a cold room
Flowers in a cold room

Also, what comes to restaurants, they might not have an alarm system in the case of power failure, and this increases the risk of finding the products wasted the following day if power does fail. Utilising a RuuviTag could help prevent the issue, as the slightest change in temperature will trigger a notification to be sent via Ruuvi Station.

You can also learn more about the use of RuuviTags in this article by ImaguSCC, in a more technical fashion. That’s it for our article on cold rooms and the cold chain logistic!

Beyond a cold room, you can monitor your home, exterior, or even a cool box! If you are yourself a professional where cold chain, food preservation, or cold rooms are part of the challenges & responsibilities, or you’re just simply curious, shop the RuuviTag!

Monitor fridge temperatures at all times easily with Ruuvi

Ruuvi is an easy way to measure environment at your home, hobbies or business. RuuviTag and Ruuvi Gateway offer a perfect combo for professional kitchens and cold storage monitoring. Order now and get hooked with measuring!

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