Measuring and recording product success is a key component to helping meet the demands for greater safety, performance, reliability and durability in today's highly competitive global marketplace. Environmental chambers are a critical aspect of many companies who provide comprehensive testing services to ensure that a quality product has been produced.
In the pharmaceutical industry, their contents are the lifeblood of the industry with data being collected for submission to the FDA. Environmental chambers regulate heat with temperature coils and refrigeration units, and humidity by converting a supplied water source into steam and then removing excess moisture with condenser coils. Environmental chambers are constantly adjusting to maintain set points and, in most cases, handle and consume significant quantities of water for humidity generation purposes.
In the automotive industry, environmental chamber testing laboratories can subject components to a variety of accelerated environmental tests including corrosive salt fog, dust, gravelometer, temperature and humidity, and thermal shock. The data collected from these tests is a vital component to automotive manufactures to show their product meets or exceeds the safety standards. In many cases, this data is must be saved for decades and could be called upon at any time by your customer.
Monitoring and recording this data, either during batch runs or continuously, can be costly. Time and money can be lost if an equipment failure occurs in the last hour of a long test run. Paper chart recorders contain ink pens and moving pen arms which break over time. Many companies struggle with the following areas which add escalating costs to their process:
o Labor hours to monitor test runs
o Labor hours to manually record data
o Labor hours searching for chart reports when customers require old reports
o Loss of valuable lab or office space to store paper charts or additional off-site storage space
o Replacing consumables: pens, paper, chart motors
o Loss of data during power outages
Loy Instrument has installed an electronic, paperless monitoring and recording system at several automotive testing laboratories using Honeywell components which delivered the following results:
· Automatic electronic data recording and storage
· Monitoring test runs with early warning alarms
· Eliminated consumables for additional saving over time
· Reduced labor hours
This solution began with an upgrade to the customer’s existing Honeywell DR45AT chart recorders with Modbus RS485 cards to allow the data to be transmitted to a central computer. Specview, a SCADA package software, was installed and programmed to collect all of the data from the 30+ environmental chambers. This created a single location for data monitoring, storage, and reporting and reduced the daily data monitoring process from 4 hours to 1 hour. In the first year the customer saved over 780 man hours in labor!