A digital data logger collects, records and stores information about a variety of environmental conditions. Depending on the industry, those environmental conditions may be temperature, humidity, pressure, and voltage. In this article, we will take a closer look at each of those types of conditions and how a data logger tracks them.
What A Data Logger Does
Digital data loggers contain three main components. The logger uses a sensor or probe to monitor environmental conditions. The readings from the sensor are then converted into readable data by a microprocessor. The data from the microprocessor is kept on a storage drive, which time stamps the data that can be downloaded when needed. What makes data loggers so valuable is that they can be placed in settings where the conditions may be too harsh for a human to take manual readings or measurements. Plus, data loggers are durable and portable, which means they can also be put in remote, small, or difficult to reach locations. The data collected can be downloaded and analyzed. Finally, digital data loggers can send alerts to notify key people of situations that need attention as they occur, which leads to fast correction of conditions and limits potential losses or damage. Here is a closer look at the four different types of digital data loggers.
A data logger that records and monitors temperature has a sensor with an electronic thermometer and collects ambient readings at set intervals. Temperature data loggers are used in several industries, including agriculture for tracking air and soil temperatures, ecology for assisting in the assessment of various aquatic habitats, and in the food safety industry to monitor cold storage facilities. Temperature digital data loggers are also used in the manufacturing sector where they ensure equipment does not exceed certain temperatures and in the healthcare industry to track cold storage conditions and to keep facilities at safe temperatures for patients and lab settings. As Dickson notes, some organizations may want to opt for a digital data logger that is compatible with monitoring software, depending on their needs.
Humidity describes the amount of water vapor in the air. Digital data loggers that monitor humidity do so with a combination of a moisture detector and a temperature detector and can monitor different types of humidity. Specific humidity is the ratio of the mass of water vapor in a unit mass of air. Absolute humidity is the amount of water vapor in a specific volume of air, regardless of temperature. Relative humidity is the most common type of humidity measurement. It detects the current moisture content of the air against the maximum moisture content that can be reached at the current temperature. Climatologists and meteorologists use humidity data loggers to assist with predicting weather patterns. They are also used in warehousing to help prevent mold growth, in the healthcare industry to prevent contaminant growth, to prevent mold development in home maintenance, to preserve the potency of drugs in the pharmacology industry, and to maintain optimal growing conditions in the agriculture and green housing industries.
Data loggers can also measure pressure by turning a pressure reading into an electrical pulse that is read by a microprocessor. Many different types of pressure can be measured this way, including fluid pressure, gas pressure, and the amount of pressure that is applied to a solid item. Data loggers can also measure differential pressure—which is the difference in pressure—including even air pressure—between two points. Pressure is measured in one of three units. It can be measured as pounds per square inch, as atmospheres (the gas pressure of air at sea level), or in pascal which is the metric unit that equals a single newton of force per cubic meter. Industries relying on such critical pressure readings include aviation, where aircraft components can be damaged by too much or too little pressure being applied during manufacturing; in manufacturing to monitor flow pressure within machinery and the strain put on those pieces of equipment; and for tracking atmospheric pressure in climatology and meteorology. Also, pressure data loggers can be used in seismology to detect various forms of seismic activity, and in oceanography to determine pressures at extreme depths.
The measurement of electric current over a distance is voltage. Voltage monitoring is essential in the operation of many electrical machines because spikes in voltage can cause serious damage to components. Not enough voltage may result in a variety of equipment malfunctions that can also lead to damage. A digital data logger that measures voltage can be calibrated to read either AC (alternate current) or DC (direct current) and they are available in single or multiple channel designs. These data loggers have many applications including in manufacturing, medical sciences, the energy industry, computing, and tech operations, and the automotive and aviation industries. Being able to monitor voltage levels in machines reduces the risk of damage or loss of time resulting from equipment failures where production halts until the machinery is repaired and back online. This type of failure can be catastrophic in certain settings.
There are several different types of environmental conditions that are critical to track for a variety of reasons. When the conditions change too much, they can present circumstances that may damage inventory, equipment, or more. This is why data loggers are so essential in many industries that rely on strict control of environmental conditions. The four main types of data loggers measure temperature, humidity, pressure, or voltage. The devices that do the measuring and recording of these values are durable, accurate, and reliable. A digital data logger provides a means to meet and maintain compliance, providing data that can be downloaded and printed to verify that specific ranges are being carefully monitored.