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Cold Chain Monitoring During Transport: The Keys to Enhancing Reliability

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A Marathon Products micro2 Temperature Data Logger.The journey for temperature-controlled products often comes with endless challenges. Here is a handy overview of potential risks and how data logging can enhance cold chain monitoring during transport.

Key Takeaways:

  • Transport type, terrain, and the external and internal environment are all critical factors in moving products successfully from point A to point B
  • Temperature impact and CO2 excursions occur under certain conditions
  • Digital data loggers that capture multiple metrics reduce cold-chain transportation complications

If you run a food and agriculture business or a company that handles perishable goods, you understand that a slight temperature shift can mean a substantial financial loss due to pathogen formation. That’s why cold chain monitoring during transport is so important. By understanding the ins and outs of monitoring your goods in transit, you can ensure that your product will arrive fresh and intact as intended.

But some factors can affect product quality from the point of distribution to consumers. Here we guide you through these factors in detail, with solutions to optimize efficiency and ensure spoilage is nonexistent. 

Modes of transport

Depending on the distance and the kind of product being transported, you may choose to use different modes of transport. Regardless of using a plane, ship, or truck, each option presents specific complications. 

  • Air: Despite the benefits of air transport in the cold chain, it is often associated with costly shortcomings. The formation of ice crystals due to dry air inside an aircraft can damage products in minutes. These ice crystals usually form when the outside air temperature is lower than the internal cabin temperature at high altitudes or in humid conditions. In the event of flight delays due to bad weather, the consequences can be grave.
  • Water: Water transport is another option used for cold chain products, but it is also imperfect. When combined with saltwater spray and solar radiation, humidity levels in the water can damage most products. Also, ships may take longer to reach their destination than other transportation modes, increasing the risk of damage.
  • Road: While road transport is the most common and cost-efficient way to move products from one place to another, unpredictable weather conditions or poorly insulated vehicles can cause dry ice and condensation, leading to thermal or physical damage to goods.

Now that we’ve covered transportation methods, let’s look more closely at terrain and its impacts on road transportation. 

Terrain and its impacts

The terrain also presents challenges for maintaining cold chain temperature and ensuring product integrity. These include ascending and descending steep inclines, navigating winding paths, or crossing mountainous regions.

Ascending and descending hills causes air pressure to fluctuate rapidly, leading to humidity and temperature changes. This is especially true if a vehicle fails to maintain a consistent speed during travel.

Winding paths can cause drastic changes in airflow patterns inside the vehicle, leading to thermal excursions and condensation. In addition, mountainous regions present challenges, especially if the road includes long tunnels. Some routes may be long and bumpy, increasing time spent on the road. These possibilities increase the chance of temperature fluctuations, leading to degraded product quality.

External and internal environment complications

The external climate and weather conditions affect how quickly the vehicle’s interior warms up or cools down. If it’s too hot outside, the vehicle’s interior can get much warmer than anticipated, leading to product degradation.

On the other hand, if the external air is colder than inside the vehicle, condensation can form around products or containers and lead to product damage. The internal environment of a vehicle also impacts its insulation, the type of packaging and cargo, and its loading configuration.

CO2 and its implications

CO2 is an essential part of the cold chain process, as it helps maintain product integrity from the point of production to the consumers. However, maintaining high CO2 levels and low oxygen levels in low temperatures can be challenging.

Several factors may cause changes in CO2 levels during the transport process, including high temperatures and humidity or a breakdown of the cold chain. For example, ascending a mountain causes the CO2 levels to drop as you gain altitude. If the CO2 levels in the cold chain are not maintained correctly during transport, it can affect product quality. 

Enhance cold chain transportation with Marathon Products

Sometimes you have little control over the external forces that affect the cold chain. However, there are definite steps you can take to protect your products from temperature excursions and other forms of damage. 

Marathon Products offers world-class solutions for cold chain monitoring during transport. These solutions guarantee real-time data and automatic alerts when temperatures or humidity exceed the required range. Our data loggers and CO2 sensors provide data logging capabilities to collect information about the transport process, allowing you to analyze and identify potential issues. 

For instance, our micro2 Temperature Data Logger is designed to capture critical temperature data in the cold chain during transport. The device is super easy to use, eliminating the need for specialized expertise to get started. It’s small, lightweight, and self-powered, making it ideal for use in the transportation industry.

The edl Temperature Data Logger is an excellent choice if you need a more complex data-collecting solution. This device features time interval customization and allows you to record and download data from up to 16 temperature channels. 

Marathon Products provides systems that are tested and proven to work in extreme weather conditions, eliminating the risk of product damage. Our extensive experience in the industry means we can advise you on the best solution for your specific needs and requirements. 

Marathon Products is the industry go-to for professional assistance in implementing cold chain monitoring systems for cold chain transport. Don’t hesitate to contact us today or view our products to learn more about how we can help with your cold chain monitoring needs.

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