Longhini Sausage Co. Inc.
A Family Business Protects Their Product using Wireless Dataloggers
In August of 2014, T&D Corporation's distributor, CAS DataLoggers, provided the automated temperature monitoring solution for Longhini Sausage Co. Inc. in Connecticut; a family-owned business serving the Southern Connecticut area for almost sixty years. The business's products are found in many of the area's restaurants, delis, and supermarkets.
Sausage is a quality product but extremely temperature-sensitive. During storage, if owner Rich Longhini's sausage product temperature rises above 35°F (1.6°C), he has a problem-he explains, "We load our trucks the afternoon before shipping the next day. On a given night I could have maybe $15,000 to $20,000 worth of product loaded up in my garage. Last year one of my refrigerated trucks went out of temperature overnight and this caused us to throw away the affected product the next morning. We lost maybe $3,000 of product due to a lack of alarms, and it could've been much worse. After that I wanted to alarm the temperature in the refrigerated compartments so I could be notified if the refrigeration breaks down in the middle of the night."
Longhini began searching for an automated alarm system to monitor his refrigerated trucks (aka 'reefer' trucks). His primary requirement was for a wireless temperature monitoring system capable of remote alarm notification. Initial systems he researched came at a high cost, including systems expressly designed for tractor trailers. However, he didn't want extra functionality, just a reliable way to protect his product.
Effective Cold Chain Monitoring
After searching online, Rich Longhini contacted T&D's distributor, CAS DataLoggers. After describing his application and considering several systems, he decided on T&D's Wireless 500 series Dataloggers. Rich decided to purchase three RTR-502 Wireless Temperature Dataloggers and an RTR-500NW Wired Ethernet Network Base Station to collect and wirelessly transmit the loggers' temperature readings. Longhini's garage contains his three delivery trucks as they await the morning deliveries, each one with a T&D data logger mounted on the side in an exterior electrical box. The T&D 500 series loggers are compact for easy placement. Longhini installed the system himself, drilling a hole in the side of each truck and placing the loggers' external temperature probes in the warmest part of the refrigerated compartment, running them to the inside roof alongside the refrigeration unit's own probe. image The loggers' external sensors have a measuring range of -76 to 311°F (-60 to 155°C) to monitor product or environmental temperature in real time. Users can choose to transmit readings either in Celcius or Fahrenheit. Each T&D standard size data logger has a large-capacity 16,000 point memory along with a battery life of about 10 months. However, Longhini opted for upgraded units with an optional large-capacity lithium battery, enabling about 4 years of operation. In this way Longhini Sausage Co. has a highly-reliable refrigerated alarm solution for all three refrigerated trucks with long term battery life.
Post-installation, the wireless T&D system now continually monitors the trucks while they're fully loaded through the night hours. Through the probes, each of the three data loggers automatically takes a temperature sample of the product once every ten minutes. All of this is done without any need for human intervention.
image The T&D RTR-500NW is a network base station with built-in wireless communication and LAN capabilities. This device is located on the wall 50 ft. away from the trucks, well within its communication range of 500 ft. The 500NW base station has a wireless connection to the data loggers and automatically downloads their temperature measurements using a 10/100BaseT Ethernet interface, sending the data via network to Longhini's PC at home. Here too Rich was a do-it-yourselfer: "After I used the extended battery loggers and mounted them to each of my trucks, I then wired in the Base Station and mounted it on a wall down in my garage."
After having deployed the base unit and begun data logging, if Rich wants to make settings changes or register a new data logger, he can do this remotely over the network without having to travel out to the Base Unit. Alternately, data can also be collected with other T&D's Data Collectors via USB, GSM technology, LAN or T&D's handheld unit.
Alarm & Remote Data Transmission
The RTR-500NW wireless base station now automatically downloads all recorded temperature data from the Wireless Data Loggers. In just two minutes the Base Unit can download one RTR-502 Data Logger at full logging capacity. Longhini occasionally views the data from his home PC, but as long as the system is in Warning Monitoring mode, his product is continually supervised. His preset temperature ranges for this application are 26°F at the low end with a high limit of 35°F, and he has also set the temperature parameters in the trucks to compensate for their defrost cycles. The system's alarm sampling checks are performed at the same rate as the temperature sampling.
Whenever any data logger's reading shows that the sausage product has suddenly exceeded the preset temperature range, the base station sends an automated alarm via network directly to Longhini's e-mail address. He comments on the critical importance of this feature: "99% of the time when you get a temperature alarm for food in storage, it's telling you that you have a real problem and you need to hurry. There aren't many false alarms so this usually means your truck's refrigeration unit just failed and your safety window is shrinking. You just can't afford to miss an alarm in this business."
Now when a temperature violation occurs overnight, Rich will immediately get an alarm notification sent to his mobile device-he'll never miss one. He gives an example of how an alarm event would arise: "It'd be on a weeknight-I'd first notice it as an email from my phone. From home I'd log in to the T&D Current Readings Monitor, look at the alarms and then decide what action to take. That could mean emptying the affected truck or moving product from one unit to another…whatever it takes to get it back in temperature spec ASAP."
Proving Best Practices to Receivers
Another business priority for Longhini is archiving the temperature data as proof of product quality. In addition to performing configuration and setup, the included T&D software enables him to create charts and graphs showing the temperature history: "It's a convenient backup that I can use as proof to my receivers that my shipments stayed in temperature for the entire length of storage."
"The temperature data can also be sent to the free T&D WebStorage cloud server where it can be viewed and shared 24/7 via web browser or T&D's free Apps for Smart Phones and Tablets.
The T&D wireless data logger system has completely automated Rich Longhini's cold chain monitoring setup. After the quick installation and setup, he's now assured that his trucks are ready to deliver quality product the next morning. Before installing the system, like many independent business owners Rich would worry, lose sleep, and occasionally drive back out to make sure everything was okay.
So it's no surprise that when asked to name the biggest benefit of his new system, Rich replied, "Peace of mind. Just knowing that my product is safe unless the system tells me different. Getting an alarm directly on my phone is also nice. I would recommend T&D--it works, it's cost-effective and you guys at CAS take good care of me with the free tech support."