Maybe you have heard of cartography, thermal mapping, thermal characterization, or temperature mapping. Well, I had an interesting conversation with Adrien and Manu the other day on that matter and I decided to share some of it with you today. To make sure we are on the same page, we will be using the term “Temperature Mapping” as the World Health Organization (WHO) does.
Temperature mapping, what is it?
To give the best answer to this question, it’s probably better to explain what it is for. Temperature mapping is used to characterize the temperature’s distribution, fluctuation, evolution or even homogeneity of a room.
This characterization allows you to guarantee the quality of your storage, the quality of your product and the temperature’s stability.
For instance, in a cleanroom, in a cold room or in a fridge, the temperature is not uniform everywhere. It may vary depending on whether the measuring point is high or not. It also varies depending on the volume of products or equipment stored in this room.
Temperature mapping will allow you or your quality manager to determine the critical points (hot spots, cold spots) of your room and where you must pay special attention. It gives you the exact location where to put your probes to monitor any critical changes so you can intervene before exceeding the acceptable limits.
How does temperature mapping work exactly?
A large number of probes will be placed for a certain period of time and temperatures will be recorded. The mapping will then determine where to place the probes for extreme temperatures that will have been recorded.
Is there any rule to follow?
There are several rules and technical specificities to take into account and standards that recommend the procedures to follow.
If the volume of your room is below 2m3, you will have to place 9 probes in each corner of your room and at the central point. For bigger spaces below 20m3, you will have to place 15 probes.
Of course, with so many probes, you will never be at the hottest point nor the coldest.
By interpolation, you will be able to determine that between the top left probe and the central probe, at a certain distance, you will find the hottest point in the room. You can then add your real-time measurement probe for the hot spot, and you do the same for the cold spot. It defines a measuring range. Now, you know that the temperature of your room will never rise above the hot spot and never drop below the cold one.
This will allow you to store your products in ideal conditions or on the contrary to detect for instance that your HVAC does not allow you to reach sufficient conditions to guarantee your storage.
When should you do it?
Once the optimal conditions are guaranteed, we position two probes for about a year, for extreme measurements only. You can now guarantee that your products have been stored in perfect conditions. Some companies will choose to do it more often because there’s a lot of perturbations in the room.
In the pharmaceutical industry, temperature mapping is mandatory before storing drugs or vaccines and during storage. For larger storage space, critical storage, or low insulation storage warehouse, you will have to do it twice, once in summer and once in winter each year.
The outside temperature can also have a big impact on the temperature inside even if the temperature of your room is regulated.
Temperature mapping – empty room or loaded room
The temperature in your room will vary depending on the volume you will store. Once you empty it out, temperature fluctuation will happen. Your hot and cold spots will move.
Therefore, it is recommended to do a temperature mapping when your room is empty. Then you simulate by loading a certain quantity of equipment (not your real product of course specially if it is a vaccine or drugs) to ensure the fluctuation is ok.
It is necessary to consider a maximum of events that the stored product could be confronted with such as opening a door, adding a shelf, a power cut, etc. In some cases, those tests will be executed during the weekend. The aim is to get the closest image of real-time conditions.
Who is it for?
Of course, you will often hear temperature mapping in the pharmaceutical industry but not only. Food, industrial, cosmetic industry are also concerned by temperature variation in warehouses even if temperatures are not always as critical as in pharmaceuticals.
It is a guarantee of quality to be able to prove that the products have been stored in the right place and under ideal temperature conditions.
More information on Temperature Mapping or on Mirrhia ?
Do you need temperature mapping service ? Would you like to discuss a project of temperature mapping with us ? Contact Mirrhia now. We'll be more than happy to help.