Temperature Controlled Packaging

Data loggers in packaging: The downsides & alternative solutions

5 mins

Ensuring the safe transit of products is a critical concern for businesses across all industries. From perishable goods to fragile electronics, through to lifesaving drugs and medical equipment, maintaining optimal conditions during shipping is vital to preserve quality and prevent damage.

Traditionally, data loggers have been the go-to solution for monitoring temperature fluctuations and impacts throughout the supply chain. However, as technology advances and new solutions emerge, it's essential to explore alternative methods that offer simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and real-time monitoring capabilities.

In this article, we'll delve into the limitations of data loggers and highlight alternative solutions that offer an effective approach to monitoring product integrity throughout the supply chain.

The downsides of data loggers

Data loggers have long been a staple in the packaging industry for monitoring temperature and humidity levels, as well as tracking shock and vibration. Despite their widespread use, data loggers present several drawbacks that can hinder efficiency and cost-effectiveness, including:

  • Complexity: Data loggers typically require specialised software for data analysis and interpretation, which adds complexity to the monitoring process. This can be cumbersome for users and may require additional training.
  • Cost: High-quality data loggers can be expensive to purchase and maintain, especially for businesses with large-scale shipping operations. The initial investment, coupled with ongoing calibration and maintenance costs, can significantly impact the bottom line.
  • Space and Weight: Data loggers occupy valuable space within packaging and add weight to shipments, which can increase transportation costs. The added weight also contributes to a less sustainable operation, making delivery less fuel-efficient.
  • Granularity: Due to the cost, data loggers are typically used at scale of one data logger per pallet. While this provides valuable insights into overall conditions during transit, it lacks granularity at the individual package level. This means that localised temperature fluctuations or impacts may go undetected, increasing the risk of product spoilage or damage. Businesses requiring finer-grained monitoring may find data loggers limited in their ability to provide detailed insights into specific areas of concern within shipments.
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Exploring alternative solutions to data loggers

Given the limitations of data loggers, businesses are increasingly turning to alternative solutions that offer simplicity and cost-effectiveness. Here are three label solutions that can work hand-in-hand to provide similar information, at a fraction of the cost.

Temperature Indicator Labels

Temperature indicator labels are primarily placed on the outside of the package and change colour in response to temperature fluctuations, providing a visual indication of exposure to extreme temperatures. These labels are cost-effective, easy to use, and require no additional equipment or software for interpretation.

These labels offer a straightforward solution for monitoring temperature-sensitive goods during transportation and storage, eliminating the need for complex data logger systems:

  • WarmMark: a single-use temperature indicator that notifies handlers about adverse temperatures. WarmMark has a temperature accuracy of ±2°F and is suitable for many cold chain monitoring applications.
  • FreezeSafe: descending, single-use temperature indicator that provides accurate, irreversible evidence if a product has experienced unacceptably low temperatures. The indicator will turn from white to magenta if the temperature goes below a predetermined threshold of 0°C / 32°F or 2°C / 36°F.
  • ColdMark: a single-use descending temperature indicator designed to help shippers identify gaps in the cold chain. ColdMark will turn from clear to violet when the temperature drops below the threshold.

Shock Impact Labels

Shock impact labels are designed to deter and detect excessive shock and vibration during transit. These labels use a cleverly designed mechanism that react to impacts, providing a visual indication of potential damage. Like temperature indicator labels, shock impact labels are simple to use and offer a cost-effective way to identify issues within the supply chain. By proactively identifying instances of mishandling, businesses can implement measures to mitigate the risk of product damage and minimise financial losses.

ShockWatch 2 labels are innovative devices designed to detect and record potentially damaging impacts that occur during the handling and transportation of goods. These labels are equipped with advanced technology that reacts to impacts, providing visible evidence of mishandling. When exposed to excessive force, ShockWatch 2 labels activate, highlighting potential damage and prompting immediate attention to the affected shipment

Tilt labels

Tilt labels, as the name suggests, detects and records tilting or leaning of packages during transportation or storage. These labels provide a visual indication when a package has been tilted beyond a certain threshold, alerting businesses to potential issues such as improper handling or storage conditions. Incorporating tilt labels into packaging can help businesses ensure product integrity by monitoring for instances of excessive tilting that may lead to damage or spoilage.

For example, certain products such as fridges must be kept up right during the storage and delivery process. If the item is tilted, the refrigerant will be pulled from the gas pump, hindering its ability to cool properly.

TiltWatch XTR labels are designed to provide clear visual evidence of tilting, making it easy for businesses to identify instances of mishandling and take appropriate action. With TiltWatch XTR labels, businesses can enhance their monitoring efforts and minimise the risk of product damage or loss due to improper handling.

Impact, Tilt and Temperature labels from Swiftpak

At Swiftpak, we offer a comprehensive range of impact, tilt and temperature labels tailored to meet the diverse needs of our customers. Whether you require protection for delicate electronics, fragile glassware, or sensitive pharmaceuticals, our extensive selection ensures that you can find the perfect solution for your shipping requirements.

Protect your shipments, safeguard your reputation, and save costs with our range of label solutions. Contact us today to discover how we can supply a solution to fit your specific needs and take your packaging solution to the next level.