7 uses for smart temperature sensors
Temperature monitoring and control is used in more ways than you can imagine. There are the obvious ones, like storing food safely and controlling heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. And then there are some more industry-specific ones, like measuring soil temperature to maximise crop yields, or maintaining a safe range for storing drugs and medical devices.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, we hope it shows how versatile temperature sensors can be and how widespread their use has become.
1. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
Temperature sensors are used in many types of buildings to control heating, ventilation and air conditioning, helping to provide a comfortable environment for occupants as well as improve energy efficiency.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that those in charge of indoor workplaces should provide a ‘reasonable working temperature’ of at least 16°C, or 13°C for strenuous work. If the work requires hot or cold temperatures, employees should have access to local heating and cooling, such as fans, windows and radiators.
Even if temperatures are unlikely to be excessively hot or cold – for example, a typical office environment – maintaining a comfortable temperature is likely to improve morale and productivity. The HSE notes that: ‘People working in uncomfortably hot and cold environments are more likely to behave unsafely because their ability to make decisions and/or perform manual tasks deteriorates.’ They may feel drowsy and unable to concentrate, rush to finish a task and escape a cold environment, or forgo safety equipment due to the warm temperatures.
Applying smart controls to heating and cooling systems is also a much better use of resources. This is particularly true in the hospitality industry. With hotel owners facing increasing competition and rising energy costs, the financial pressures – and the appeal of energy-saving smart sensors – have never been greater.
According to Deloitte, downtime costs industrial manufacturers $50 billion a year, with 42% of that caused by equipment failure. It’s not surprising, then, that manufacturers large and small use temperature sensors to monitor critical equipment.
By measuring motor heat, temperature sensors can help operators detect issues such as overheating, overloading and insufficient cooling. Early detection of problems means manufacturers can hopefully avoid unplanned downtime, as well as save costs by limiting maintenance checks and repairs to when they’re actually needed.
3. Information technology
If you have a server room, you’ll know it’s important to avoid overheating. It’s said the ambient temperature of a server room and the inlet temperature for server racks should both be maintained between 18° and 27°C, while the hot air exhaust should not be more than 20°C / 35°F above the intake temperature.
Energy conservation firm Fairbanks Energy Services uses our temperature sensors to monitor IT equipment in data centres. By using accurate real-time temperature data to intelligently control computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units, along with airflow best practices, FES help their customers reduce the amount of cooling needed by 10-20% of the nominal amount required.
Sensors and the automotive industry go hand in hand. Currently, every vehicle on the street has an incredible 60 to 100 sensors on board. And as cars become smarter, that number could double.
As well as being used in climate control systems, temperature sensors accurately measure the temperature of a vehicle’s oil, coolant and air to ensure the optimum performance. Fuel temperature is particularly important as it affects fuel consumption. If the fuel is colder, it’s denser, and burns more slowly, while warmer fuel is the opposite. The sensor ensures the correct amount of fuel is injected, ensuring the vehicle can be driven smoothly.
The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries rely heavily on temperature sensors, with solutions designed specifically to monitor temperatures of fridges and freezers, blood banks, operating theatres, medicines, and medical devices and equipment.
Maintaining an optimum temperature allows hospitals and other healthcare facilities to protect medicines from damage, keep patients safe and comply with strict industry regulation. To be fully compliant with all national regulatory bodies, including the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and NHS, healthcare facilities must demonstrate a comprehensive regimen of temperature monitoring and accurate record-keeping.
By using smart sensor systems, hospitals can also save valuable resources, as well as free up time for their staff and allow them to focus on patient care.
The farm might be the last place you’d expect to find cutting-edge sensor technology. Yet modern agricultural practices are fast adopting smart tech to help them monitor and maintain environmental conditions, maximise harvest yields and meet increasing global demand for produce.
Smart farming, or climate-smart agriculture, uses a range of sensors to track the temperature, humidity and light conditions around crops, with alerts for any conditions that fall out of the optimal range. As well as ambient temperature, soil temperature is also measured – it affects processes including photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, water potential of the soil, soil translocation and microbial activity.
7. Food and catering
Monitoring and maintaining the right temperature is critical for food and beverage manufacturers, processing plants, caterers, breweries and dairies. It helps to keep facilities safe and compliant, maintain process efficiency and keep waste to a minimum.
Specialist sensors are used in a huge range of food preparation and storage applications, including brewing, bottling, fermentation, canning, pasteurisation, mixing, cooking, smoking and refrigeration.
The temperature sensors we currently provide have a wide range of uses, from protecting servers and machinery to maintaining a comfortable environment for building occupants. If you want to know more, get in touch.