What do you think of when you hear the term “environmental monitoring”? Environmental monitoring simply means tracking and collecting data related to various environmental conditions in a specific area. One example is monitoring temperatures. But another environmental condition that many regulated industries must monitor is humidity.
Why Monitoring Humidity Is Important
In a variety of industries, humidity levels must remain in a certain zone to maintain inventory or human safety. For example, both operating rooms and cold storage facilities must keep humidity within specific parameters. Too much moisture in the air can create conditions that may lead to the development of mold, fungus, or bacteria. Too little humidity may contribute to conditions that promote the development of dust and allergens and can cause allergic responses. Dry conditions can also result in cracking and warping of products that require
constant humidity levels.
How To Monitor Humidity Levels
To safeguard inventory and people, humidity levels must be monitored. And the most reliable and cost-effective way to monitor humidity levels or other environmental condition is with a data logger. For example, according to
Dickson, the aerospace industry relies on data loggers for accurate, consistent and precise measurements related to humidity,. A data logger is a portable electronic device that can be programmed to sample conditions on a set schedule. A sensor built into the device gathers humidity readings and stores them on a microprocessor. The data collected can be downloaded for review or close analysis.
Best Practices for Humidity Monitoring in the Aerospace Industry
Now that you have an understanding of the connection between humidity environmental monitoring and data loggers, here are a handful of the best practices adopted by regulated industries – including aerospace.
Best Practice #1 – Alignment
“Alignment” refers to the internal processes and procedures of an organization that has adopted environmental monitoring. Having a process for environmental monitoring in place is one thing but having a plan for what actions should flow from that monitoring is quite another. The best practice here is to have a clearly defined goal in place with all functions related to the monitoring system working towards that goal. In the aerospace industry, that goal could quite simply be to hold humidity at a pre-determined level. How that will be accomplished, who handles the data, how employees are alerted to changes, and what actions should follow – all these decisions come from the alignment process.
Best Practice #2 – Monitoring Tools
In the aerospace industry, not just any data logger or chart recorder will do. If your primary concern is monitoring humidity, several different available products can do this for you. But your company really needs two parts to monitoring: The first is the monitoring device with a built-in sensor and data storage capabilities, that you program to sample conditions. The other part is the software or application to download the stored data for review and analysis. The key is to have monitoring tools that verify that you are meeting and maintaining compliance.
Best Practice #3 – Monitoring Methodology
To implement effective environmental monitoring, your organization must engage in a comprehensive environmental map. In the aerospace industry where humidity readings are important, thermal mapping is the most efficient way to map the environment. Thermal mapping will reveal hot spots, cold spots, and the distribution of humidity. This form of environmental monitoring gives aerospace companies a better understanding of how minute changes in conditions can impact the quality of products being manufactured and the impact of those changes on the manufacturing process.
Best Practice #4 – Reporting Process
With the use of a data logger, you can use information recorded over time in various ways. A data logger can tell you when environmental conditions are failing. You can use the data logger to trigger an alert—an important part of the reporting process. Who should receive that notification, what should be done to rectify the situation, and other important processes need to be defined. The reporting process will involve using data in charts, graphs, or other visual form that can be downloaded from the data logger and reviewed.
Best Practice #5 – Equipment Monitoring
It is vitally important to ensure that the precision environmental monitoring equipment is in good working order at all times. This means that batteries are fully charged, data is downloaded frequently, and the data logger is calibrated at least once per year. It is also a good idea to have the device examined annually to make sure it is functioning properly. The last thing you want is to have an environmental monitor fail or provide inaccurate data when that data is crucial. A regular maintenance program will remedy this.
The Importance of Compliance in the Aerospace Industry
The aerospace industry has strict controls over many different environmental conditions, and they are in place to reduce the possibility of thermal expansion, eliminate excess moisture absorption, and prevent damage to electronic components. According to Dickson, the aerospace industry relies on data loggers for accurate, consistent and precise measurements related to humidity. These standards are in place in the manufacture of all forms of aircraft—private, commercial, and military—and safeguard human life. Environmental monitoring with data loggers assists in keeping manufacturing conditions within the prescribed range, ensuring regulatory compliance and—ultimately—safety.
Environmental monitoring is a process
used in regulated industries. It tracks and records various conditions, among them temperature and humidity. Electronic devices known as data loggers are used for this purpose because they are portable and can store readings for later download and review. In the aerospace industry, humidity is a crucial factor in the manufacturing process. Because private, commercial and military aircraft must meet strict guidelines, environmental conditions during the manufacture process must be closely monitored. Several best practices are in place to ensure the safety and security of materials used in aircraft manufacturing. Environmental monitoring prevents possible damage and potential loss of life as a result. This is why data loggers are so important in the aerospace industry.