Environmental monitoring is an essential exercise in many different industries where conditions must not fluctuate greatly. Data loggers are the instrument used to track conditions such as temperature and humidity. The aerospace industry relies on constant temperature levels, and the most reliable way to record this information is with a data logger. Before we explore the reasons why environmental monitoring matters in the aerospace industry, let's take a deeper look at what exactly a data logger is supposed to do.

Data Loggers - What They Do

A data logger is an electronic device that tracks and records environmental conditions, storing the information on a microprocessor like a memory. They are portable devices that can be placed in tight quarters as a standalone recording device. Data loggers are easy to set up - load freshly charged batteries, set the parameters you are recording, arm the alarm if there is one, and start the device. Data collected can be easily downloaded via USB or wirelessly to a computer, website, FTP location, or smartphone.

Why Data Loggers Matter In Aerospace

Here is a list of ways in which aerospace companies can make the best use out of data loggers.

1 - Have The Right Tool For The Job

A data logger is a data logger, right? That is far from the truth according to Dickson, as there are so many different types of data loggers available in the marketplace. That is because there are so many different environmental conditions that require monitoring specific to certain industries. For example, a temperature and humidity data logger would work best in the aerospace industry than one designed to monitor the growing conditions as would be required in the agriculture industry.

2 - Ensure It Is In Good Working Order

Although a data logger is an electronic device, which means it will have a greater amount of durability than some other environmental monitoring devices, they do need to be maintained. Depending on the specific aerospace application, having data loggers reviewed regularly to spot potential damage or operational issues early can prevent a costly repair and loss of data. One easy fix is to always load the data logger with fresh batteries. Some models do not function properly when their power source is running low and this can impact the quality of the data.

3 - Download Your Data Frequently

Data loggers use a microprocessor as a memory. If you do not program the device to stop recording data once the memory is full, it will keep recording. However, considering the design of the microprocessor, the memory follows a loop configuration. What this means is that if it is left to record data continuously, the older files on memory will be overwritten by newer files. In other words, your old data is replaced by new data. The best way to avoid this from happening is to download the data stored on the microprocessor often. At least once a week is considered a good interval, but that depends on the amount of sampling that the data logger is programmed to record daily.

4 - Keep Spares Around At All Times

As would be understandable in the aerospace industry, there is a great deal of importance placed behind ensuring that there are sufficient supplies of "spare parts" that can be accessed at any time reducing lost time. This same principle applies to data loggers. Sensors can wear down over time and reduce their sensitivity. That is why it is a good idea to have either additional data loggers in the inventory or at least replacement parts for the simple DIY-type repairs. The most logical spares to have on hand are batteries. If the data loggers you are using employ rechargeable batteries, ensure that fully charged extras are always available for quick replacement.

5 - Have An Emergency Plan In Place

For data loggers that are tracking and recording temperature and humidity levels, it is a good idea to program them to trigger an alarm system once those levels fall outside of the targeted zones. Depending on the type of data logger being used, push notifications can be programmed to be sent at the same threshold as the alarm notices. These are great warning devices but for them to be effective, it is vital to have a list of personnel responsible for responding to those alarms and push notifications. With this emergency plan in place, there should be no issues resulting from an alarm at any time.

6 - Don't Push The Data Logger Past Its Limits

That is a nice way of saying, "Read the instructions." The most valuable information you are going to learn regarding how to best utilize data loggers in the aerospace industry is to observe the suggestions and guidelines laid out in the instruction manual that accompanies the monitoring device. It sounds too basic, but often the failure of the device could have been prevented by following the instructions and not pushing the electronics past their working limitations. You may be a little surprised to discover what the basic data logger can do for you other than "watch" environmental conditions on an ongoing basis without the need for supervision.

In Conclusion

Environmental monitoring in the aerospace industry follows much the same guidelines as environmental monitoring in any other industry. There is a need for ongoing recording and tracking of temperature and humidity levels to maintain compliance. Data loggers are the most cost-effective and reliable instruments to conduct this exercise. They are portable, do not require constant checking and can store a great deal of information in onboard memory. Data loggers also are easy to set up, can be used in virtually any setting, and the data collected is as easy to retrieve when needed. If you are in the aerospace industry and environmental conditions are vital for your work, then a data logger is without a doubt your best ally in this situation.