This article explores the key factors that could be influencing the speed of response for the probes being used across your food or beverage production site.

Every food and beverage production site is unique – facing its own set of challenges and opportunities. However, you would be hard pressed to find a factory that isn’t under at least a certain amount of pressure to save time and accelerate production. That is why, effective and efficient equipment is so important.

With the potential to significantly speed up or slow down your operation, thermometer probes are a prime example of equipment that needs to be fast-acting. So, what is the solution if the probes at your site have a less than satisfactory speed of response?

Listed in order of highest to lowest impact, the factors influencing the speed of your probes are explored in this article. We have also presented a guide to best practice – detailing two tried-and-tested solutions that could help your site to secure the fastest and most accurate results.

1. The thermal contact with the product

The first step is to ascertain is whether a penetration or destructive probe is being used – inserted directly into the product. If this is the case, you will need to establish just how deep the probe is going and whether your operatives are achieving the same depth every time, as this will have an impact on the speed of response. Another option is that your application requires a non-invasive approach, with the probe placed between packs or products. In this instance, you will need to consider how much of the product is in contact with the probe and how much of the probe is in contact with the product.

2. The size and thickness of the probe

Next, you need to consider the thickness and strength of the probe. Unsurprisingly, probes that are specified for solid or frozen applications tend to be thicker and stronger in order to penetrate hard surfaces without bending. Although this makes them the ideal choice for solid or frozen products, it can result in a slower response time. This is because there is more metal mass that needs to adjust to the temperature of the product.

The opposite is true as well, with thinner probes typically selected for smaller, cooked products. Because there is less metal mass, the speed of response tends to be quicker. However, a thin probe is more liable to damage, especially if it is used for the wrong application.

It is also worth noting that in some cases, although very rare, a product can end up adjusting to the temperature of the probe. This will only happen if the probe being used is too big and heavy for the product in question – for instance, a very large probe used for a single frozen prawn.

To prevent this from happening, you will need to work with your supplier to ensure you have the right size probe for your product and application. You will also need to train your operatives to be aware of the possible reasons for a surprisingly slow response time.

3. The temperature of the probe beforehand

Another important step is to think about the temperature of the probe before testing, as this could also impact the speed of its response.

For example, if you were to take a probe from a warm environment of around 23°C and move it to a frozen or chilled environment of around -18°C, you would need to factor in the time it takes for the probe to adjust to its new temperature. Alternatively, if you were to store the probe in the frozen or chilled environment, it would already be much closer to the temperature of the product you are testing.

Equally, if you were to take your probe from a cool environment for use inside a hot environment such as an oven, you may find that it adjusts more quickly if you first dip it into boiling water or if it is kept in a fairly warm area of your site to begin with.

4. The design of the probe

The design and electronics of the handheld unit will typically have very little impact on the speed of response. However, the design of the probe itself could easily be a contributing factor, with poorly designed probes taking longer to cool down and heat up.

The ideal probe should offer the perfect balance between speed and strength, an accomplishment that is reliant on the sensor being in direct contact with the tip of the probe shaft. If this process is compromised in any way, it is unlikely that your probe will be accurate, reliable, or efficient.

What is the best way to secure fast and accurate results?

This will depend on the specific requirements of your site and the applications you carry out. That is why it’s so important for you to communicate with your supplier. However, as a general rule, the following solutions have secured success for a number of sites across the industry.

Frozen Products

When using the equipment listed below, sites have typically seen stabilised results within 60 seconds if the probe has moved from an ambient to frozen environment, and within 15 seconds if the probe was already in the frozen environment.

Heavy Duty Penetration Temperature Probes

First, you need to make sure that the probes at your site have been designed to offer both speed and accuracy, as this will afford you the best of both worlds. One such example is the Spt Series Temperature Probe, as it has a tapered tip and twin walls with heat-transfer paste. This means that the tip is extremely quick to acclimatise, but the shaft is also strong enough to avoid bending or breaking when faced with a frozen or solid product.

Handheld Hole Borers

If your application involves destructive temperature checks on frozen or solid products, a handheld hole borer will eliminate the need for excessive pressure, along with the risk of an injured operative. Requiring less physical effort and reducing the wear and tear of your probes, hole borers allow you to pre-drill holes to the right size and depth before using your probe. This should also speed up the probing process – reducing the time it takes for your probe to stabilise and provide a reading.

Small Cooked Products

If your site handles small, cooked items such as chicken nuggets, hamburger patties, donuts, or even liquids, it is likely that you will require a much thinner probe than the ones used for frozen or solid products.

Stepped Penetration Probe

As previously mentioned, thin probes typically offer a speedier response time, but they are also more liable to damage. This is why sites often turn to thin tipped, stepped designs such as the Ste Series Temperature Probe. Thin and short, this probe is ideally suited to small products that are easy to penetrate. Because of the small amount of metal, the probe will adjust quickly and provide your operatives with a reading in a matter of seconds. However, the stepped feature makes for a stronger probe that is less likely to bend or break.

A Wide Range of Applications

3.3mm Tapered Probe

Finally, if you are searching for a probe that is suited to a variety of applications – durable enough to penetrate your product, but thin enough to offer rapid test results, the Spt Series Temperature Probe should meet these requirements. Delivering accuracy levels of ±0.3°C, this design features a tapered point that ensures a fast response rate and the quick stabilisation of your measurements. If your site relies on a number of applications and needs to speed up its processes, it could benefit from a probe with features such as these.

You now have a list of the most important factors relating to the response time of your probes, along with the information you need to ensure your probes are operating at the optimum speed.

If you require any further guidance, the Klipspringer team would be happy to help with your enquiries. You can contact us on 01473 461800 or Alternatively, you can use the form below to arrange a consultation

If you would like further guidance relating to your brushware, the Klipspringer team would be happy to help. Share your details below to arrange a free consultation.