Technical/Quality

A Complete Guide to Equipment Calibration

Klipspringer’s Laboratory Manager Explains Lead Times, The Calibration Process, and More…

When it comes to equipment calibration, striking the balance between speed, thoroughness, and efficiency is crucially important.

Every year without fail, food businesses lose thousands in revenue when equipment is returned for calibration. Downtime forces production to slow, resulting in wasted labour, a depleted inventory, and a bottleneck in work.

At the other end of the scale, uncalibrated equipment is an even riskier alternative. It leaves food businesses at risk of low-quality products, non-compliant manufacturing or service processes, and unsatisfied customers.

Calibrations are a complex process - but ensuring their timeliness is essential for food businesses

With an in-house UKAS laboratory that oversees more than 10,000 calibrations annually, we are regularly asked a range of questions about equipment calibration, from the process of recalibrating equipment to the factors impacting lead times.

Based on an interview between Radek Tameczka (our Laboratory Manager) and Alex Blair (our Content Lead), this article answers the following FAQs:

What is calibration and why is it important?

How often should I calibrate my equipment?

How do I return my equipment for calibration?

How long should the calibration process take?

Which equipment types need calibrating?

Radek Tameczka, Laboratory Manager at Klipspringer

What is calibration and why is it important?

Drawing on his 15 years’ experience in the industry, Radek pointed out a key misconception surrounding calibration. “Calibration is often mistaken to mean adjustment. That’s not always the case. In many instances, calibration means verification of what the instrument reads at a very specific point.”

For example, a thermometer calibration involves a verified analysis of its temperature accuracies. Most laboratories verify the thermometer’s accuracy at three different temperature points, such as -18°C, 0°C, and 100°C.

If the instrument is adjustable, then the calibration process can involve modifications. If it is not adjustable, equipment is returned with a calibration certificate stating any divergence, such as -18.2°C, 0.3°C, and 100.5°C.

UKAS calibration certificate

The importance of this cannot be overstated. Yes, certification proves that your instruments are traceable to a UKAS-accredited standard – in Klipspringer’s case, international standard ISO/IEC17025. Calibration certificates also enhance company adherence to food safety standards and are one of the most common requests made by assessors during audits.

But, most crucially, certificates also explicitly demonstrate the exact accuracy of an instrument. Neither subjectivity nor error are tolerable when it comes to food compliance. Customer safety is at risk – particularly with temperature, where the difference between safe and unsafe food could be as little as one degree.

How often should I calibrate my equipment?

In conversation with Radek, he outlined four specific factors that determine the necessary frequency of calibration. These are:

1) Equipment type

In general, most equipment requires consistent calibration, although, logically, certain types of instruments require recalibration on a more regular basis than others. Humidity meters, refractometers, and callipers are all examples of instruments that should be frequently recalibrated.

2) Usage

A general rule of thumb here: as a piece of equipment receives more use, the frequency of its calibrations must increase proportionately. For example, thermometers are usually expected to be calibrated at least once a year – but Radek says some food businesses send their units in for calibration every 4-6 months because their usage is so high.

3) Likelihood of readings changing without recalibration

For equipment which sees regular shifts in readings, more frequent calibration is required. These might include data or process loggers. Conversely, it is not as essential to repeatedly recalibrate instruments which maintain the accuracy of readings for longer.

4) Capacity to calibrate the equipment on-site

Some food businesses are able to calibrate their equipment on-site. For instruments like pH and conductivity meters – which are expected to be calibrated daily – it makes sense to keep the majority of these verifications in-house, with occasional external confirmations.

Radek underlined the importance of an external validation procedure to confirm that units are still working within their specification. Cross-checking confirms in-house calibrations and drives compliance.

In a recent conversation with Ben Foster, an Equipment Engineer at Pharma, Radek was told that they calibrate their pH meters in-house every day. However, for traceability and good practice, Pharma also sends all pH meters to a third-party at least once a year to confirm these readings and ensure the highest safety standards.

While it is impossible to provide an exact calibration timeline for all scenarios, a quick appraisal of your equipment based on those four factors should give you an approximate idea of how often you should calibrate your instruments. If you want a more personalised idea, feel free to contact our Calibration Team: 01473 461800.

How do I return my equipment for calibration?

The below outline is based on our internal calibration process at Klipspringer, overseen by Radek as Laboratory Manager.

Calibrations that fall within the UKAS-specified -30°C to 150°C range are always carried out internally, according to the following procedure:

1) After communicating with the team and raising a quotation, the customer sends their equipment to our laboratory

2) This equipment is booked in; the customer is sent an email confirmation, specifying exactly what the lab team is going to do with the equipment

3) If the equipment is booked in for UKAS calibration, customer will receive an email with confirmation of temperature point the unit will be calibrated at

4) A lab technician is designated to the task – they either begin the calibration immediately, or carry out any necessary technical repair beforehand

5) Equipment sent in for UKAS calibration will need to be stabilised at an ambient temperature of 20°C ±4 for up to 24 hours before performing the calibration

6) Once repaired and/or calibrated, a certificate is issued to the customer and uploaded to the Audit Portal

7) The lab job is passed onto the Service Team, who send an email quotation to the customer to confirm any final details

8) Following customer approval, equipment is returned to the customer, usually on the same day, or at least within three working days

A calibration laboratory

How long should the calibration process take?

Defined as the time elapsed between the start and end of the calibration process, calibration lead time is a crucial metric in the food industry used to calculate how quickly and efficiently your equipment can be calibrated, returned, and operating once more.

By making enquiries among our customers, we ascertained that, on average, most companies in the industry operate with calibration lead times of 4-7 days. Sometimes these turnaround times are as lengthy as 2-3 weeks!

According to Radek, there is no hard-and-fast rule for lead times. But there are two factors that markedly influence lead times: the number of calibration orders at any one time, and the resources available to manage them.

The Klipspringer Lab

It is also true that some companies simply prioritise calibrations more than others. When asked why Klipspringer are able to guarantee that all in-house calibrations are fully completed within three working days, Radek replied:

“We have several skilled lab workers constantly on the calibrations, completing each with meticulous attention. It comes down to efficiency and experience.”

Which equipment types need calibrating?

In short, the stringent compliance regulations of the food service and production industries necessitate regular verification of the majority of equipment used in kitchens, warehouses, and production lines. This is particularly true since the BRCGS announced Issue 9 of the Global Standards in Food Safety, auditable from 1 February 2023.

Below is a comprehensive list of various instrumentation types that Radek stipulated as requiring consistent calibration.

Temperature

  • Data Loggers
  • Process Loggers
  • Liquid ‘In-Glass’ Thermometers
  • In-House Thermometer Verifiers (also known as Temperature Simulators)

Meters

  • pH and Conductivity Meters
  • Reflectometers (measure the reflectivity of objects)
  • Anemometers (measure the speed of wind or gas currents)
  • Refractometers (measure the index of refraction)

Humidity

  • Handheld Units
  • Loggers
  • Dry-Block Calibrators

Other

  • Callipers (measure the dimensions of an object)
  • Scales and Weights
  • Oil Quality Measurement
  • Hygiene Monitors

Radek emphasised that, while this list encompasses most of the instrumentation most frequently calibrated at Klipspringer’s in-house lab, it is not exhaustive – other types of equipment will also need calibration.

If you’re unsure about anything calibration-related, please contact our customer service team at: 01473 461800. A member of our team will consult one of our Calibration Experts about your specific requirements, before giving you all the relevant information.

Alternatively, you can read another research-led article we wrote detailing how to understand your UKAS calibration certificate.


In-House Thermometer Verification Methods Explained

Whenever temperature plays a role in the food safety or quality of a product, checking thermometer calibration is a critical part of the technical department’s routine.

For some it’s daily and for others it’s weekly. Whichever it is, there are three main ways technical and quality teams throughout the world do this:

Ice & Boiling Water

For many years, ice and boiling water was the favorite method, mainly due to the fact it was the only option!

Although it seems simple and inexpensive, it has several downfalls which compromise both its accuracy and safety for use in the modern food factory.

  • Low cost
  • Check multiple probes at once
  • Temperatures are constantly increasing or decreasing, requiring an additional reference thermometer
  • Difficult to obtain consistent, repeatable results
  • Health & safety risk from boiling water
  • Takes significant time to set up, carry out and clear up.

Test Caps

Test caps are a quick and convenient way to check thermometer units, doing away with many of the problems presented by ice and boiling water.

Are they really the straightforward solution that they seem?

  • Safe to use
  • Fast checking process with no set up required
  • Not suitable for thermometers with integral probes
  • Every test cap needs externally calibrating to UKAS standard each year
  • Test caps simulate the electrical current of a probe. 20 years’ worth of data shows that the majority of thermometer accuracy issues are with the probe, so if the thermometer is perfect but the probe is not reading correctly, test caps will not identify this.

The LazaPort Family

Klipspringer launched the first Lazaport into the food industry as a safer, faster and more accurate way to check probe thermometers on site.

20 years on, Klipspringer is launching the third generation model to further improve the efficiency and compliance of on-site temperature calibration.

  • Calibrates probe and thermometer together at 0 and 100°C
  • Rapid process to check multiple probes at once, with minimal set-up required
  • Traceable to UKAS standard and accurate to +/- 0.3°C
  • No separate reference thermometer required
  • Also calibrates infrared thermometers
  • Adjustable for different probe dimensions and types

Interested to find out more about how the LazaPort works, and what benefits it could bring to your team?


TRAKKD: Boosting Compliance, Traceability, and Sustainability Across the Hospitality Industry

Providing global visibility to local data on a digital, paperless system that reduces waste, saves time, and minimises system costs

In the current hospitality landscape, pioneering companies are looking to reassess their methods, practices, and procedures, setting a new course of action for the post-pandemic era of hospitality.

High-quality digital mangement is crucial to their key objective of pivoting towards a future that is digital, transparent, traceable, and adaptable. Newer, more innovative systems are finally replacing the endless mounds of compliance paperwork.

What are Digital Quality Management Systems?

Digital quality management systems are software solutions that help organisations manage and improve their quality management processes. This software connects and harmonises data between its digitised host and key processes in food prodution and service.

TRAKKD is a digital quality management system. As an entirely digital host of cloud-accessed data, it ensures that hospitality teams are never lacking the most important information. TRAKKD simplifies data analysis and strengthens food compliance, seen in its successful implementation by well-established brands such as McDonalds, KraftHeinz, and Albron, among others.

How does TRAKKD work, and how much can it save?

Put simply, TRAKKD has two core parts: the digital checklist, and the real-time wireless monitoring.

Moving away from manual paperwork towards a digital checklist system modernises information storage processes. As an entirely paperless app, it limits the amount of paper discarded in landfill sites, while making detailed calculations for regular food waste savings – integral to sustainability pledges. TRAKKD keeps all food safety data in one secure location, rather than in overwhelming piles of time-consuming paperwork.

See a specific cost savings breakdown below based on TRAKKD’s implementation at Albron, a leading food service and catering company with over 700 venues throughout Europe.

KPI

Cost of Current Method

Cost of Digital Method (TRAKKD)

Price per manual per year per location (paper, printing, sending, etc)

     -Complete manual /registration provided as a book

     -Per location £307 (per year)

£307

£105

Labour hours (filling in checklists) per location

     -Average 1.25 hours per week using current method

     -Average 1 hour per week using digital method

     -Fewer temperatures have to be taken using real-time temperature monitoring, saving 0.5 hours per week on average

     -Hourly pay rate: £12.50

£713

£570

Checklist management per year (maintenance, archiving, approval etc of checklists)

     -Quality support at HQ and regional managers involved in the process

     -Estimated savings of 2 FTE

£87,650

£0

Reduction of inspections (from two per year to one or ideally zero)

     -Inspections cost £132 per visit

£264

£132 or £0

Reduction of travel to separate locations (fuel, car maintenance, CO2 reduction, time saved)

     -Due to TRAKKD’s HQ/regional dashboarding and reporting, teams travel less frequently to single locations, management spends less time creating reports etc)

Hard to quantify, but one of the most significant costs in this table

As seen above, TRAKKD offers savings totalling more than £88,000 per year. And that’s not including waste savings due to equipment failure, especially of fridges and freezers.

This is because TRAKKD’s features allow users to make informed decisions about performance based on accurate data analysis, filtered by any parameter including user, site, region, country, etcetera – invaluable information for eliminating food safety hazards.

In the past, such information was only available on paper at the location itself, whereas TRAKKD’s global cloud access makes its data reachable wherever, 24/7. This traceability also pinpoints the root cause of any mishap, preventing any costly re-occurrences in future.

As put by Ruud Homan, Operations Manager at Albron: “TRAKKD gives us the opportunity to adjust immediately. In addition, it offers the possibility to make trend analyses at various levels. This gives us fast and actionable insights into which areas are performing better and which need improvement. We can then quickly adjust, operationally, according to these findings.”

Can TRAKKD connect with other equipment?

The second part of TRAKKD is real-time wireless monitoring with Bluetooth connectivity.

Using sensors compatible with its state-of-the-art software, TRAKKD combines the routine reporting and digital management system outlined above with wireless monitoring across a variety of parameters.

Of these parameters, the all-in-one temperature monitoring system has been highly praised by TRAKKD’s early adopter companies, above all its automatic synchronisation of information, which eliminates costly human error. As the first provider to offer this fully integrated hardware, we are immensely proud of the positive impact TRAKKD has had in better preparing food businesses for upcoming audits, while also saving vast amounts of money.

What are the main benefits of TRAKKD?

There are three overarching benefits to the implementation of a digital quality management system like TRAKKD.

1) Reduced Waste

Having to discard stock due to faults or coldspots in food storage areas is a massive drain on funds. TRAKKD prevents this, identifying potential breaches of compliance before they occur.

There is also a sustainability benefit to this. On average, 1/3 of our individual carbon footprint is made up of what we eat and drink. A primary consideration for many food businesses is how to cut this footprint. Choosing producers and suppliers who calculate the CO2 impact per product is one method. Operating with a system that – through rigorous, accurate tracking – significantly reduces food waste is another method.

2) Time Saved

By managing all data, checklists, and warnings in one place, on one app, TRAKKD significantly cuts the amount of time employees waste on manual paperwork checks and temperature monitoring checks. This ensures employees have sufficient time to focus on what they’re there to do – preparing and serving food!

Unlike other systems, TRAKKD is designed to be user-friendly to the extent that, once employees receive our training in how to professionally operate the system, this can be done independently, without any devious add-ons in price.

3) Minimised System Costs

Costs are lower than other digital management systems thanks to TRAKKD’s pay-per-kitchen model – a pricing structure which actually suits hospitality businesses, rather than the conventional pay-per-user system. In turn, this allows food businesses to offer greater affordability in prices for their loyal customer base, without compromising on compliance or quality.

Designed for kitchen teams, clients, contract teams, compliance managers, front-of-house teams (or really just any food team member, anywhere), TRAKKD offers an innovative digitised solution to post-pandemic food safety in the hospitality sector.

If you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our team of experts to arrange an initial consultation: 01473 461 800. We also offer a completely free of charge 30-day trial for those wanting to test out TRAKKD first.

If you want to learn more about our most popular digital quality management system, click below to download our TRAKKD information sheet.


Preventing Foreign Body Contamination - Why Detection Should Be the Last Resort

Even the most stringent of detectability-oriented food safety systems are not fail-safe. The below image – taken in Melbourne, Australia, by a customer of a prominent global food retailer – shows exactly why prevention is a more effective approach.  

Upon discovering a sharp metal spring in her meal, the mother-of-two said she “felt something was right in my tooth”. After spitting out her food, she noticed the large spring, and, in her own words, “instantly felt sick”.  

Worst of all, this customer was with her two children, both under the age of three. Afterwards, she told 7News Australia that: “I just keep thinking about what could’ve happened if it was either of my young children and how scary it could’ve turned out.”  

Public exposure of this sort will taint any company’s reputation. Following this incident, a three-pronged investigation between the restaurant, customer, and council had to be undertaken. But it was entirely preventable.  

A Common Non-Conformance

Due to the unavoidable need for pens and other utensils in and around production lines, poor foreign body contamination control is one of the most commonly identified BRCGS non-conformities. More importantly, it is also a violation of compliance – not to mention customer trust. In this era of instantaneous, 24/7 news and social media reviews, years of impeccable food safety standards can be ruined by one tiny lapse.

But there is a guaranteed way to ensure that the pens used by your team pose no risk of foreign body contamination.

Prevention before detection.

Read on to find out more.

The Solution

Pen coil springs are virtually undetectable, not only by the human eye, but also by automated machines. Leading companies are now opting to use metal detectors or x-rays to identify pen fragments in food items where necessary, in addition to implementing measures to prevent such hazards before they arise.

How?

These organisations – which include Heinz, Bakkavor, Cargill, PepsiCo, Two Sisters, Moy Park, and XPO Logistics – are mandating the use of writing utensils which physically cannot fragment. In other words, they have made it company policy that their pens…

1) …are made of the strongest, most durable materials

2) …are completely shatterproof

3) …do not contain coil springs

Tried and tested across the complete food sector, Retreeva Global have designed an innovative range of near-unbreakable pens. It is a known fact that higher metal content makes factory pens more brittle, increasing the risk of the pen shattering under pressure, and, subsequently, product contamination.

As part of the Klipspringer Group, Retreeva’s choice of materials means that, unlike other options, these pens cannot shatter into unnoticeable, far-flung fragments.

By eliminating the risk of foreign body contamination on assembly lines, consistent product integrity is ensured. And yes, these pens are still produced to a very high standard of detectability. But, by choosing a robust, shatterproof, and spring-free pen which first prevents foreign body contamination, detection becomes a last resort.

In the unlikely occurrence of a mishap, this ensures that stray pens still have a very high chance of being rejected in finished product.

What Does BRCGS Food Safety Issue 9 Say?

It also offers compliance with the BRCGS’s increasingly strict food safety requirements, which state that:

“Portable handheld equipment, e.g. stationery items (pens, pencils etc.), mobile phones, tablets and similar portable items used in open product areas shall be controlled to minimise risk of physical contamination. The site may consider, for example:

  • excluding non-approved items
  • restricting the use to site-issued equipment
  • ensuring stationery items such as pens are designed without small external parts and are detectable by foreign body detection equipment, or are used in designated areas where contamination is prevented"

(BRCGS9 Ref. 4.9.6.2.)

If you’d like to learn more about the specific features of Retreeva’s much-acclaimed detectable pen range, read this comprehensive summary.

Alternatively, you can watch the below video explaining which type of detectable pen best suits your applications.


Culture in Hygiene: Webinar 2, Maximising the Hygiene Window

Maximising the Hygiene Window

All food businesses recognise the vital importance of the Hygiene Window to ensure cleanliness and drive compliance. But little guidance is ever offered on how to actually put this into action.

Based on the second webinar in the three-part ‘Culture in Hygiene’ series, this article addresses this issue. Following on from the previous webinar, in which three industry experts discussed hygiene team engagement and retention, this information-packed panel provides tangible advice on how to maximise the Hygiene Window.

This webinar is hosted by Alex Carlyon, a Director at Klipspringer with over 18 years of industry experience. Alex is joined by Nick Turner, a Director at FoodClean, and Andy Fletcher, a Technical Consultant with over 30 years’ experience in the food industry.

If you’re interested in a specific part of this webinar, browse the below menu to skip ahead to the section most relevant to your food safety needs:

1) Cleaning Efficiency

2) Labour Efficiency

3) Zone Segregation

Click below if you’d prefer to watch the full webinar and download the corresponding slides.

1) Cleaning Efficiency

In this section of the webinar, Nick and Andy delve into some of the biggest barriers to cleaning efficiency during the Hygiene Window. These vary from missing equipment to a lack of segregation. Nick and Andy then outline several solutions around cleaning equipment, storing tools, and protecting machinery, all of which saves costs, time, and non-conformances.

2) Labour Efficiency

Calculated in cost per minute, downtime is an expensive part of the Hygiene Window which teams must be made aware of. Nick and Andy strongly encourage bringing the hygiene team in on the journey to foster greater understanding and communication – as well as the value of ready-to-use equipment to reduce operator frustration and improve labour efficiency.

3) Zone Segregation

Thirdly, Alex draws on his extensive experience to discuss the role of zone segregation. His advice on mitigating the risks of in-process cleaning includes effective production scheduling, low pressure cleaning equipment, and mobile screening – which he provides visual examples of from a recent visit to an A.G. Barr Factory.

Watch below for more.

For more in-depth webinar content on this topics, take a look at the third episode in our ‘Culture in Hygiene’ series.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with one of our Hygiene Experts below, or by contacting us at: 01473 461 800.


    Klipspringer Launch Brand-New Range of Production Knives

    Knives are an integral part of any food production workplace. Used in a wide range of contexts – from preparing fruit and vegetables to filleting, jointing, and deboning meat and fish – production knives must be grippy, rigid, and, above all, long-lastingly sharp. However, with knife-related injuries sending more than 1 million workers to hospital every year, ensuring that cutting utensils are safe and of the highest quality is extremely important. Enter Klipspringer’s latest launch: a brand-new range of production knives, designed to cater for all applications in food manufacturing environments.

    This exciting new range is divided into three main categories:

    1) Ergo Series Knives

    Manufactured from high-quality stainless steel, either Molibdenum or Vanadium, the Ergo Series blades are corrosion-resistant, and offer their user exceptional cutting power. These knives are structurally robust, with their hard inner plastic component and long-lasting edge making them able to withstand intensive use.

    What’s more, the Ergo Series utilises a Bi-injection handle manufacturing method. This differentiated colour handle system allows each knives to be categorised by its specific purpose, eliminating any possibility of cross-contamination between foods, while offering a grippy, cushioned handle design for maximum comfort and ease of use.

    Current models available in the Ergo Series include Breaking Knives, Butchers Knives, Boning Knives, Cimeter Knives, Stick Knives, Fillet Knives and Bead/Pastry Knives.

    2) Performance Series Knives

    Next, there’s the Performance Series – a range of long-lasting blades ideal for butchery, fish filleting, vegetable prep, and a vast array of other applications. These knives are manufactured from SANDVIK12C27 Steel, and have an ergonomic design carefully tailored to give comfort and control for extended use. This is supplemented by a comfortable handle, the material of which provides extra grip, even when wet.

    But what truly sets the Performance Series apart from other industry knives as a true ally of professionals in the food processing industry? Antimicrobiality – contained in the handle material are cutting-edge antibacterial properties that prevent the growth and propagation of bacteria and microorganisms.

    Current models available in the Performance Series include Butcher Knives, Boning Knives, Skinning Knives, Cimeter Knives and breaking knives.

    3) Essential Series Knives & Accessories

    Designed for more general, multi-purpose contexts, the Essential Series knives are similarly strong, sharp, and have excellent corrosion resistance to prevent rusting. The soft rubber material on the handle’s surface allows for a smooth, tight grip, and, again, a colour-coded handle system prevents cross-contamination.

    The Essential Series is also unique in offering first-rate knife accessories. In particular, it showcases a Knife Sharpening Steel (pictured below) made from carbon steel, with a protective layer of hard chrome plating, and a Polyethene handle – a hygienic surface material recommended for the food industry.

    Current models available in the Essential Series include Paring Knives, Serrated Knives and Knife Sharpening Steel.


    For more information about these latest additions to the Klipspringer range, feel free to contact our team: 01473 461 800.


    View the Klipspringer range of knives here

    Culture in Hygiene: Webinar 1

    Hygiene Team Engagement and Retention

    Culture in food safety is one of the most crucial aspects to guaranteeing unwavering compliance. In fact, a lacklustre food safety culture plan was identified as one of the eight most common non-conformities by the BRCGS in their recently updated issue of the Global Standards of Food Safety.

    For that reason, our team at Klipspringer decided it was time to address Culture in Hygiene across a three-part webinar series.

    Hosted by Alex Carlyon, a Director at Klipspringer with over 18 years of industry experience, the first part of this series focuses on how to engage with and retain an efficient, high-functioning hygiene team. Today, Alex is joined by Phil May, Technical Support & Hygiene Manager at leading manufacturers Greencore, and Lars Turner, Food Industry Specialist at cleaning solution providers FoodClean.

    Interested in a specific part of this webinar?

    Browse the below menu to skip ahead to the section most relevant to your food safety needs:

    1) Protecting Your Team

    2) Equipment Choice

    3) Induction and Training

    4) Sustaining Good Practice

    5) Ongoing Process Refinement

    Click below if you’d prefer to watch the full webinar.

    1) Protecting Your Team

    Amid staff shortages and a smaller pool of skilled workers, ensuring that team members are safe at work is an absolute MINIMUM requirement for maintaining an effective and loyal team.

    In this section of the webinar, Lars and Phil provide several tangible examples to demonstrate the value of an operator-first approach. They discuss how labour retention is always higher among a well-protected and engaged team – and the positive economic and environmental impact this can have for food businesses.

    2) Equipment Choice

    Each year, hundreds of thousands of workers suffer from equipment-inflicted injuries. Equipment construction and maintenance was the third most common category of non-conformance identified by the BRCGS in their abovementioned Issue 9

    As explained by Phil and Lars, reduction in injury is just one facet to improving culture in hygiene. Watch below as they dissect the higher motivation and increased lifespan of equipment resulting from an ‘operator-owned’ model of workplace production.

    3) Induction and Training

    Thirdly, Alex and Phil delve into the importance of the initial onboarding process in developing an outstanding hygiene culture.

    Alex addresses the issue of high staff turnover – a common problem with many workers currently coming through recruitment agencies. Recognising that training is an ongoing process and making Critical Control Points (CCPs) highly visual is also suggested.

    4) Sustaining Good Practice

    Creating and implementing these processes is all well and good, but their long-term impact will be limited if they are not sustained. Drawing on several visual examples, Alex illustrates how to prolong and consolidate hygiene processes through adaptability.

    5) Ongoing Process Refinement

    Lastly, Lars and Phil return to offer valuable insights about ongoing process refinement.

    Contrary to popular belief, they recommend a culture which encourages workers to challenge the status quo, as the most powerful improvements often come from unexpected sources. Root Cause Analysis, cross-functional teams, and the 5-Whys are also mentioned.

    For more in-depth webinar content on this topics, take a look at the second episode in our ‘Culture in Hygiene’ series.

    Alternatively, you can get in touch with one of our Hygiene Experts below, or contact us at: 01473 461 800.


    Nine Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wireless Monitoring System

    Across the food and beverage industry, the benefits of wireless temperature monitoring are well-known. Innovative monitoring systems are proven to provide highly accurate, real-time temperature data, support food safety compliance, and cut costs of loading refrigerated food transportation. BRCGS standards also require the implementation and control of process monitoring to ensure that products are manufactured according to industry specifications.   

    These benefits have been applied across a wide range of industries, including:  

    • Food and beverage production 
    • Pharmaceutical and medical 
    • Hospitals and care 
    • Food service and hospitality 
    • Storage and logistics 
    • Laboratories and pharmacies  
    • Industry and manufacturing 
    • Food retail 

    However, there is much uncertainty around the best form of wireless monitoring system. At Klipspringer, our partner and customers frequently ask us for advice on which system to choose. Instead of simplistically recommending one of our systems, regardless of their specific temperature monitoring applications, we decided that providing all of the relevant information best enables them to make the right choice.  

    That’s why we wrote this article. Drawing on our two decades’ experience as industry leaders in modernised data logging, it is based on clips from a webinar we recently hosted in collaboration with Quorn Foods.

    The topic is nine key factors to consider before choosing a wireless monitoring system. Navigate the below menu to skip straight to the section most relevant to your needs…

    You can also watch the full webinar below:

    1) Parameters

    It’s difficult to order each factor by importance, but the parameter – or parameters – measured by the system you opt for is one of the most fundamental aspects.  

    As you begin your hunt for the perfect wireless monitoring system, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is: what exactly do I want to monitor?  

    If your answer is temperature only, most basic monitoring systems will cover your needs, even simple Wi-Fi loggers found on sites like Amazon. However, if your answer is more complex than just temperature, other options may be more suitable.  

    Do you, for example, want to measure both temperature and humidity (rH)? What about energy, concentration (ppm), or even door contact? As the number of measurables increases, so does the complexity of system required.  

    Here is a list of the most common measurable parameters: 

    • Temperature  
    • Humidity  
    • CO2 
    • Energy 
    • Pressure 
    • Concentration 
    • Door contact 
    • Data from advanced plant/engineering sensors 

    While there are countless systems that are custom-built for specific measurables, with advanced, high-end systems it is possible to measure and set up alarms for virtually any parameter.  

    2) Hardware

    Having established your required parameters, the next three factors all relate to the component setup of your system. Component setup is an essential early step in the monitoring system decision-making process, but it often gets overlooked.  

    Hardware is the first of these factors.  

    The biggest delineation in deciding your hardware is whether you require a physical base station, complete with display and sounds, or a non-physical system which operates entirely digitally.  

    Careful consideration of the working conditions your hardware will have to withstand will also be essential. For example, will your system’s sensors need to be waterproof? Does your system need to be equipped with heat-resistant casing? Or require particularly long-lasting battery life, as it needs to be placed in an inaccessible area?  

    Finally, appraising your probe options is another essential step. Will you need to measure air temperature or product temperature? If so, choose a probe that corresponds with those applications.  

    3) Data Storage Access

    Storage access is one of the most crucial, yet most misunderstood, factors to consider when choosing a wireless monitoring system. It is frequently conflated with sensor connection type – addressed below – but data storage access is its own independent category.  

    This category can be split into two options: network-based storage, and cloud-based storage. Many see network-based storage as more secure because it doesn’t rely on external servers. There are also no ongoing cloud licensing fees.  

    On the other hand, cloud-based storage offers access to data from any location, at any time. This makes it the ideal solution for those looking to implement wireless monitoring systems at multiple site locations, while accessing the data from one central location.  

    4) Sensor Connection Type

    Equally crucial is the type of sensor connector. The majority of wireless monitoring systems use one of three main types: 

    a) Wi-Fi 

    Wi-Fi-based sensor connectors are excellent, if your site has strong coverage throughout. However, in large chillers or freezers it is difficult and expensive to guarantee such Wi-Fi coverage. Because a password is required to gain access, it can result in a loss of sensor connection if this password is changed by IT. Higher battery consumption is also an issue with Wi-Fi-based systems.  

    b) Bluetooth 

    Bluetooth options require a reading device to be nearby at all times. This often constitutes a mobile phone with a downloaded data tracking app – a simple but reliable system, although battery life does drain significantly.  

    c) Radio Frequency 

    Radio frequency, or RF, is the strongest form of wireless data transfer. In most scenarios, radio systems use a frequency of 433mHz, which is used for longer-distance transmissions across large open spaces, or 868mHz, which is better suited for shorter distances with more obstructions, such as walls. When asked by customers, we are likeliest to recommend radio-based systems because of their stronger signal, lower battery consumption, and more reliable overall connectivity.  

    5) Installation

    As with any installation, the most pressing consideration is whether or not your site/s require professional support, or if you want to install the system yourself.  

    At Klipspringer, we pride ourselves on offering one of the fastest delivery turnaround times in the industry – the entire monitoring system is typically delivered within 2-3 days. For those requiring professional installation services, leading companies will send expert technicians on site. This process usually lasts between 3-4 weeks.  

    6) Alarm Type

    When looking out for the best monitoring solutions, here’s a tip: look out for the systems that issue alarms by the widest range of mediums.  

    Why? In the event of an alarm, speedy and decisive action is immediately required. This cannot happen if you are not instantly notified about the situation – hence the urgent need for alarms to be sent by phone call, SMS, email, and a variety of other methods, rather than riskily depending on just one.  

    7) Calibration

    There are three questions regarding calibration you should ask yourself before purchasing any wireless monitoring system.  

    Firstly, do you require UKAS calibration for audit requirements? If so, only UKAS accredited organisations are able to supply this service, which narrows your options to those upper-tier companies.  

    Secondly, will your system require periodic onsite recalibration? If so, take note of the costs involved in this process, how frequently your system will require recalibration, and whether your potential monitoring system supplier offers this service.  

    Thirdly, what is the location of the sensors? For example, if the sensors have to be mounted on the ceiling, this makes it altogether more difficult to access them for recalibration and servicing.  

    8) Cost

    Consult the below table for an outline of the potential costs of wireless monitoring systems, based on two generalised scenarios: 

    Factors

    Scenario 1

    Scenario 2

    Size of facility

    Small

    Large

    No. of monitoring points

    <5

    >25

    Parameters

    Temperature only (-20 to 25°C)

    Multiple parameters; mainly high temperature, some humidity (rH)

    Accessibility to sensor position

    Easy access

    Easy access

    Onsite installation and annual service/calibration

    Not required

    Professional installation and ongoing technical support

    UKAS calibration

    Not required

    Yes

    Alarming

    Basic

    Advanced

    Pricing guide

    £500

    £8,000-£10,000

    As seen above, differences in these factors can cause massive range in the price of a system. Read on to learn about the final factor to consider when choosing a wireless monitoring systems 

    9) Ongoing Support

    Last but far from least is ongoing support. In their haste to acquire the first system that crosses their path, people often overlook the vital importance of continual expert advice, long after any purchase of a wireless monitoring system has been made.  

    While sites like Amazon offer a wide range of logging systems, there is no on-site support available regarding calibration, software updates, or troubleshooting.  

    The current market is flooded with wireless monitoring systems. While many of these are perfectly acceptable, most are designed to cover multiple industries. At Klipspringer, we’ve spent years refining wireless monitoring systems to meet site requirements that are specifically focused on the food industry.  

    Listen below as Kenny Edwards, Quality Manager at Quorn Foods, outlines how wireless site monitoring provided tremendous value for him and his team.  

    Our knowledgeable, friendly team offer unequalled customer support, and our systems – such as the much-acclaimed WatchmanOne – excel at real-time monitoring across a range of parameters.  

    For any wireless monitoring system-related enquiries, feel free to contact our support team at: 01473 461 800. 


    Klipspringer Announce Attendance at Commercial Kitchen Show 2022

    What is the Commercial Kitchen Show?

    We are delighted to announce that Klipspringer will be returning to this year’s Commercial Kitchen Show. As the go-to industry event for decision-makers involved in equipping and running efficient commercial kitchens, CKS is an unmissable opportunity for suppliers and buyers alike.

    CKS22 has the makings of the best show yet, with a star-studded line-up of suppliers, hundreds of innovative new products, dozens of informative seminars, and thousands of commercial kitchen decision-makers seeking an edge over their competition.


    When and where is CKS22, and how much does it cost?

    Date:
    Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th September
    Time:
    10:00am–5:00pm (last entry at 4:00pm)
    Location:
    ExCel London (One Western Gateway Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1FR)
    Price:
    The event is free to visitors who register in advance, or £20 entry for those who haven’t pre-registered.


    Looking Back at CKS21

    Since 2019, we’ve been an ever-present feature at the CKS, solving customer questions with detailed industry expertise, exhibiting new, ground-breaking products, and even winning a prestigious award for originality at last year’s show.

    The accolade in question – Commercial Kitchen’s Innovation Challenge Gold Winner – was awarded to our LazaPort Mono thermometer calibrator, with judges labelling it as “a solution to an age-old issue”. Our team of enthusiastic experts are eager to share more details on the Mono with commercial kitchen decision-makers at this year’s show, following its successful implementation at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium by Compass Group.


    Looking Forward to CKS22

    This year, we want to surpass our previous CKS appearances, building on our status as the leading provider of food safety compliance. We’re anticipating that most queries will relate to our specialisms, which include:

    • removing the guesswork from food oil management
    • providing UKAS-accredited temperature calibration services
    • eliminating foreign body risk with durable, metal-detectable equipment
    • increasing the efficiency and accuracy of thermometer checks
    • offering a market-leading range of colour-coded food grade products
    • developing innovative digital quality management systems
    • maximising workplace organisation with visual aids
    • minimising risks, costs, and audit non-conformances
    • sourcing eco-friendly cleaning utensils from ocean plastic

    Of these, we are particularly excited to announce EVERSEA® – a brand-new range of sustainable cleaning utensils. Sourced from plastic waste in the Mediterranean, EVERSEA® is a circular economy project which alleviates the astronomical amount (14 million tonnes!) of plastic dumped into our oceans each year.

    Projects of this sort are gathering momentum and support across the food and hospitality industry, to the extent that the CKS Team published this press release solely dedicated to the EVERSEA® launch.

    Ahead of CKS22 this September, you can also read about how our much-acclaimed Food Oil Monitor used by the likes of McDonalds and Whitbread helps to cut oil usage by up to 52%.

    Interested in attending Commercial Kitchen Show 2022?
    Click here to learn more.


    Already got your free ticket?
    Visit Stand CK436 to chat with our friendly, knowledgeable team about your kitchen requirements.


    Temperature Mapping Explained

    What is temperature mapping?

    Put simply, temperature mapping is the process of installing data-logging sensors throughout a room or unit – from fridge-freezers to entire warehouses – to monitor and analyse temperature data. By strategically placing these sensors in pre-determined locations, often in a grid format, temperature mapping allows you to identify hot and cold spots.

    In doing so, you are able to better manage your storage products, which can become unusable or even dangerous if kept in improper conditions. An example is the impact of air handling units (a common feature of most storage spaces) on a unit’s air flow, which can result in unmapped temperature fluctuations, and an overheating of stored medicines or food items.

    Why is it important?

    Temperature mapping is particularly crucial in units which store TTSPPs, or time and temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products. However, this also extends to most manufactured goods, as stipulated by the MHRA Inspectorate – the main driver of regulations in the food and pharmaceutical industries. At a minimum, compliance companies must comply with GDP (Good Distribution Practice) guidelines for production, transportation, and storage conditions.

    Guidelines and regulations aside, temperature mapping should be a high priority for manufacturers who want to avoid wasting inventory. It is a process carried out cyclically by some of the biggest names in food and manufacturing, from the Culina Group, to Nestle, to the Müller Group. While most companies abide by GDP guidelines, regular temperature mapping is a service that can distinguish your compliance and safety standards from the rest of the crowd.

    When is it needed?

    Specifically, there are five main situations which require temperature mapping:

    1. New Equipment – A standard qualification process must occur when a new piece of critical equipment is installed. As part of the fully documented verification process, The World Health Organisation requires all new temperature storage areas to be mapped before the installation is commissioned and handed over by the installer.

    2. Repaired Equipment – After a unit is mended and restored to full working capacity, it is common to remap and test it to ensure that it operates as expected.

    3. Relocated Equipment – When a unit is moved, its performance can be significantly impacted. Requalifying and remapping is therefore a logical preventative measure.

    4. Periodic Testing – For autoclaves and other sterilisation instruments, continuous remapping once every year or so is a fairly common approach, while this can extend to several years for storage areas, such as walk-ins or warehouses. As you’d expect, the more frequent this periodic testing takes place, the lower the chance of malfunctioning equipment.<

    5. External Environmental Conditions – Storage areas are often impacted by the building’s outside temperature. In the extremes of seasons like summer and winter, it is advisable to test these areas on a consistent basis.

    How is it carried out?

    Initially, the duration of the temperature mapping should be determined by the type of equipment. Your site may already have a Validation Plan or standardised procedure in place with mapping durations detailed. The table below offers some typical examples:

    EquipmentTypical Mapping Duration
    Fridge, Freezer, Incubator24 to 72 Hours
    Cold Store24 Hours to 7 Days
    Warehouse7 Days

    Once the duration is decided, the next stage is to select the type of test. For temperature controlled units such as fridges, freezers, and incubators, the testing method should be identified during risk assessment. Examples of common tests performed include:

    • Temperature Distribution Test (Empty)
    • Temperature Distribution Test (Loaded)
    • Door Open Test
    • Power Off Test

    Additional tests that may be performed if required for the product or process: Temperature Distribution Test (Partially Loaded) Temperature Penetration Test (Loaded) Pull Down Test For some storage environments, such as warehouses, it may not be possible to perform some of the testing. An example of this is an empty distribution map, either power off or door open. There may also be additional testing requirements unique to that environment, which could include:

    • Compressor Switch-Over Tests
    • Compressor Failure Tests

    Getting started

    Aside from these initial considerations, temperature mapping is a thorough process that has to be carried out correctly. Other factors such as the number of sensors, the placement of sensors, and the choice of data logging equipment must all be considered.

    That’s why most industry professionals recommend delegating this responsibility to a UKAS-certified organisation with verifiable experience. They can provide an all-encompassing report on your storage area’s hot and cold spots, and recommendations regarding the fitting of air handling, conditioning, or cooling.

    This report should include:

    • Schematic floor plan of the area being mapped
    • Minimum, maximum and average temperature for each sensor
    • Data presented in both tabular and graphical format
    • Mean Kinetic Temperature (MKT), if required
    • Excursion analysis
    • UKAS calibration certificate for each sensor used within the mapping study
    • Raw data at 1 minute intervals provided as CSV files

    How much does temperature mapping cost?

    There are several factors that influence the price of a temperature mapping project, which is why a bespoke quote is needed for each project.

    Some of the main factors include:

    1. Self managed mapping or on-site support – Using Klipspringer’s plug-and-play option, self-managed mapping comes at a lower fixed cost and is dependent on the number of mapping points, as this governs the amount of sensors you will need to use. If you don’t want the hassle of self-managed mapping and would prefer an on-site service, the below factors will also influence the price.
    2. Number of mapping points – The higher the number of mapping points, the longer it takes to set up, report on and pack up, so the price increases as the number of mapping points increases.
    3. Accessibility –  The layout of the mapping points can determine how long it will take to map out your designated area. For example, mapping points spread across multiple buildings and in hard-to-reach locations will increase the amount of time (and possibly equipment) needed to complete the mapping.
    4. Duration of mapping period – Similar to the number of mapping points, a longer mapping period will normally increase the mapping cost.  At Klipspringer, we include this in the quotation once we have understood your mapping requirements.

    To give you an approximate costings guide, we’ve chosen two typical examples below:

    At Klipspringer, our technical team has been awarded UKAS Accreditation, a testimony to our impeccable customer service and meticulous attention to detail. We offer both a rental service for applications where self-managed mapping is preferred (the ‘Plug & Play’ option), or a comprehensive temperature mapping service carried out by our team of experts at your site (the ‘Platinum’ option).

    FactorsScenario 1Scenario 2
    Size of warehouseSmallLarge
    Number of mapping points50100
    Type of monitoringTemperature onlyTemperature only
    Accessibility statusEasy accessEasy access
    On-site serviceIncludedIncluded
    Pricing Guide£2,000 – £3,000£4,000 – £6,000

    To discuss temperature mapping or your audit requirements with a professional, contact our team today.