Tempurity™ System Frequently Asked Questions

What types of organizations use internet-based real-time quality data collection and monitoring?
Networked Robotics' customers include major biotech and research organizations, major hospitals and their research centers, laboratories, stem cell and cancer biorepositories, major food processing companies, restaurants, and warehouses.

Why choose the network-based Tempurity System?
Cost reduction,  labor savings, maintenance of inventory, enhancement of safety, assurance of the integrity of time-consuming experiments or cell-based manufacturing runs, enhanced quality, the assurance of compliance with FDA, USDA, and other governmental standards.

What kinds of environmental quality information are collected and monitored?
The answer to this question keeps changing as new connection types are supported by Networked Robotics: temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide concentration, oxygen concentration, voltage, liquid nitorgen level, standard line voltage, contact alarm state, liquid nitrogen level, pressure, doors, position, rotation, light and others. Different methods of data collection are used for different kinds of "monitored devices".

A single NTMS4 network device can collect real-time data from up to four very diverse sources. Each data acquisition port on our hardware can either collect directly from the data communication port of high-end freezers, refrigerators, or incubators or to Networked Robotics' proprietary digital sensors. Firmware can be upgraded through the network to support new data collection mechanisms as they become available.

What makes Tempurity cost effective over other monitoring systems?
We believe that we have lowered the overall total costs of ownership such that it is now appropriate to extend the quality benefits of an automated data collection and monitoring system to all of your company's freezers, refrigerators,  incubators, and cryofreezers.

We have lowered the costs by:
 1) Self-installable units that can be connected through your current network in 3 different ways.
 2) Enabling centralized widely accessible, monitoring across not only labs but across buildings, sites, and nations.
 3) Providing common regulatory review for important data sources.

There are usually no repeat charges with Tempurity.  The system is a capital investment without additional service charges.  Many of our original units shipped in 2005 are still in operation so costs get amortized over the life of the product.

Can we install a connection ourselves?
Yes. Connections to Tempurity require some network experience. The process is similar to that of connecting a networked printer. The appropriate network address (IP address or DNS hostname) must be configured. The Networked Robotics network hardware should be set for the type of instrument or sensor from which to collect data. The Tempurity Quick Connect Guide document summarizes the connection process.

Are you on Facebook?
Yes. Check out the Networked Robotics Facebook page for storage quality and regulatory links for biologics,  and for frequent support and product updates.

What does the "NTMS" in the name of your network hardware unit stand for?
(N)etwork (T)elemetry (M)onitoring (S)ystem

How is Tempurity installed?
Our network hardware must be connected to your network - and to your monitored device. There are 3 general ways to install, all utilizing standard network technology.

 1) Placing the NTMS on the network in the room to be monitored and then attaching the freezer to the NTMS.
 2) Placing the NTMS in a network closet and attaching the freezer directly to the wall plate.
 3) Connecting the NTMS to a wireless bridge and connecting the monitored device to the NTMS.


Why should I choose Tempurity over competing systems that are based on wireless sensors?
Networked Robotics believes that wired connections are more reliable and more secure, however you have the option to implement Tempurity wirelessly in rooms without wired network infrastructure if needed.

As an example, look at data collection from incubators. You must watch temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide concentration, and oxygen concentration. All wireless systems will need sensors that duplicate each one of these parameters. These "duplicate" sensors have to be put inside your incubator through the door or other access port. With Tempurity there's just one single connection to the back of the unit and each NTMS can measure from 4 incubator instruments.  Measurement of these 16 parameters would have to be done with 16 wireless sensors. 

Consider also that any standard power outlet can now be an ethernet port with commonly available and inexpensive ethernet-over-power units.


What is the difference between the Tempurity Server and the Tempurity Monitor?
Tempurity is unique among monitoring systems in that the collection, and the review of data are split into two network components, the Tempurity Server and the Tempurity Monitor. Any Windows® computer can run either or both components. The Tempurity Server acts as the network collector. It reaches out, collects and stores temperatures as specified in the Tempurity Server Configuration Utility. The Tempurity Monitor is constantly watching the Tempurity Server over the network to find out if the server has detected any serious out-of-range conditions, called alarms. Because of the division of labor between Server and Monitor, alarm notifications can be defined by anyone, anywhere. This gives an incredible flexibility to the monitoring function. Click here for more about the the Tempurity System data collection architecture.

What are the advantages of digital sensors?
in general the Tempurity System uses digital components. Temperature is measured with integrated circuits rather than with resistive techniques like thermocouples or thermistors. Resistive techniques need correction factors to account for nonlinearities or temperature effects. Click here for more about the Networked Robotics TPL3 Digital Temperature Probe.  Digital sensors can contain embedded information such as calibration data or unique IDs.

Tell me about your electronically embedded (silicon) unique IDs? All Networked Robotics' digital sensing products contain electronically embedded (silicon) unique IDs that can be read by computers. Direct connection interfaces to scientific instruments do not yet contain such IDs. 

How accurate is the system?
We collect data from diverse instruments and sensors and report the values as they are defined by those instruments. So the answer to this question is variable. It depends on which interface or sensor you are using. If the direct connection method of data collection is used then the system uses the instrument's internal probe and communicates this value to Tempurity. In these cases you must reference the instrument manufacturer's specifications for the accuracy of these devices.

Networked Robotics' advanced TPL3 digital temperature probes report to .1 degree C. There is a distribution of accuracies, but a common standard error is one half degree at zero C. At lower temperatures of -55 C to -80 C common accuracy is 3 degrees C. These sensors are the most accurate at physiological temperature where 1-standard-deviation errors are about .1 to .2 degrees C.
See individual Networked Robotics sensor and interface hardware manuals.

How many computers do I need to run Tempurity?
You only need one computer to run Tempurity. In this case the Tempurity Server and the Tempurity Monitor both run on the same computer. The computer must be running all the time. While you can run the system with a single computer, the system is designed to be highly distributed and highly redundant. You can create as many redundant Tempurity Servers as you want - all collecting from the same data sources on your network. Software is instantly and freely downloaded.

The system may need to rely on another computer that you already have, your e-mail server. It doesn't need to use an internal mail server. Tempurity's alarm notification messages can be sent through external mail servers like Gmail and Yahoo.

How do the alarms work?
The system has three levels of alarming. The first level occurs anytime that the system detects an out-of-range condition. This is not usually considered serious (a temporarily opened door for example). These conditions are indicated on the main monitor screen but do not generate alarm notification conditions. When the temperature stays CONTINUOUSLY out of range for a defined time period Tempurity triggers a stage one or yellow alarm. If the temperature still is continuously out of range for a longer period the system triggers a stage 2 alarm.

The time thresholds at which temperature alarms (called value alarms because CO2 and many other kinds of parameters can be measured) or communication alarms occur can be set for each device individually.

How do the alarm notifications work?
Any combination of alarm notifications is possible on every monitored device through the definition of alarm groups. For example, you can define e-mail to go to one person when a specific monitored device enters stage one alarm. You can define a text message to go to another person when the same device enters stage two alarm.

Alarm notifications can be set independently for any individual monitored device or alarm stage.
Pagers, e-mail, text message to cell phones are supported for most of the communications companies in the world. In Tempurity Version 2 voice alarms can be sent. No dialers or special hardware is needed. Voice is sent through a voice-over-ip mechanism.

What regulatory or quality standards is Tempurity designed to meet?
US Food and Drug Administration's Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Good Clinical Practices (GCP), and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards. US Environmental Protection Agency Good Automated Laboratory Practices (GALP), Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), College of American Pathologists (CAP).

How do I know if a direct connection is possible to my ultracold freezer, cryofreezer, or incubator?
Your freezer must have a data communication capability. Brands such as Thermo-Revco®, Thermo-Cryoplus®, Thermo-Forma®, Chart Biomedical MVE®, Harris®, Kelvinator®, VWR®, Baxter®, and Puffer-Hubbard® are supported.

If your instrument does not have a serial port or is not compatible with one of the above formats you can use Networked Robotics' advanced digital temperature probes.

See our network data collection product page for more information. Direct data connections are not currently available for Sanyo® ultracold freezers. NuAire® freezers or the Powerfreezer line from Thermo-Forma.

My ultracold does not have a serial port. Is there any way that this type of freezer can be monitored through Tempurity?
You can use a Networked Robotics TPL3U temperature probes for monitoring these types of freezers. Accuracy at -75 C is about 3 degrees C.

Are Networked Robotics' digital temperature probes waterproof ?
Yes. TPL3 and TPL3U probes are waterproof. The water's temperature should not exceed 125 degrees Centigrade. TPL3U probes are designed for attachment underwater.

Can I put a Networked Robotics digital temperature probe in glycerin?
Yes. Customers sometimes prefer to put our temperature probes in containers filled with glycerin because it slows the response time of the reading - making them less sensitive to door opens for example. Some regulatory standards require this type of installation.

Is installation available?
Installation is available at larger institutions. Regulated installations include the execution of an installation qualification form to confirm that the installation performs as expected.

What is included in a regulatory installation qualification?
The serial number of network hardware, probe, and monitored devices are documented. A measurement is taken with a calibrated temperature measurement device that confirms the temperature reading. All records are initialed, dated, and approved according to FDA GLP regulations and Networked Robotics' Good Documentation procedures.

Are Networked Robotics' staff members trained in regulatory procedures?
Networked Robotics staff is trained once a year on FDA GLP and GMP regulations and related procedures.

How do I get the software?
A download from our web page allows you to install the Tempurity Monitor client software on your computer at any time without charge.

Why is the ability to self-connect and the time of connection  important?
At large facilities 25% of freezers move each year. Many of these moves are due to the moves of the laboratories themselves. You will be repeating the installation and configuration process as changes are made within your organization. Quick connection times and the ability to self-connect ensure that coverage is established rapidly after a move. With the Tempurity System, if your new location has the  network connections you need at the new site.

What happens during a power failure?
A communications alarm will be generated after the appropriate time threshold. This time threshold can be set to a low value of ten minutes. Reaction to a power failure depends on many factors. Because the system sometimes collects data via direct connections the system will not collect temperature values from these monitored devices unless the device itself is powered up.

Although temperatures and other data types are not known to be out-of-range during this period the system will still issue alarm notifications, e-mail, text messages, and voice when there is an inability to obtain data from the monitored device as expected. The Tempurity Server and Monitor, and sometimes your corporate mail server must be operational in order for this function to occur. This may mean that power backup is needed on the relevant computer(s) and network equipment. Redundant monitoring is also possible with Tempurity and these can be off-site. Two or more Tempurity Servers can collect temperatures from the same population of monitored devices for enhanced reliability. There is no limit on redundancy. You could create as many redundant Tempurity Servers as you wish.

What happens when a refrigerator or other monitored device moves?
The Tempurity System is designed for flexibility. In most cases there are no steps needed to resume collection- just plug in the NTMS network hardware in to an active network port at the new location. If the freezer is moving to a new building, depending on how your organization’s network manager has defined subnetworks, the NTMS device may need to be configured with a new IP address. In this case the collector (Tempurity Server) must also be reconfigured to collect from the new IP address. In most cases you already have the network wiring you need to collect data from the new location. 

How is a large walk-in refrigerator connected?
The NTMS hardware is capable of operating inside a refrigerator. If network is available inside the freezer the NTMS can operate with full function at low temperatures.

Can I see the user's guide?
The extensive Tempurity System User's Guide is available for download from our download page.

Are Networked Robotics digital temperature probes calibrated by a NIST-certified laboratory?
Probes can be calibrated by a NIST-certified laboratories for an additional fee.

Where is the data stored?
Tempurity's temperature data is stored on the Tempurity Server - the computer running the Tempurity Server software.

How should data be backed up?
Tempurity data should be backed up through normal server backup procedures or other regularly scheduled backup. This is especially critical for regulated customers. You can also run Tempurity Servers in parallel that collect from the a population of monitored devices. Tempurity can be highly redundant.

Can the data be modified?
Data can not be modified or deleted through the Tempurity System. Integrity files provide the capability to detect altered data.

How much disk space will temperature data take on my Tempurity Server?
Approximately 100Mb per year for 40 monitored devices.

Is the system 21 CFR Part 11 compliant?
Networked Robotics has written an "Electronic Records Statement" that is available on request. 21CFRPart11 compliance is usually evaluated by client organizations.

What is an alternate Tempurity Server?
More than one Tempurity Server can collect temperatures from the same population of monitored devices for enhanced reliability. See the question "What happens during a power failure" above.

How many Tempurity Monitors do I need?
In order to be notified when temperatures are out-of-range, at least one Tempurity Monitor must be running. This may be on the Tempurity Server computer or on another computer with network access to the Tempurity Server. More than one Tempurity Monitor can watch any Tempurity Server. Many monitors and many servers can be employed as needed.

Why is the company called Networked Robotics?
Networked Robotics Corporation uses the internet to command data collection from diverse scientific instruments and sensors. We control instruments through the internet using the instrument or sensor's unique machine language.
 

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