What is Temperature Mapping?
Temperature mapping, also known as thermal mapping, is a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) designed to help companies monitor and maintain the confines of an overall environment. This process is intended to prevent temperature and humidity fluctuation in a controlled area whether it is a warehouse, refrigerator, or vehicle.
Does Temperature Mapping Differ from Temperature Monitoring?
Temperature mapping is performed by placing data loggers throughout a specified area for at least 24 hours to study how temperature and humidity is distributed. This data allows companies to identify inconsistencies and implement changes within the environment. Inconsistencies could be caused by things such as opening and closing of doors, heat produced from electronics, or failing HVAC systems.
In contrast, temperature monitoring is a customary practice implemented following a temperature mapping study. This practice uses fewer data loggers to provide continuous monitoring where product is stored. Depending on the industry, temperature monitoring may also be required by regulating bodies.
Where Should Temperature Mapping be Conducted?
Temperature mapping should be conducted in any environment where the quality of a product is affected by temperature or humidity. Although some equipment comes standard with a built-in thermometer, the readings are often taken from one fixed location within the unit. An example of this can be seen in a residential refrigerator, where things stored in the back are often colder than those stored closer to the door.
These temperature inconsistencies can cause products to fluctuate above or below the required temperatures, deeming them unusable. This can be costly for manufacturers, not to mention a danger to the public health.
For example, if a pharmaceutical company only mapped a few areas throughout the warehouse, they may fail to identify temperature abnormalities in other areas. Drugs placed in those overlooked areas could be distributed with harmful side effects or be entirely ineffective.
Is Temperature Mapping Necessary?
Temperature mapping should be a standard part of a company’s GMP guidelines to detect and correct areas with inconsistencies to ensure proper storage conditions and regulatory compliance. When incorporated into a standard GMP, temperature mapping can aid in the prevention of product and monetary loss, as well as improve overall quality and public safety.