China: A grinding machine worth 1.5 million Francs arrives at its final destination following a trans-oceanic flight. The fir transportation case in which the valuable freight was carefully packed in Attikon (CH) appears undamaged. However, when the case is opened it becomes apparent that the machine itself is badly damaged. Presumably the screw on the transportation lock was loosened as a result of a mechanical shock and the moveable part of the machine fractured and separated. "We assume that a forklift or crane set the case down too fast", says Marc Wegmüller, Managing Director of expert packaging firm Wegmüller AG, Attikon. Where and how the damage was actually caused remains unclear, because the grinding machine was not fitted with a datalogger from MSR Electronics that would rapidly have been able to answer the riddle of how the damage occurred.

Prevention is better than remedy

In order to save their business partners this sort of stress and make the transportation conditions more transparent, packaging services provider Wegmüller AG is now using the MSR165 datalogger. With 1,600 shock measurements per second, its air pressure and humidity sensor together with temperature measurements, these tiny multi-talents can detect every unplanned event. The sensitive light sensor can also reveal with seamless precision, when a package was opened. The MSR165 documents every little change together with the exact time it took place. In co-operation with the haulier it is usually possible to pinpoint the cause quickly. This allows the costs of the damage - or at least the correct apportionment - to be passed straight on to the party that was responsible.

Tests during overseas shipments: The MSR165 accompanies freight for Soudronic AG

Wegmüller AG made some interesting findings in co-operation with its test customer Soudronic AG, the leading global manufacturer of plant and machinery for the metal packaging industry. The company's head office in Bergdietikon ships its machines in the wooden cases made by the export packaging company from Attikon as standard. Transportation by road and also by sea and air can place heavy stresses on both products and their packaging. Soudronic therefore trialled the MSR165 datalogger in a freight consignment to the USA. For monitoring the shipment in general and also for analysing the stresses to which the consignment was subjected during the journey, 3-axis acceleration (shock, vibrations), temperature, air pressure and relative humidity were recorded. The evaluation of the measurement data supplies valuable data that must now flow into both the machine design and into that of the packaging.

Small logger, big performance

"We have now tested the new datalogger exhaustively in drop tests and for monitoring long haul shipments, and we're very pleased. The amazing thing is that, despite being 'Swiss made' the MSR165 costs only around a third of the price of conventional shipment monitoring systems", says Wegmüller. "We are currently using three of the devices and we also rent these out to our customers upon request", continued Wegmüller. The logger is affixed to the packaging or, even better, to the equipment itself - accompanying the freight on its journey. On the way, the measurement parameters defined by the customer are recorded, saved for follow-up monitoring and later evaluated just like a transportation log. Such evaluations are not only of significant benefit to the customer - insurance companies would also benefit from the use of such a measuring device. "In the case of claims the insurer could rapidly build up a picture of the transportation conditions." The measurement parameters delivered by the datalogger would bring much information to light that would be of great significance in investigating claims.


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