The NIH is currently researching predictive monitoring systems for Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) Freezers. ULT freezers are used to store samples which are critical to the NIH. When a freezer failure or power outage occurs, an average new ULT freezer set at -80 °C will take approximately 5 hours to warm up to -60 °C, a temperature that can accelerate sample degradation. Temperature monitoring systems are often set to send out high temperature alarm notifications when a freezer reaches -60 °C.
Therefore researchers, lab technicians and emergency personnel only have hours from when they are notified of a high temperature alarm to transfer the samples to a working freezer. Predictive monitoring systems may be able to identify problems that may lead to freezer failures. This allows researchers, lab technicians and emergency personnel to have a freezer repaired or replaced prior to a failure occurring.
The NIH is researching predictive monitoring systems that identify when there is a variation in how a freezer is performing while factoring in performance factors such as door openings, ambient temperature and humidity. The NIH is interested to find systems that compare a freezer to an average freezer that is the same age and operating in the same ambient temperature and humidity.