By Ryan Strand, Vice President of Operations at Wisconsin Oven Distributors
A climate chamber is used to replicate the conditions that a product will encounter in its natural environment. In particular, it can simulate conditions of humidity, temperature, moisture, and/or light. Climate chambers are found in labs around the world where they are constantly testing thousands of different products in hundreds of industries.
If you’re reading this, there is a good chance you’ve decided you need a climate chamber. Perhaps your company has developed a new product and you need to test both the product and the product packaging. Now, you’ve done your analysis and you know the conditions you want to replicate. So far so good. But chances are you’re not in the market for a climate chamber very often. In fact, this might be your first purchase. Under these circumstances, it can be difficult to know where to start. There are so many variables to consider and you don’t want to miss something important. In this guide, we provide an easy-to-use checklist that walks you through the questions you need to ask to make the right decision about your new climate chamber. Ultimately, we want you to find the right product, even if it’s not a Memmert.
My Climate Chamber Checklist
What are my overall goals for the chamber I’m looking to purchase?
- Do I want to simulate an environment (temperature, humidity, light) that is relatively unchanging throughout the year? Arizona, Nevada, and Florida are examples of this type of environment.
- Do I want to simulate an environment that experiences drastic changes throughout the year? Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois are examples of this type of environment.
- Am I conducting a long-term study or a short-term study?
- What are the overall goals of the study? Do I want to evaluate the performance of a specific sample? Or is it more important to do environmental testing a broader category of samples?
What type of environment am I trying to simulate to test my sample or product
- What temperature, or multiples of temperatures, will my product be subjected to? Climate chambers can produce temperatures across a range from very cold (-40C) to very hot (+300C).
- Do I want to test to humidity levels from low (10% RH) to high (98% RH)? Do I need to test multiple humidity levels?
- Am I looking for humidity levels to remain relatively the same over a period of time or will they be constantly changing?
- Do I need CO2 control within my chamber?
- Do I need light control within the chamber?
- Can I replicate my desired environment safely and effectively in the unit I’m considering?
- How accurate do I need these components to be?
- Is uniformity and accuracy vital to the process?
- What importance do I put on recovery rates after opening the door, air exchange rates, heat up time, and cool down time? Are one or two of these more important than others?
Climate Chamber Size
- Are my samples small or large? (Climate chamber sizes range from 1 cubic foot up to 37 cubic feet.)
- How heavy is my sample? Do I need something that can withstand a lot of weight?
- Is my sample an awkward shape? Does it need a specific fixture to hold it?
Product or Sample
- What industry am I in: pharmaceutical, food, beverage, chemical, modeling clay, animal breeding, fabric testing, asphalt, or even as simple as soil or powders?
- Is my product combustible, flammable, or dangerous?
- Does my product produce heat emissions?
- Does it give off a gas?
- Is it a solid or liquid?
- What packaging does my product need?
- How do I need it configured inside the chamber?
- Do I need to meet ISO guidelines?
- Are there FDA regulations I need to meet?
- Do I need to maintain test standards in the pharma industry that are ICH compliant?
- Will I require access ports for additional monitoring?
- Will I need to observe samples during the study through a viewing window?
- Do I need to weigh my product inside the chamber throughout the study?
- Does my product need to be to have a power supply inside the chamber and be running during the study?
- Should I be able to program error alerts for sensitive samples? Is a mobile alert sufficient or do I need sirens and error lights?
- Is temperature or humidity mapping an important requirement to ensure the chamber is providing my product with adequate conditions?
- Do I need to ensure that my climate chamber is tamper proof?
What are my facility’s requirements?
- Is UL or cMET certification required?
- Is NIST traceability required?
- What voltage and power supply are available at my facility in order to power the unit?
- Do I need to have a battery backup or generator backup in case of power failure?
Today, product testing via climate or stability chambers is very detail oriented. At times, the process of selecting the right piece of equipment can be overwhelming. At Wisconsin Oven Distributors, we are here to help make the decision-making process easier. We have been asked all these questions many times over. We will know if we are able to help you or not within the first 10-15 minutes of assessing your process and requirements. We’ll walk through the questions with you to make sure that we don’t miss anything when it comes time to source and purchase the equipment.
The climate chamber you’re purchasing should be carefully evaluated, whether it’s for a short- or long-term study. After all, it’s a capital purchase. We want to ensure that you are getting the best product for your needs and that the equipment can do exactly what you intend it to do. If we can’t meet your requirements, we’ll be the first to tell you. The last thing we want is for you to own a piece of equipment that can’t help you. As much as we would love to see you owning a quality Memmert climate chamber, what good is it if it doesn’t do what you need it to do?
The market today is flooded with products from around the globe. Each one claims to be the best and the product that can do it all. Here at Wisconsin Oven Distributors we are not making any of these claims. We are here to assess what you are trying to do. If your parameters fit the bill, we will gladly offer you one of our quality Memmert units. Price is not the most important consideration when making a purchase of this size and importance. It’s the attention to detail, trust that the unit is going to do what you want it to do, and knowledge that you have the after sales support you need when and if it’s ever needed.