Freezer Monitoring

The VP&S Office for Research has worked with CUIMC IT and Columbia Procurement to negotiate with a preferred vendor to provide remote, wireless freezer monitoring throughout the CUIMC campus at a reduced cost. The preferred freezer monitoring vendor will provide discounted pricing and technical support to all CUIMC affiliates. The VP&S Office for Research will work with CUIMC IT to ensure the security and overall reliability of the preferred monitoring system.

However, as CUIMC laboratories conduct a wide variety of research with different operational requirements, implementation (including purchase and installation of monitoring equipment, setup of the online system, payment of yearly service fees, and day-to-day monitoring) remains the responsibility of the individual PI.

Alert System

CUIMC is working with E-Control Systems (which provides the Lab Alert system for Panasonic/PHCbi freezers) to provide freezer monitoring across campus. E-Controls provides local, battery-powered sensors that record temperatures and wirelessly send this data to a gateway unit connected to the Columbia wired network, allowing flexibility in use of the monitoring system. Although monitoring of -80 C freezers is emphasized, -20 C freezers, 4 C refrigerators, incubators, and cold rooms can also be monitored with this system. Users can log into a cloud-based server via a computer or mobile app to view current temperatures, logs, and set alert criteria, which can include loss of power/communication with the freezer sensor and freezer temperature rising above specific thresholds. Monitoring and alert capability can be shared/delegated amongst members of a Principle Investigator’s (PI’s) lab, and recipients of the alert can acknowledge that they are taking action online.

If a Freezer Fails

  • VP&S maintains several emergency freezers which can be used to store research materials until the failing freezer can be repaired. Details on utilizing these emergency freezers are available on our website.
  • To expedite repair of failed freezers, it is recommended that PIs contact A&L Scientific (either directly or through Fisher Scientific), as POs generated from these vendors will receive expedited approval from the Purchasing Office.
  • Alternatively, if a PI wishes to replace the failed freezer, the Office for Research is promoting the purchase of new, high-efficiency -80 freezers. A promotional discount for a preferred high efficiency freezer, which includes the Lab Alert monitoring system, can be obtained by referencing this quote. The Office for Research and Facilities may also be providing additional incentives for use of this freezer model in future. Please contact us for more information.

Pricing and Setup Procedure

Details on pricing and how to set up the system for a laboratory are provided in these documents. You will need to login with your @cumc.columbia.edu email address and password to view:

Setup Information

Other Questions

My freezer comes with an alarm system. Can I use this?

PHC freezers equipped with the LabAlert monitoring system should be compatible with the preferred vendor's monitoring system, and should be able to integrate into the campus system. Please contact the freezer vendor for more information.

Unfortunately, other freezer monitoring systems are generally not compatible with the preferred system or the WiFi network of the CUIMC campus.

I have an existing monitoring system. Do I need to change systems?

No. Users with existing monitoring systems can continue to use these systems, provided that the systems continue to meet all CUIMC IT security and network requirements.