Compressors Provide the Cold for Cold-Chain Container
Used to transport temperature-sensitive biopharma products, a temperature-controlled shipping container relies on cold plates and hot plates to maintain the tight temperature profile required from production facility to patient.
Global demand for biologically based drugs is increasing, and with it, the demand for reliable, efficient, cost-effective, temperature-controlled transportation. High-value pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biologics and other temperature-dependent materials require an unbroken cold chain, from production to patient, capable of withstanding wide fluctuations of ambient temperatures.
To meet this demand, a temperature-controlled freight container that exceeds healthcare-industry standards for temperature-sensitive compliance during transportation was developed by Cool Containers LLC, Marietta, Ohio. Its PharmaPort 360 uses Model BD direct current compressors from Baltimore-based Danfoss to ensure proper temperatures during transportation.
Traditionally, pharmaceutical manufacturers turned to shipping options that relied on gel packs, dry ice and operating compressors to effectively cool the temperature-sensitive products during transport. The PharmaPort 360 container maintains strict temperatures by using proprietary temperature-storage technology, allowing it to tolerate a wider range of extreme ambient temperature changes while eliminating the need for gel packs, dry ice or compressors that run during transport.
Instead, the Danfoss compressors operate prior to shipment, freezing the container’s cold plate so that cold energy can be stored and used during transport to maintain specified temperatures. Similarly, a warm plate is heated prior to transport, and the resulting heat energy provides warmth to the container as required during shipment. In this way, the temperature-controlled shipping container provides continuous, constant temperature regulation, maintaining an internal temperature of 41°F (5°C) without external power, even in extreme ambient conditions ranging from -40 to 140°F (-40 to 60°C), in both transport and charge mode.
The cargo container ensures safe, door-to-door transport for optimum viability of contents upon arrival. Rather than moving from one cold transportation unit to the next, the container itself is moved, without the need for a refrigerated truck or temporary refrigerated holding locations.
To ensure redundancy in the event of a cooling system failure, the temperature-controlled transport container is powered by two cooling systems, each using a Danfoss BD350GH compressor. The unit also includes two separate coil systems for the cold plates, multiple fans and two heating elements. In addition to the compressor, the cargo container uses other Danfoss components, including TU Series thermostatic expansion valves, ACB cartridge controls and DML Eliminator filter dryers.
Although Danfoss components are used in many transportation applications, they typically are applied in semi-trailer and over-the-road solutions. According to Michael Rodgers, a Danfoss regional key accounts manager, the air transportation temperature-controlled transport container is a completely new market for the company. Danfoss BD compressors are tailored for mobile transport to tolerate changeable climatic conditions and vibrations under harsh road conditions. The compressors use R134a refrigerant and are universal for 12 V and 24V DC power supply. The cold chain is secured because if a container is delayed in transport, it can be plugged in and recharged, relying on the compressor’s ability to handle different voltages and functioning as a high-performance laboratory refrigerator.
Cool Containers has secured approval for the PharmaPort 360 in commercial and military air transport. In addition to FAA approval, the container meets or exceeds World Health Organization cold-chain storage and distribution guidelines.
To learn more about PharmaPort 360 from Cool Containers LLC, Marietta, Ohio, call (740) 374-8129 or visit www.coolcontainers.com. To learn more about compressors from Baltimore-based Danfoss, call (410) 931-8250 or visit www.danfoss.com.