Cool Containers has secured approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for use of PharmaPort 360 in commercial and military air transport. Because the unit’s compressors and heaters are inactive during transport, the container is approved for use in lower decks of wide-body passenger aircraft, and it also can be loaded into upper-deck positions of narrow- and wide-body freighter aircraft. This allows for a high degree of flexibility in flight selections and opens access to markets globally. Meanwhile, the reusable container eliminates a considerable amount of waste, including Styrofoam, gel packs and cardboard, that can end up in landfills.

According to its manufacturer, because the container does not generate noise, heat or CO2 vapors associated with dry ice, it can be transported on refrigerated or nonrefrigerated trucks without jeopardizing other cargo. The unit is self-contained, so there is no exchange of air with the outside, and no hot air emissions are generated by a compressor-based cooling system running in an enclosed space.

Performance improves because compressors are not cycling on and off. Instead, a precise airflow system relies on fans and ducts to carry air across the plates and into the chamber, lowering or raising the temperature to precisely maintain the condition of the cargo.

According to Michael Rosenblum, director of marketing and business development at Cool Containers LLC, “Our data shows that the temperature inside the container will remain within two degrees of the five degrees Celsius [41°F] setpoint through extreme ambient temperature fluctuations, and within plus or minus one-half degree in typical ambient shipping conditions. That performance is pretty remarkable compared to anything else out there that is being delivered by truck or by air.”

Rosenblum attributes much of the success of the PharmaPort 360 to the composition of the team that developed it. “Our team is made up of experienced pharmaceutical refrigeration, preservation and controlled storage engineers,” he explains. “When the challenge to create a new transport container presented itself, they relied upon their experience developing high-end laboratory refrigerators and their knowledge of pharmaceutical customers’ requirements for temperature accuracy, uniformity and redundant systems.”

Choosing Danfoss BD compressors to be part of the solution was not difficult. “Cool Containers was looking for the best, most reliable transport compressor, and we already had good experience with the Danfoss product line, including the use of Danfoss compressors, expansion valves and other components in previous products related to pharma storage,” says Rosenblum.

Danfoss BD compressors are tailored for the mobile transport and tolerate changeable climatic conditions and vibrations under harsh road conditions. The compressors offer silent operation; a compact, lightweight design; speed/capacity control; and energy optimization. According to the company, Cool Containers is pleased with the energy performance of the unit and the compressors that support it. Cool Container’s energy usage studies have shown that charging the PharmaPort system (with the Danfoss compressors running) over a 12-hour period requires less than 6 kW.

The compressors use R134a refrigerant and are universal for 12 V and 24 VDC power supply. To ensure compatibility with voltages of 100 V to 240 VAC, Cool Containers relies on a transformer system that converts higher AC voltages to lower DC voltages to run the compressors. That means if transport of a container is delayed for any reason, the PharmaPort 360 can be plugged in and recharged, relying on the compressor’s ability to handle a range of different voltages and functioning as a high-performance laboratory refrigerator. It eliminates reliance on the availability of dry ice, which is not always readily accessible.

 The containers are available from UPS Temperature True, the company’s dedicated temperature sensitive service. 

Related: Compressors Provide the Cold for Cold-Chain Container