Temperature-Controlled Shippers - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Temperature-Controlled Shippers
Packaging and monitoring tools protect temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals.


Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 36, Issue 9, pp. 34-36

Systems approach


Figure 3: An air-freight container protects and monitors temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical and biotechnology products (PharmaPort 360, manufactured by Cool Containers and available through UPS Temperature True service, UPS).
An innovative air-freight container combines product protection and monitoring for temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and biologics (see Figure 3). Fully validated and tested to confirm compliance with industry standards, the container is powered by a rechargeable battery and heats or cools as needed to maintain the proper temperature range for more than 100 h regardless of the ambient temperature. Built-in sensors monitor shipment condition and GPS location and transmit the data in near-real time via a standard global cellular network. If alerts are triggered, indicating a potential risk, the carrier can intervene with preestablished contingency plans to rescue a shipment in distress and prevent product loss. While in transit mode, the container neither consumes energy nor emits external heat, vapor, or gases, thereby allowing it to fly in upper- or lower-deck aircraft positions. This offers more routing options, especially in constrained transportation lanes. The container also has approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly on narrow- and wide-body aircraft, which allows a high degree of flexibility in flight selections and opens access to markets globally (PharmaPort 360, manufactured by Cool Containers and available through UPS Temperature True service, UPS).

Integrated product protection and monitoring also can include options, such as a precharged liquid nitrogen, dry-vapor container that maintains -150 C for up to 10 days. With 10 days of holding time, the shipper supports complex international itineraries and eliminates the reicing required with dry-ice shipments. Because the unit is delivered ready for packing and picked up for refurbishing or recycling after unloading at its destination, shippers do not need to purchase, inventory, or manage insulated boxes and dry ice (Deep Frozen Shipping Solution, FedEx).

If needed, an RFID data logger, GPS sensor, and web-based platform monitors temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, light exposure, and location; provides near real-time visibility for shipments; and sends alerts if preset journey parameters are exceeded. The reusable data logger/GPS unit also is available for a monthly fee (SenseAware device and information service, FedEx).

Hallie Forcinio is Pharmaceutical Technology's Packaging Forum editor, 4708 Morningside Drive, Cleveland, OH 44109, tel. 216.351.5824, fax 216.351.5684,
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