Reusable thermal management shipping system
An environmentally friendly method for shipping temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals, biological supplies and food has reportedly been developed by thermal packaging solutions company, Entropy, based in Minneapolis, USA.
The Greenbox Thermal Management System aims to eliminate US$3bln/pa worth of spoilage of products by maintaining narrow temperature ranges for up to 144 hours, out-performing water-based gel packs or dry ice methods which have to be shipped overnight.
‘Drugs and vaccines often go bad because of extreme temperature changes, expiration and shipping damage,’ says Eric Lindquist, President of Entropy.
Key to the Greenbox system is the temperature-controlling agent, E-Pack, which is a chemically altered organic feedstock that forms either a solid or liquid phase to absorb or release heat. The right combination of E-Packs can ensure the correct temperature for the product being shipped. The box is then insulated using a recycled carbon silicon Thermo-lok panel.
‘Standard insulation materials such as expanded polystyrene [which contain gel packs or dry ice] have large pores which allow hot or cold air to travel through them,’ explains Lindquist, ‘Thermo-lok has pour sizes about 100 times smaller, significantly reducing the amount of thermal energy transferred through the panel, meaning we can keep temperature [changes] between about three to five degrees Celsius compared to 0-15˚C using standard systems.’
The external container is made from a polyethylene corrugated plastic, which is said to be more durable than the standard cardboard box.
All three components of the system can be reused.
Entropy is now looking to maintain thermal insulation for up to 30 days.