Backpacking the Cold Chain

A provider of award-winning insulated shipper achieves two industry certifications.

By Daphne Allen
Editor


Insulated packaging solutions provider Coldpack (San Diego, CA; and Paris, France) has received two new certifications.

Coldpack’s 25,000-sq-ft manufacturing facility in San Diego has recently become a certified International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) test laboratory. The facility is certified to perform ISTA Test Procedure 7D. According to ISTA, “7D is a development test to evaluate the effects of external temperature exposures of individual packaged-products shipped through a parcel delivery system.”

 
Coldpack’s AirLiner technology can be inflated with a hand pump and used with corrugated boxes or the company’s backpack.

Cemafroid, the official French World Health Organization (WHO) laboratory, has certified Coldpack’s San Diego and Paris and Villejuif, France, sites as compliant with ISO 9001:2000 standards for manufacturing isothermal packaging according to the WHO’s program PQS E 04 for vaccine cold boxes and vaccine carriers. The certification applies to pharmaceutical and all other cold chains. Coldpack is actively pursuing ISO 9001 certification for its San Diego and France facilities.

Etienne P. Snollaerts, CEO of Coldpack, says, “We are proud to have received these prestigious certifications, which establish performance levels that ensure our clients valuable goods will survive the hazards of distribution and arrive in the condition intended.”

According to ISTA, 7D can be used for the development of temperature-controlled transport packages made of any material. Such testing includes considerations for both the range and time of exposure to ambient temperature conditions of normally encountered conditions. It can be conducted with or without temperature stabilizers and with or without external temperature-controlled packaging. (For details about ISTA 7D, visit www.ista.org.)

 
The AntiFreeze Vaccine Backpack from Coldpack was designed for last-mile distribution of vaccines.

Coldpack is a WHO-approved vaccine transportation provider based on its manufacture of the AntiFreeze Vaccine Backpack, a system for carrying temperature-sensitive immunizations during the last mile of distribution. Shipped and stored flat, the system is designed for assembly by vaccine distributors upon receipt. Once assembled and combined with gel packs, the backpack maintains temperatures through use of the company’s inflatable AirLiner technology. AirLiner consists of multiple layers of reflective nylon barrier film sealed together in a proprietary design that holds air for insulation and reflects heat.

“The WHO was using dry ice and cold boxes to transport vaccines, but it was losing vaccines to too-low temperatures,” explains Snollaerts. “It wanted an alternative that could store vaccines for 40 hours at 2-17°C without freezing and be lighter and hands free for walking or bike riding.” After being tested in Darfur for two years, the backpack using the AirLiner was certified by the WHO.

The AirLiner technology can also be used to convert a corrugated box into a cooler. AirLiner Cold Ship Kits include 12 AirLiners, 12 corrugated boxes, 24 fill and freeze gel packs, and one hand air pump.

Snollaerts adds that the AirLiner offers a green alternative to traditional shippers. Pira International performed a life cycle assessment of AirLiner and noted that its ability to be shipped flat enabled more AirLiner shipping systems to be distributed in the same amount of space than those that are disseminated preassembled. It can be deflated, occupying less landfill space.

The AirLiner has won industry awards including a few from the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) as well as the Cold-Chain award at Pharmapack 2009. ■

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