Envirotainer Offers Four-Pallet-Size System
Envirotainer (www.envirotainer.com) has expanded in active heating and cooling shippers with the launch of the RAP e2. Air France-KLM Cargo carried the first shipment on a KLM passenger flight from Amsterdam to New York for TevaPharmachemie.
A four-US pallet-size (five Euro pallet) unit, the RAP e2 features what Envirotainer calls the next generation of the e-technology platform established with its one-pallet-load RKN e1. The RKN e1—boasting over 725 units in service—gained FAA certification for use on US carriers in September.
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"The RKN e1 has been approved by FAA however every carrier needs to do their own technical assessment (including) updating manuals and procedures which normally takes a few months. The RAP e2 is currently under (FAA) review," says Nicholas Martin, director, quality assurance and research and development, Envirotainer.
Consolidation of pharma manufacturing sites are among trends that have driven demand for LD-9-sized shippers.
"The heating and cooling technology in a larger container is something that our regular RKN e1 customers that transport pharmaceuticals sensitive to temperature have been asking for for a number of years. The cost per shipped liter will be lower compared to the same volume of RKN e1's which is an advantage for large volume shipments," Martin says.
"I also would like to add that some pharmaceuticals need to be shipped in temperatures above 20°C which makes the RAP e2 very suitable as the set temperature can be between 0 and 25°C compared to the RKN e1 which has a 0 to 20°C (range)," Martin adds.
The larger units also support logistics as one container replaces four or five smaller ones. One unit is moved in the warehouse, onto the truck, and along the cold chain, with battery recharging for one rather than multiple units, Martin says.
The RAP e2 features an optimized design—with a ground-up redesign of the container shell—that the company says outperforms traditional aluminum sandwich-based containers. The new all composite technology is developed and manufactured at its production facility in Sweden.
For achieving optimal airflow for better temperature control in the cargo area, Envirotainer performed air flow simulations in its testing before final design. Spacers along the side wall work as air distributors to ensure that there are no "hot spots" inside the compartment, Martin says.
The electrical heating and compressor cooling system runs unplugged on batteries for 100 hours in a typical shipment scenario. Due to its size, the LD-9 will require more power to cool and heat compared to the LD3-sized RKN e1, however the insulation values per m2 is better compared with the RKN e1, Martin says.
"The RAP e2 can withstand a higher band of extreme ambients than the RKN e1, however temperatures above 45°C are not that common. Procedures should be in place to avoid exposure for such temperatures other than for short periods before loading into the aircraft," he adds.
The firm's heating and cooling units have continued to supplant its dry ice-based shippers, accounting for over 30% of the container fleet. "The size of the current RAP e2 fleet is large enough to meet current orders (as the units are manufactured at a steady pace). We are preparing for additional orders after shippers finish their reviews and prepare to implement the RAP e2 as one of their shipping options."
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