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Bespoke design: economical, ecological and effective cold chain packaging

27 June 2013

The trend in the packaging field is to optimise costs. Pharmaceutical industrials want to include the least expensive, most ecological packaging into their logistics circuit which remains as effective in securing the cold chain.

Sofrigam has built its activity on the bespoke design and manufacture of polyurethane cold chain packaging. The company has developed its shipping solutions to maximise product safety during transport while minimising the cost and ecological impact.

The steps in the bespoke design of insulated packaging

Before design, a team of engineers specialised in the cold chain analyses the customer logistics circuits. Their studies are based on:

  • Risk analysis relative to temperature profiles,
  • The search for the best working volume / exterior volume ratio,
  • The implementation of shipping preparation procedures that are both simple and strict.

Next comes the packaging design phase. Vincent Bailleul, packaging engineer, works in Sofrigam's Research and Development department: "We start by drawing the heat insulated container using 3D software. The manufacturing machines can then use the files. The design office makes a single drawing, with no duplicates or repetitions, and our production colleagues use it to parameter the machine. The entire circuit is computerised from the design to the manufacture of the finished product. " 

Customised design of cold chain containers

Polyurethane: an effective and modular insulation

"We design bespoke solutions depending on the pharmaceutical products to be transported, by assembling different formats of polyurethane sheeting. This makes it especially possible to limit empty spaces in the boxes or to adapt to aircraft platforms for "long haul export" logistics, notes Laetitia Perche, Sofrigam's marketing and communications director.

Thanks to its thermal performances polyurethane panels optimise the working volume / outer volume ratio of insulated containers. High density polyurethane has low heat conductivity (0.023 W/mK). In heat insulating packaging this makes it possible to limit added cold and therefore the load in the transport box.

"The flexibility of the manufacturing process without tools makes it possible to make products that comply with the specific needs of the customers while guaranteeing the quality and the safety of maintaining the temperature between, +2°C and +8°C. We work using the raw material, insulating polyurethane foam, to give it the required shape." adds Vincent Bailleul.

Flexibility of polyurethan panels

Sofrigam essentially transports vaccines, ophthalmic products and chemotherapy solutions. Its main fields of expertise are export and long lasting protection over 72 hours (using positive cold +2/+8°C or negative cold at -18°C). While EPS (expanded polystyrene) is adapted to domestic transport up to 24/48h, polyurethane is adapted to international shipping.

The R&D department is specialised in optimising products and researching new, ever more effective, simple to use, ecological and economical concepts. Over 60 new product concepts are developed every year.

Ecology, economy, safety: Sofrigam has included these 3 criteria in its packaging design. The result is a wide standard range that can evolve with your priorities.

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