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Insulated shipping packaging: which size?

24 March 2015

You have a specific requirement for an insulated packaging for your heat-sensitive products. Your specifications are a practical way of determining the dimensions of the thermal packaging. The principal parameters to be taken into account when deciding on the final size are the requirements of the product and the logistical constraints. Read on for an explanation.

What is the required temperature range?

For transporting your heat-sensitive products, the first factor to be determined is the temperature range within which the product must be stored, without disrupting the cold chain. The temperature ranges most frequently requested by the pharmaceuticals industry are +2 to +8 °C, +15 to +25 °C or –35 °C.

We can then decide upon the cold source, that is to say the number and type of eutectic plates to be inserted into the packing unit, and their location in the unit (this will affect the final dimensions). The cold sources can either be distributed individually or they can be placed on trays in special compartments in the packing unit. We will have more to say on this subject in a forthcoming article!

What is the volume of the products to be transported?

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Should your packaging be designed to transport small volumes of products or do you need to dispatch a pallet full of products? Your responses to these questions will enable us to opt for either a Sofribox® type of cooling box or a large container.

What are the potential logistical constraints?

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Your packing unit will be exposed to varying temperature conditions while in transit. Which temperature profiles are likely to be encountered? What is the duration of each stage of the journey? This information is used to determine the required duration of effective cooling capacity of the box. The challenge is to ensure that the container is self-sufficient throughout its period in transit, from initial loading until arrival at its destination. The duration of effective cooling capacity is calculated on the basis of the least favourable conditions of transport.

In order to comply with the demands of transport via the cold chain, the insulated packaging solution must be designed to incorporate a suitable thickness of insulating material and an effective cold source.

The various criteria interact with each other. It is not simply the volume of products to be transported that determines the size of the packing unit, it is also the required temperature range, the conditions and duration of the period in transit, etc. Do not hesitate to contact us for advice about the design of your made-to-measure insulated container.

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