Avoiding a Costly Medical Refrigeration Failure

According to the CDC’s Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit, “a break in the cold chain can mean extra doses for patients, increased costs for providers, and damage to public confidence in vaccines.” For medical storage, cooling systems must function properly to maintain critical temperatures. Risks are high and losses can be significant when medical refrigerators do not keep required temperatures. A proper electric motor along with a monitoring system can help prevent costly refrigeration failures.

In recent months, with the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, the need for medical refrigeration has intensified. But it's not just the COVID vaccine that has a special storage temperature. Many other substances need medical refrigeration including:

  • Blood and plasma
  • Cells and tissue
  • Lab samples
  • Other vaccines
  • Pharmaceutical products

Hospitals, clinics, diagnostic facilities, and pharmacies must store these items at special temperatures. The best way to do this is by using specialized medical refrigerators.

Medical Refrigeration Applications*

Understanding equipment's use determines which electric motor is best suited for an application. Electric motors need to support a variety of performance factors impacting sensitive materials. Performance factors include:

  • Temperature variation
  • Size of cooling space
  • Sound
  • Energy use
  • Clean room compliance.

Blood Bank Refrigeration & Plasma Freezers

Blood bank refrigerators and plasma freezers safely store plasma and blood-associated components. The uniform preset temperature is –30°C. Refrigeration systems include an electrically-powered compressor, a condenser, a capillary tube or expansion valve, an evaporator, and interconnecting tubing. In many models, the compressor and motor are connected to the same shaft. A compact, airtight compartment seals off the compressor and motor. This provides more space for storage. Systems are either cylindrical or rectangular. Cylindrical systems have rotating shelves and rectangular ones feature pullout drawers or shelves.

Laboratory Refrigerators & Freezers

Laboratory refrigerators and freezers are normally used in hospitals and industrial sectors. The main challenge for these freezers is to minimize energy consumption. Refrigerants used in the freezers could lead to ozone layer depletion. Equipment should have the least potential for global warming, be nontoxic and non-inflammable. Demand has recently increased for laboratory freezers and refrigerators. Factors include greater demand for blood and blood components, the rising number of organ transplant procedures and technology advancements in laboratory freezers.

Pharmacy Refrigerators & Freezers

Pharmacies store vaccines, prescription medications, and other medical products requiring cold storage. The pharmaceutical environment has many unique needs. Manufacturers keep these needs in mind when designing pharmacy refrigerators and freezers.

For pharmacy applications, manufacturers preset refrigerators and freezers to  5°C. Refrigerators and freezers include fully-extendable ventilated pharmacy drawers and stationary pharmacy shelves. These drawers and shelves are easy to clean and adjustable for storage flexibility. 

Chromatography Refrigerators & Freezers

Chromatography refrigerators and freezers cool and preserve chromatography samples or specimens. These may include blood and plasma samples, vaccines, or other medicinal chromatographic specimens. When a sample undergoes chromatography, it may need preservation in a stable airflow at a suitable temperature. In this instance, refrigerators and freezers will be used. 

The refrigerators and freezers have special features. Microprocessor-based controls assist in maintaining the required conditions for chromatography liquids. Digital temperature displays give users current data on device temperature. Refrigerators and freezers also include lockable, easy-to-clean sections.

Enzyme Refrigerators & Freezers

Enzyme refrigerators and freezers support sample protection and sustainability objectives. Enzymes need storage temperatures as low as -20°C.  Clinical labs use these refrigerators and freezers to ensure the integrity of enzymes. Manufacturers design this equipment to provide temperature uniformity. The equipment must also adapt to user patterns. 

Users look for refrigerators and freezers offering significant energy savings without compromising protection. It’s important that these refrigerators and freezers have a quiet sound level of 52 dBA. At this level, end users can work alongside the equipment without distraction.

Enzyme refrigerators and freezers have different specifications to suit various commercial needs.

Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers

Ultra-low temperature coolers are bio-coolers that preserve viruses, bacteria, drugs, enzymes, chemicals, cell preparations, and tissue samples. Their temperature scope typically ranges from – 45°C to - 86°C. Increased research and development in the biomedical industry has led to a rising need for these freezers.

Cryogenic Storage Systems

Cryogenic storage systems store liquefied gases with a normal boiling point below -90° C.  Adequate insulation is the significant feature of cryogenic components. The insulation ensures the proper regulation of temperature levels within the equipment.

Electric Motor and Control Solutions

An electronically commutated motor (ECM) runs off direct current flow to create variable speed. ECMs feature an electronic control module and a motor. They do not use capacitors. Originally designed for HVAC applications, ECMs now play a role in medical refrigeration and freezer storage. A broad range of innovative ECMs provide high quality, energy efficient solutions. ECMs are also ideal retrofit solutions for dozens of outdated motors and fan systems.

Using cloud-based monitoring enables a connected experience with equipment. This gives users the control to prevent loss of sensitive medical products. Remotely monitoring airflow and temperature control improves cooling performance. In turn, this protects valuable, perishable medical storage. Using smart systems with ECMs reduces energy consumption, lowers noise levels and cuts maintenance costs.



Learn more about Medical Refrigeration



*From DataM Intelligence report, “Global Medical Refrigerators Market.”


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