“Interest in reusable shipping solutions continues to grow in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, but companies do grapple with cost of ownership”, reports Kevin Lawler, Vice President of Sales, Minnesota Thermal Science (MTS; Plymouth, MN). The company, which has been serving these markets with its Credo Cube® thermal packaging systems, has led the way in working to reduce maintenance costs and has released its latest trademarked solution.
“Up until now, the standard outer container for reusable shippers has been a Kraft corrugated or plastic corrugated outer box,” explains Lawler. “The limitation has been the constant replacement over time of the corrugated outers as they become worn or soiled.”
To increase the longevity of the outer component, MTS has devised a reusable outer component made of high-density yet lightweight polyethylene. This new outer container is designed to integrate their patented encapsulated six individual vacuum-insulated panels (VIPs) that can each be removed and replaced independently. “Maintenance costs are greatly reduced, which in turn significantly reduces our clients’ cost of ownership,” says Lawler.
One of the design challenges MTS faced head on was to strike the right balance between light weight and durability. “Customers want something durable and reusable with lower cost of ownership, but also lightweight in order to minimize shipping costs,” says Lawler. MTS offers other hard shell containers, but they are of the heavy duty military-grade variety exceeding the costs and product requirements of commercial clients.
Investing in engineering design reviews with shipping logistics companies and as well as pharmaceutical customers, MTS developed and analyzed various designs for their usability and durability factor. “The result is a high quality design featuring VIPs built into the hard plastic outer component and ease of use features that make this a great solution from the warehouse pack-out area and throughout the entire logistics network,” says Lawler.
“The final product design is approximately 2 to 3 lbs. heavier than our standard plastic corrugated outer,” adds Lawler. “We also expect forthcoming case user studies to validate earlier projections of a product life span of 2 to 3 years.”
MTS also claims the newer outer component increases shipper thermal performance and therefore offer lengthened global transit options. “The Credo DuraCUBE™ offers enhanced thermal performance calculated at 10–15% greater than standard corrugate,” says Lawler. MTS is currently manufacturing models for thermal testing.
This latest addition to the Credo Cube family will initially be available in 10-, 12-, and 16-liter options. MTS will then roll
the design out to its other Credo products as warranted. “Through its design reviews with major logistics carriers, MTS
was able to devise a design protocol that will be considered commercially standard”, reports Lawler.