Selecting Scientific Refrigeration Equipment

Selecting Scientific Refrigeration Equipment

Scientific refrigeration equipment includes refrigerators and freezers used to store vaccines, pharmaceuticals, biological samples and similar temperature-sensitive products and specimens for healthcare, R&D and related applications.  Scientific refrigerators and freezers have critical performance requirements generally unmet by residential and commercial refrigeration systems.  For this reason they are highly recommended to protect contents that lose potency or are otherwise compromised by what are called temperature excursions above or below recommended storage settings. Therefore, selecting scientific refrigeration equipment for your needs is key.

Correct storage temperatures are usually recommended by professional or government organizations.  The CDC, for example, recommends in its 2016 Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit that frozen vaccines be stored between -50⁰ and -15⁰C (-58⁰ and + 5⁰F); refrigerated vaccines should be stored at 2⁰ and 8⁰C (36⁰ and 46⁰ F).  Vaccine manufacturers indicate correct storage temperatures that should apply along what is called the “cold chain” extending from the … Read the rest

A Vaccine Refrigeration Specification Guide     

Vaccine Refrigeration - 10 Essential Items to Consider
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Proper vaccine refrigeration is not a hit-or-miss proposition.  Each year there are reports on how improper vaccine storage or other mishaps relating to vaccines result in loss of potency.  This necessitates locating and revaccinating those who have received compromised inoculations plus the associated cost and inconvenience.  Proper vaccine storage is also a critical element for complying with government-funded Vaccines for Children (VFC) programs.

Vaccine manufacturers are careful to note the proper storage temperatures for their products along what is called the cold chain of custody between manufacturing and inoculation.  But manufacturers have little influence on the equipment used by healthcare facilities to maintain these temperatures.  The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has stepped into this by issuing its 2016 Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit to provide comprehensive information on this vital activity.    The Toolkit also covers in detail the importance of staff training and written standard … Read the rest

How to Comply with CDC Vaccine Storage Temperature Monitoring

Digital data logger for vaccine storage
Digital data logger for vaccine storage

One of the recommendations found in the CDC’s Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit is the use of digital data loggers along with audio and visual alarms to log internal storage temperatures and sound alarms if temperatures fall outside set limits.  Vaccine storage units that otherwise comply with CDC’s high/low temperature alarm recommendations may not be equipped with the all-important ability to record temperature history.  Instead they rely on personnel manually recording internal temperatures twice daily*.

Vaccine Storage Monitoring Options

Temperature Chart Recorders

Automating temperature monitoring can be achieved with the use of temperature chart recorders.  These are attached by wire to temperature sensors placed in glycerin or glycol-filled bottles positioned in the refrigerator or freezer.  The liquid “insulates” the sensor from spikes that occur when the unit’s door is opened to place or retrieve vaccines and other pharmaceuticals or samples. A disadvantage of paper … Read the rest

Meeting JCAHO Requirements for Refrigerated Storage

Keypad door locks help meet JCAHO requirements for securing samples stored in healthcare organizations’ refrigerators and freezers.  The aim is to control access to lab freezer and lab refrigerator contents while eliminating the risks of keys being lost or duplicated without authorization.  A solution for security departments in healthcare organizations and research labs is the Norlake Secure Guard II™ keypad door lock system.  It is compatible with Nor-Lake glass and solid door scientific refrigerators and freezers as well as certain models from other suppliers.

Secure Guard II, available from Tovatech, provides up to 250 users with access to refrigerated storage units using their existing magstripe ID or proximity ID cards.  Adding and deleting users can be accomplished at the unit.  Stored information is safe due to the non-volatile memory.   An audit trail of the most recent 1500 access attempts provides date, time and user name, and is downloadable via an … Read the rest

10 cu. ft. Medical Refrigerator with 2 x 2 ft. Footprint

Healthcare facilities with tight space constraints for storing refrigerated vaccines and other pharmaceuticals may find a solution in a new 10 cu. ft. medical refrigerator requiring only 2 square feet of floor space and can be either free standing or built in.
The 58-inch high SA10WRDT auto-defrost medical refrigerator now available from Tovatech features a stainless steel interior and 4 cantilevered chromium-plated shelves for improved sanitation and high storage flexibility. Energy-efficient recessed LED lighting helps medical personnel quickly locate contents.

Exacting temperature control is provided by a digital thermostat; the interior temperature is displayed externally. The unit’s lock-equipped, reversible flat door design has no shelves thereby conforming to CDC guidelines to help ensure stable temperature conditions for sensitive products. As an added safety measure an alarm sounds if the door is left open for longer than a minute.

Medical Refrigerator Temperature Alarm Option

The annual cost of refrigerated medical products … Read the rest

When to Specify a Flammable Refrigerator

The 24 cubic foot Norlake refrigerator for flammable storage
The 24 cubic foot Norlake refrigerator for flammable storage

Google refrigerator explosions and chances are you’ll get a lot of hits because of news articles reporting on refrigerator explosions. These events can be spectacular, dangerous and costly. They occur when flammable products are stored in conventional refrigeration units and fumes are ignited by refrigerator electronics such as thermostats, compressors, timers and light switches. A refrigerator for flammable storage is designed to prevent these occurrences. Designs differ from more costly explosion proof refrigerators designed to eliminate the danger of igniting volatile vapors in the laboratory environment.

We agree it is a subtle but important difference. Confusion can occur because most reported refrigerator explosions result when the contents or vapors explode due to an internal ignition source.

Flammable Storage Refrigerator Safety Standards

We’ll start by stating that workarounds do not work when it comes to satisfying NFPA and OSHA guidelines regarding storing … Read the rest

How to Improve Vaccine Storage Temperature Monitoring

Vaccine storage temperature monitoring and reporting are critical requirements for healthcare facilities participating in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. Procedures are clearly spelled out in the CDC’s Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit.
To comply with these procedures vaccine refrigerators and freezers must be equipped with temperature alarming and recording devices. A temperature logger kit now available from Tovatech can be installed on vaccine storage units that otherwise meet CDC regulations but lack temperature logging and alarming capability.

NIST-Certified Temperature Logger

Supplied with a 5 volt DC power adapter, the compact .75” x 9.25” x 5.5” (HWD) NIST-calibrated DL2 temperature logger kit stores data on a 4GB USB flash drive for retrieval and archiving to a PC or Mac. It is equipped with a backup rechargeable lithium-ion battery that operates the logger for up to 20 hours in the event of a power failure.
Temperature accuracy is 0.5⁰C over a … Read the rest

Compact Vaccine Refrigerators Meet Tight State Regs

Tighter state regulations governing vaccine storage may impose stricter standards than those recommended by the CDC for temperature control and uniformity. Small to medium sized practices may want to check their state regulations for vaccine storage, especially if they participate in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.

In response to these new regulations Tovatech offers a new compact vaccine refrigerator line designed for small to medium-size medical practices while retaining external dimensions consistent with popular undercounter and countertop models. This is achieved with thicker wall insulation. Units are available in capacities ranging from 0.8 to 3.4 cubic feet (see table).

Vaccine Refrigerator Performance Specs

All models feature digital thermostats and are temperature stable within 2⁰ of set temperatures. All are equipped with high/low temperature alarms and NIST-calibrated internal temperature readouts to the nearest tenth of a degree.

In accordance with CDC recommendations these vaccine refrigerators feature self-closing shelf-less doors to … Read the rest

How to Buy a Laboratory Refrigerator/Freezer on a Budget

In the current economic climate, with shrinking budgets and tight credit, many laboratories are under a great deal of strain, especially when it comes to purchasing new equipment. Some facilities attempt to maintain their outdated cold storage units, while others try to substitute cheaper household units for those specifically designed for laboratory purposes. In the long run, neither of these alternatives are acceptable. Laboratory administrators should understand that they can take several steps to toward purchasing a new laboratory refrigerator or freezer without depleting their limited budgets.

lab-fridge-fullUnderstand Your Needs
Although a subcompact car often costs less than a pickup truck, each vehicle is equipped to accomplish different tasks. Most people would not buy a subcompact car to do the tasks required of a pickup truck solely based on the price tag. Just as with vehicles, laboratory personnel should not purchase a refrigerator or freezer based solely on price. A … Read the rest

Stainless Steel Glass Door Scientific Refrigerators

A new line of scientific refrigerators with glass doors help save energy while reducing temperature fluctuations that occur when technicians open refrigerator doors just to check inventory. Content monitoring and location is further simplified because the new Norlake Grand™ Series, now available from Tovatech, is equipped with switch-activated internal lighting. These units have all-stainless interiors, fronts and sides for easy maintenance.
Content Protection Features
Scientific refrigerator contents can represent sizable investments that can be lost if storage temperatures drift outside set parameters. The interval-adjustable auto-defrost Grand Series refrigerators have a digital LED microprocessor temperature controller, offer selectable Centigrade (2⁰ to 10⁰) or Fahrenheit (35.6⁰ to 50⁰), a continuous internal temperature display and offer content protection features including:
• Visual and audible hi/low temperature alarms
• Self-closing doors (with 90⁰ stay-open feature)
• Door open alarms after 30 seconds
• Magnetic door gaskets for a tight seal
• Door locks to … Read the rest