Cryogenic containers, also known as liquid cylinders, dry-shippers, LN2 shippers, or cryo-cans, are vacuum vessels with multilayer insulation in the annular space. The containers are designed to be dependable and solvent, serving as transport and storage chambers for liquefied gases of cryogenic temperatures, normally colder than -90°C (-130°F). Shipping cryogenic containers are ideal for the pharmaceutical sector because of the complex medications that are highly sensitive to pressure and temperature.
Why is Monitoring a Cryogenic Container Difficult?
Find the best practices in shipping cryogenic containers.
Cryogenic containers can act as storage chambers for different products apart from pharmaceutical products. The popularity of storage containers across different industries is due to several reasons, including:
Lower maintenance costs
Extended hold times
Extended supply chains
The technology is also valuable for many other fields, including mining, food and beverage, electronics, and gas. As such, shipping cryogenic containers come in varying forms depending on their intended use.
In the pharmaceutical field, cryogenic freezers are helpful in a variety of research purposes: long-term storage and preservation of tissue samples and cell cultures.
They are crucial for the cryopreservation process because they are much safer and more convenient than the LN2 system. The innovative technology keeps all products at cryogenic temperatures down to -150°C (-238°F) with a low energy consumption of less than 34 kWh per 24h, much lower than other alternative products in the market.
Cryogenic tanks, popularly known as cryotanks, saw an increase in adoption over the past years. Experts predict that the market will reach €6.3 billion by 2026 as more industries become aware of its benefits. The metal processing industry is the biggest end-user of shipping cryogenic containers, using them to transport and store gases in manufacturing plants.
Dewar flasks are primarily used in research applications as containers for holding liquefied gases for flash freezing samples. The portable shipping cryogenic container has always been a laboratory apparatus. Still, it is now attracting interest from other industries because some designs can last for up to 100 days when closed and full to the brim. The cryotanks have no auto-refill function, cannot measure temperature, and only alert you if nitrogen levels fall below a given level.
They are the primary storage option for cryopreservation, preserving lining cells and tissues at negative temperatures. The containers are vacuum insulated to reduce heat transfer and the vaporization rate of the products during transit. The cryotank has low heat conductivity, a high vacuum with high-performance construction, and advanced insulation materials to ensure high thermal efficiency.
Here are some factors to consider before purchasing a tank for any cryogenic product:
1. Quantity and Size of Shipment
The global cryogenic container market is segmented on region, end-user, and product.
The market classification includes cryo boxes, vials, cryotubes, and cryogenic supply tanks. As such, every product requires a different design depending on its quantity, size, and characteristics.
Large shipping cryogenic containers can hold 20,000 liters to 22,500 liters (for the 20-foot version) and approximately 46,000 liters for the 40-foot tank. Dewar flasks are portable and suitable for shipping smaller quantities.
2. Time to Transport
Every shipping cryogenic container has a given time to function efficiently. Before selecting a container, consider the time required for the shipment to reach its destination since there is a finite amount of resources to use. A large cryogenic tank can run continuously for up to 12 days, unlike the smaller versions that run for about seven days.
3. Type of Transportation
The method you intend to use when transporting the products also determines the right cryotank to buy. In the past, it was challenging to ship compressed gases by air, but now it is possible through cryogenic air cargo and specialized containers. The containers have a unique material that absorbs and saves liquid nitrogen, preventing an overflow during delivery.
4. GDP Compliance
Shipping cryogenic containers should uphold good distributor practices (GDP) and remain compliant with its regulations. While it is not a global requirement, the certification requires pharmaceutical product handlers to meet stringent WHO standards for safety and security. All pharmaceutical companies and logistic partners must comply with the regulations in the European Union or U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
5. Protective Shipping Carton
If you are shipping sensitive material through the air or by sea, you can add a protective carton, ensuring the biological samples remain at cryogenic temperature without damage. The positioning of the cryogenic container, especially for the Dewar flask, is crucial during shipping. Keep the container upright to improve the hold time. When they tilt sideways or upside down, the hold time significantly reduces, which is why you must ship the container upright without much shaking.
You can buy or rent when looking for shipping cryogenic containers. The Dewar flask is located at the bottom of the price list, ranging between €85 to €1,000, with the price changing based on size and extra features. The larger tanks range between €25,000 and €45,000 due to the storage capacity of between 3,160 liters to 61,620 liters. You can also rent the devices to keep costs down if you will not be sending shipments long term.
A dry shipper is a cryotank that safely transports biological material and samples at cryogenic temperatures. The pharmaceutical sector stores vapor phase cryogenics for transport, with larger models having additional features. You can fit optional storage accessories to the shippers, mainly a blood bag rack with temperature loggers or a five-shelved rack box with temperature loggers.
Dry shippers have a unique insulation material that absorbs the liquid nitrogen, preventing any spills if the package tips. To use the dry shipper, slowly fill it with liquid nitrogen until it reaches the neck. Replace the cap, set the container away, and observe the manufacturer specifications, such as the charging period.
The containers feature an intrinsic cryo-absorbent material and have fast liquid fill times. They conform to International Air Transportation Association (IATA) Shipping Regulation 2022 and are fully CE marked.
Cryogenic liquid containers provide an ideal solution if you need to transport personal IVF samples or the entire research laboratory. Whether shipping across town or to different continents, you can get a cryogenic shipping container for your needs by following the tips above. Overall, ensure that the container can maintain low temperatures throughout the shipment process and keep it upright to increase its hold time. Some shipping cryogenic containers have advanced technology, allowing charging for less than two hours and making the shipment process more efficient.