Alert: Packaging World now enhanced for the iPad and iPhone. Watch a quick video preview
 
Download this free, 80-page Food Safety Playbook jam-packed with strategies for success, best practices, how to ensure compliance with FSMA, and pitfalls to avoid. Written specifically from a packaging perspective  Learn more >>
 
Article |

Military cold chain combats global fronts

 
Print Reprint
FILED IN:  Applications  > Beverage  > Wine
     

When the H1N1 “swine flu” vaccines become available, quantities will be limited. If product fails during cold chain distribution, replacement vaccine availability will be uncertain. This situation puts the heat on the U.S. military to make sure that packaged medication for troops stays within its appropriate temperature range as it’s shipped globally through a complex distribution chain fraught with demanding temperature and humidity conditions.

Dana L. Dallas should know. She’s the vaccine/cold chain program manager at the Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia. Dallas delivered a presentation entitled, “Examining the Impact of Packaging and Shipping on Supply Chain Integrity for Vaccines and Challenging Destinations,” on Sept. 21. Her workshop presentation served as a pre-conference event for the 7th Cold Chain Distribution for Pharmaceuticals in Philadelphia. Here are some takeaways from her presentation:

• “Customers” include all military branches around the globe. These can include hospitals, warships, and in-field units. Warships and in-field units are typically on the move and cannot be served via normal shipping services. Orders are seasonal in many cases, and often they include no advanced notice. In war times, the challenge becomes even greater as military aircraft used to ship products to such outposts are often diverted for combat purposes.
• Dallas cautioned against the use of dry ice as it’s considered hazardous cargo and can’t be used in Guam, a major military center.
• Cold chain shipments often go out “blind,” she said. “We hope carriers follow instructions and customers know how to store and use them. We know that sometimes medications are stored in the same place as sandwiches. We’ve also seen lengthy delays due to hurricanes where product has had to sit in the plane’s belly for days until the weather clears.”
• “Product packaging must be disposable,” she said. “Cold chain distribution advances have come a long ways in the 10 years I’ve been here. Phase-change materials are a great example of improving technology, but there are greater costs and price is a big-time deciding factor for us.”
• Regular turnover of military personnel with packaging responsibilities means packaging must be easy to use, and teaching such personnel how to use the packaging must not complicated.
• She recommended that product manufacturers include validated packaging and temperature-monitoring processes in all long-term contract requirements.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dallas commended several cold chain suppliers, whose products are being used for military shipments. They included TempTale monitors from Sensitech, thermal pallet shippers for air shipments from AcuTemp , and coordinated efforts to battle pandemic situations with FedEx Custom Critical .

Although costs continue to be a primary driver in cold chain packaging considerations, Dallas said price alone doesn’t always dictate decisions. She pointed to several cold chain packaging options now under consideration by the military in which cost concerns were secondary or tertiary.

She finished her presentation with a “wish list” that included product manufacturers supplying the military with reliable stability study data—including the use of temperature-monitoring devices in all manufacturer shipments.

Comments(0)

Add new comment

E-BOOK SPECIAL REPORT
42 Best Package Designs
Sign up to receive timely updates from our editors and download this e-book consisting of our editors' picks of most notable package designs. Updated for 2014!
x

Newsletters

Don't miss intelligence crucial to your job and business!
Click on any newsletter to view a sample. Enter your email address below to sign up!
GENERAL INTEREST
PACKAGE DESIGN/DEVELOPMENT
Each newsletter ranges in frequency from once per month to a few times per month at most.