List of Articles in the Category Refrigerators

Essential Features for Scientific Refrigerators

Scientific Refrigerators from Norlake

Scientific refrigerators have essential design and performance features that support their ability to safely store temperature sensitive biologicals, pharmaceuticals and similar products under exacting conditions.  At Tovatech we suggest customers consider scientific refrigerators such as the Norlake Select series an investment to protect valuable and sometimes irreplaceable contents from temperature excursions that would render them useless.   

How Scientific Refrigeration Equipment Works

Video on How Scientific Refrigeration Works

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Many of our posts on scientific refrigeration equipment focus on selecting correct scientific refrigerator and scientific freezer units, and the importance of temperature control, monitoring and alarming systems that protect valuable vaccines, biological specimens and similar temperature-sensitive materials.

It might be a stretch to liken laboratory,  pharmacy and scientific refrigeration equipment purchases with automobile purchases where the savvy buyer is interested in “what’s under the hood?”  Nevertheless we post this post on what’s “under the cabinet” of your scientific refrigerator or freezer.  Our point is to point out how these units protect your investment in their contents.

Your take-away is a better understanding about how refrigeration works, which type of lab refrigerator or freezer to buy, how to maintain it, and where to set it up to get the best performance. 

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

How to Prep your Lab Refrigerator for Hot Weather

Is your healthcare facility prepared for an outage?

Is your healthcare facility prepared for an outage?

Gershwin’s Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy from “Porgy and Bess” does not apply to the safekeeping of pharmaceuticals and other temperature-sensitive products in the lab refrigerator.  In addition to high ambient temperatures (air conditioning notwithstanding) the good old summertime is typified by electrical storms that may result in power outages taking out not only the air conditioning but power to lab refrigerators and lab freezers.

Power Outage Planning for Laboratory Refrigerators

Planning for power outages appears frequently in our posts dealing with vaccine refrigeration and the vaccines for children program.  Emergency generators provide the best assurance of power continuation in the event of long outages such as occasioned by hurricanes. These units should be tested on a regular basis to assure they are ready to power up immediately when public power fails.

Healthcare facilities unequipped with backup generators should have plans … Read the rest

Meeting JCAHO Requirements for Refrigerated Storage

The Secure Guard II door lock

The Secure Guard II door lock

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 … Read the rest

Vaccine Refrigerators Slow Down MMR Outbreak

A recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that health care professionals who treated children in a small New York community with an additional dose of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine likely halted an outbreak of mumps in 2009 and 2010. The vaccines, which children receive at 12-15 months and 4-6 years of age, are stored in specially-designed refrigerators that allow for the preservation of the materials,while not allowing them to become so cold that they lose their effectiveness

Close Contact Led to Outbreak
mmrChildren who attended a religious camp in the state’s Catskill Mountains were often in close one-on-one contact with study partners in classes known as “chavrusas”. A study found that the close contact led to an outbreak of mumps in the small, insular Jewish community. Although medical records showed that the children did receive both the recommended vaccine and the … 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

Hospital Freezers Enable Biobanking Efforts

For decades, hospitals and clinics have stored blood in refrigerators and freezers for later use. These blood supplies are stored with care as to their type (A, B, AB, O), Rh factor (positive or negative), composition (red blood cells, plasma, platelets) and other criteria. In today’s medical facilities, many scientists are taking a similar approach to their biological samples by cataloging the biological samples in their cold storage units with a higher degree of specificity. These efforts have started a movement known as “biobanking”.

What is Biobanking?
biobankingIn hospitals around the world, doctors and other professionals have attempted to gather, store and dispense biological samples for scientific inquiry and diagnostic improvements. The facilities can preserve samples of blood, tissue, urine, saliva, DNA and other biological materials in their freezers for long periods of time, but only lately have they made strides toward tracking and cataloging these precious materials. These efforts … Read the rest

Deep Freeze: Medical Freezer Stores Cancer-Eating Virus

In a story that sounds much like a paperback medical thriller, a scientists in Sweden has reportedly developed a virus that targets some of the most deadly and aggressive forms of cancer. Professor Magnus Essand of the Uppsala University Hospital has conducted laboratory tests on a virus known as adenovirus serotype 5, in which he has altered the virus’s genetic code and programmed it to attack cells that produce tumors in the neuroendocrine system. Dr Essand currently stores his virus samples in a small laboratory freezer outside his office, waiting for the chance to conduct full-scale clinical trials.

cancer-eating-virusNeuroendocrine tumors (or NETs) attack several organs in the body, including many of the endocrine glands responsible for the production of hormones. NETs can also be traced as cause of several types of cancer, such as those of the liver, breast, and thyroid gland. One of the most publicized and aggressive forms … Read the rest

Medical Refrigerators Preserve Expensive, Life-Saving Pharmaceuticals

Many vital pharmaceuticals cannot be stored in the ordinary bathroom medicine cabinet. These important drugs must be stored in temperature-controlled conditions to preserve their potency and efficacy. Some medications, such as injectable vaccines and insulin for diabetics, consist of biological components and would risk spoilage if they are kept near room temperature. Others, such as chemotherapy drugs for cancer patients, must also be kept at cooler temperatures to prevent chemical breakdown.

Examples of Refrigerated Pharmaceuticals
Several different types of medication require that they be kept under refrigeration. The temp-controlapplications of these drugs can range from antibiotics to eye drops. Some of these pharmaceuticals include:

  • Benzamycin (topical antibiotic; treats acne)
  • Cipro (anti-bacterial; prevents and treats anthrax)
  • DDAVP (treats excess thirst and urination in diabetics)
  • Fortovase (HIV treatment)
  • Leukeran (leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment)
  • Miacalcin (osteoporosis treatment)
  • Norditropin (growth hormone deficiency treatment)
  • Regranex (skin ulcer treatment gel)
  • Vepesid (treatment for small cell
Read the rest