Tag Archives: scientific freezer

Selecting Scientific Refrigeration Equipment

Selecting Scientific Refrigeration EquipmentScientific 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

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 … 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

How to Select Scientific Refrigeration Equipment

A 24 cubic-foot lab and pharmacy refrigerator

A 24 cubic-foot lab and pharmacy refrigerator

Facility managers responsible for ordering refrigeration equipment – refrigerators and freezers – will find a cornucopia of choices in the marketplace.  Because these refrigeration units will likely be used to store valuable products that may be highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations managers should avoid household and commercial grade refrigerators and freezers.  That’s because they generally lack the ability to maintain internal temperatures within tight limits.

To help in selecting the proper scientific refrigerator or scientific freezer we’ve separated purchase considerations into two parts.  The first deals primarily with specifying refrigeration equipment with the desired performance characteristics.  These points are covered in our post on specification guidelines.  This post describes physical characteristics to be taken into account – although some are in the guidelines post as well.

Refrigeration Storage Capacity

Refrigeration equipment for medical storage, pharmacy storage and clinical storage is produced in … Read the rest

Summer Maintenance Tips for Lab Refrigeration Equipment

Be prepared if an electrical storm knocks out your power supply.

Be prepared if an electrical storm knocks out your power supply.

Hospital pharmacies and medical clinics should take extra precautions to protect vaccines and other temperature-sensitive products during hot summer months by carefully checking their refrigeration equipment – their refrigerators and freezers – to be certain they are in top performance.  Other threats to product protection are power cutbacks due to severe demand or storm-caused outages.  Power outages, in fact, present a double whammy to healthcare facilities by knocking out air conditioning units as well as cutting power to lab refrigerators and freezers.

Maintenance and Stocking Suggestions for Lab Refrigerators

These suggestions apply to year-round operating procedures but are especially important during bouts of hot weather.

Norlake Scientific, whose products are offered by Tovatech, provides suggestions for regular equipment maintenance.  Clean condenser coils on a monthly basis to remove dust, dirt and lint that collects on them and impedes air … Read the rest

New Scientific Refrigerator Line in Stainless Steel

The new Nor-Lake Grand Series refrigerators and freezers

The new Nor-Lake Grand Series refrigerators and freezers

A new Norlake scientific refrigerator line with easily maintained stainless steel interiors and exteriors, microprocessor temperature control in selectable Centigrade (2⁰ to 10⁰) or Fahrenheit (35.6⁰ to 50⁰), continuous product temperature display, and capacities of 23, 49 and 70 cubic feet is now available from Tovatech.  A companion scientific freezer series also in 1, 2 and 3 door configurations provides storage from -13⁰ to -30⁰C (-8.6⁰ to -22⁰F).

The Nor-Lake Grand™ Series of solid-door refrigerators and freezers provide enhanced content protection with visual and audible Hi/Lo temperature alarms that activate when internal temperatures fall outside set parameters.  Additional content protection is provided by self-closing doors (with a 90⁰ stay-open feature), open door alarms that activate after 30 seconds, and magnetic door gaskets.

A further refinement on the Energy Star listed auto-defrost Grand Series is a condenser cleaning reminder alarm.  For optimum performance … Read the rest

DNA Storage in Forensic Laboratories

A 52 cubic foot Norlake Laboratory Freezer.

A 52 cubic foot Norlake Laboratory Freezer.

Temperature control is essential in many instances for DNA storage and the preservation of other evidence in forensic laboratories.  For example, an article in a 2008 issue of Evidence Technology Magazine noted that “biological specimens are becoming increasingly important in solving crimes.” The article went on to state that the best method of storage from the time of collection to initial analysis is cold storage—refrigeration or freezing – and that tissue, bones, and teeth should be kept frozen regardless of their testing and analysis status.

This begs the question what temperature?  Oxford Gene Technology in the UK published a paper on DNA storage and quality stating that there are, in general, four broad strategies for long-term DNA preservation:  room temperature on a “dry” solid matrix, -20⁰C, -80⁰C and -196°C (the latter in liquid nitrogen).

Temperature Control in Preserving DNA Evidence

A 2005 article … Read the rest

Vaccine Refrigeration Crucial as Immunization Costs Increase

Proper storage temperature is crucial to vaccine potency.

Proper storage temperature is crucial to vaccine potency.

The prices charged by pharmaceutical companies for essential vaccines are rapidly escalating according to recent press accounts.  Increasing immunization costs not only put strains on the vaccines for children program but also on an entire range of immunization programs.  For example, a pediatrician in Texas reported that the vaccines in her refrigerator cost $70,000, which is why she engaged a security company to monitor the unit.

Vaccine Refrigerators and Monitoring

Vaccine manufacturers provide information on proper storage temperatures for their products.  Should temperatures fall outside these parameters – either above or below – vaccines can lose their potency.  This represents a financial loss and the inconvenience of patients returning for a visit.   The course of action is clear given the soaring costs of immunization:  healthcare clinics cannot rely on lower cost residential refrigerators to maintain the potency of their stock.  Vaccine refrigeration … Read the rest

Improving Temperature Monitoring in Lab Freezers and Refrigerators

iLab 600 components: probe, pod, LAN connect and power source

iLab 600 components: probe, pod, LAN connect and power source

One of the most crucial aspects of storing vaccines, biological samples and other temperature-critical products is establishing and maintaining a temperature monitoring, recording and archiving system for laboratory refrigerators and laboratory freezers.  For vaccine storage alone, as an example, temperature excursions above or below recommended ranges can result in substantial financial costs due to loss of potency, and inconvenience due to re-vaccination.  

Local and remote alarming systems can be used to signal temperature excursions beyond set parameters. Ideally the lab or healthcare facility will have procedures in place to protect temperature sensitive products in such an event.  

Twice-daily manual temperature logs and automated chart recorders provide traditional paper trails to help satisfy regulatory requirements for record keeping.  Both suffer from two problems:  human error (forgot to log the temperature or change the chart paper) and archiving (where to store the … Read the rest