Tag Archives: scientific refrigerator

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

Blood Storage Refrigerator Specifications

The Norlake undercounter blood bank refrigerator with temperature chart recorder.

The Norlake undercounter blood bank refrigerator with temperature chart recorder.

The Code of Federal Regulations CFR 640.4 (h) provides guidelines for blood storage immediately after collection.  Unless it is to be further processed, blood storage should be at temperatures between 1 and 6⁰C.   Blood storage refrigerators should be designed in such a way to maintain these tight temperature tolerances.  Added useful capabilities are alerting personnel in the event of temperature excursions and automatically recording the unit’s internal temperature for record keeping.

Examples of Blood Bank Refrigerators

Examples of scientific refrigerators ideal for blood storage are Nor-Lake units available from Tovatech.  These auto-defrost units range in size from a 4.2 cubic foot, 4-drawer undercounter unit to 1, 2  and 3-door upright models with 24, 33, 52 and 80 cubic feet of storage capacity.  These refrigerators meet AABB, ANRC and FDA requirements

All models feature glass doors to facilitate content monitoring and … 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

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

The SA10WRDT auto-defrost medical refrigerator

The SA10WRDT auto-defrost medical refrigerator

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 … 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

The NIST-calibrated DL2 temperature logger kit

The NIST-calibrated DL2 temperature logger kit

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.… Read the rest

Compact Vaccine Refrigerators Meet Tight State Regs

Interior of the 2.5 cubic foot SA511LBI vaccine refrigerator

Interior of the 2.5 cubic foot SA511LBI vaccine refrigerator

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 … Read the rest

Vaccine Storage Tips Refresher

Proper storage helps ensure a potent vaccine

Proper storage helps ensure a potent vaccine

As we head into the 2015-2016 flu season healthcare professionals should take a vaccine storage tips refresher to help ensure they not only have the anticipated dosages in stock but also review their vaccine storage procedures.
Here are some suggestions.

Vaccine Stock Management

Let’s start with stock management for vaccine storage. The CDC’s Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit states that healthcare professionals should order and stock sufficient supplies to meet patient needs, taking into account the ages and types of patients they typically serve. A 60-day supply is suggested with a 30-day reordering threshold. Try to avoid last-minute or rush orders. This admittedly is a balancing act because too large a supply risks loss due to expiration or vaccines compromised due to power outages or mechanical failure of the storage unit. More on this below.

Vaccine stock supplies relate directly to the capacity … Read the rest