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Temperature-Controlled Packaging: Single-use VS Reusable

1. Life Sciences Overview

Royale International is a global leader in the provision of temperature-controlled deliveries for the Life Science and Pharmaceutical industries. Our Life Sciences Division is compliant with Good Distribution Practice (GDP) regulations worldwide which enables us to offer patient-centric, quality-driven and tailormade logistics solutions.  

Driven by excellence, we provide specialist expertise in the packaging and transportation of temperature-sensitive biological products to various hospitals, labs, blood banks, universities and doctor’s offices over the world.  

Here are the wide range of temperature-controlled pharmaceutical products that we transport: 

  • Life-saving live organs (e.g., Bone marrow) 
  • Pre-clinical trials/ Clinical trials (Phase 1 – 3) 
  • Blood samples 
  • Active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) 
  • Drug development & commercial medicines. 

2. Temperature-Controlled Packaging

Packaging is a fundamental part of temperature-controlled shipments as it ensures product integrity and mitigates potential quality risks throughout the journey. Furthermore, it helps to maintain the required temperature of products regardless of external environment. Apart from Credo Cubes/ CoolGuard™ PCM/ Advance boxes, two important elements are needed for temperature-controlled shipments: 

  • Phase-changing materials (PCMs) 
  • Vacuum Isolated Panels (VIPs) 

2.1 Credo Cubes

Credo Cubes are used to protect valuable Life Sciences products at the right temperature. They are reusable packaging solutions and made of white plastics. They can maintain a stable temperature between 48 to 168 hours. Most logistics companies offer a wide range of cube sizes, materials, time span and temperature ranges, depending on the shipment requests. Credo Cubes are frequently used to transport sensitive medical shipments as they are reliable and able to provide a temperature-controlled environment throughout the transport of the shipment. 

2.2 CoolGuard™ PCM/ Advance

CoolGuard™ PCM/ Advance boxesare used to safeguard Life Sciences products without temperature excursions. Unlike Credo Cubes, CoolGuard™ PCM/ Advance boxes are single-use packaging solutions and made of kraft. They can maintain a stable temperature between 48 to 120 hours.

2.3 Phase-changing materials (PCMs)

Phase-changing materials (PCMs)are thermal storage substances that absorb sufficient energy and provide heat at the phase change temperature (PCT). They are placed into the Credo Cubes/ CoolGuard™ PCM/ Advance boxes to avoid temperature excursions. There are 4 important steps to precondition PCMs for Life Sciences shipments (take Credo Cube™ Series 4 (2-8°C) as an example):

STEP 1: Placing PCMs in a freezer (-18c and below) for a minimum of 24 hours.

STEP 2: Laying the PCMs flat in room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.

STEP 3: Verifying the PCMs’ temperature with the Temperature Infra-Red gun to ensure the temperature is between 3 to 4.5°C.

STEP 4: Assembling the packaging and placing the outer carton, package insulated base, PCMs, product, package insulated lid and temperature data logger accordingly.   

 2.4 VIP Panels

Vacuum Insulated Panels (VIP) provide a high degree of thermal resistance. They block the external temperature from getting into the Credo Cubes/ CoolGuard™ PCM/ Advance boxes.

3. Single-Use VS Reusable Temperature-Controlled Packaging

Single-use boxes are equivalent to CoolGuard™ PCM/ Advance boxes, while reusable boxes indicate Credo Cubes (Please refer to 2.1 and 2.2). The table below clearly illustrates the differences between these two boxes.

3.1 The cost-effectiveness of single use versus reusable temperature-controlled packaging

Single-use boxes are more cost-effective than reusable boxes due to the different materials used in the packaging. Consequently, this leads to a difference in shipment validation leading to a difference in temperature.

Single-use boxes (CoolGuard™ PCM/ Advance boxes) are made of kraft and can maintain a stable temperature for 48 to 120 hours. On the flipside, reusable boxes (Credo Cubes) are made of white plastics and can maintain a stable temperature for 48 to 168 hours. Due to the difference in material used, the cost of single-use boxes is approximately a third of reusable ones. Despite the impact of packaging material, the total cost of shipping depends on various other factors such as; box dimensions, volume ratios, weight, validation time, shipment routing and destinations.

3.2 Environment versus cost-effectiveness

Compared to single-use boxes, reusable boxes are more environmentally-friendly. Instead of utilising new boxes for each shipment, reusable packaging can be used which eventually cuts down production processes, manpower and carbon footprints.

In terms of reusable packaging, cleaning needs to be conducted in accordance with GDP guidelines. Credo Cubes need to be cleaned with a damp towel with warm water and soap or alcohol (70/30 mix alcohol to water). After drying the boxes, they can be ready for the next shipment.

Throughout the process, this reusable cycle reduces waste, greenhouse gases and pollution. Most importantly, this helps to protect the environment.

Please click here to understand more about our Life Sciences services!

Our dedicated team understands the critical nature of the industry and ensures your shipment arrives at the right time, right place and its required temperature range!

Appendixes (Temperature-Controlled Packaging)

Type of Credo Cube Credo Cube™ Series 4
Credo Cube™ Series 22
Credo Cube™ Series 20M (–18°C)  
Credo Cube™ Series 4 (2-8°C)  Size (Liter)Internal Dimensions (mm)External Dimensions (mm)Gross Weight (kg)  Validation Time
 2L152x 127x 108  235x 210x 2033.348
 2L152x 127x 108  276x 251x 2414.472
 3L130x 130x 130  318x 267x 2796120
 4L150x 150x 150  381x 343x 3499.1120
 4L150x 150x 150  318x 267x 279596
 10L216x 216x 216  381x 343x 34911120
 12L226x 226x 226  381x 343x 3491096
 12L226x 226x 226  457x 429x 43216.3120
 16L254x 254x 254  419x 375x 3811196
 16L254x 254x 254  464x 432x 44517168
 28L305x 305x 305  457x 419x 43216.396
 28L305x 305x 305  540x 495x 50225.4168
 42L457x 305x 305  616x 419x 4322196
 56L381x 381x 381  540x 495x 50224.596
 96L457x 457x 457  762x 660x 7183796
Credo Cube™ Series 22 (15-25°C)Size (Liter)Internal Dimensions (mm)External Dimensions (mm)Gross Weight (kg)  Validation Time
 2L152x 127x 108  276x 251x 2414.448
 2L150x 150x 150  318x 267x 2795.496
 4L150x 150x 150  381x 343x 3499168
 10L216x 216x 216  381x 343x 34911120
 12L226x 226x 226  381x 343x 3491096
 12L226x 226x 226  457x 429x 43216168
 16L254x 254x 254  419x 375x 38111.396
 28L305x 305x 305  457x 419x 43216.396
 28L305x 305x 305  540x 495x 50225144
 56L381x 381x 381  540x 495x 5022496
Credo Cube™ Series 20M(-18°C)  Size (Liter)Internal Dimensions (mm)External Dimensions (mm)Gross Weight (kg)  Validation Time
 3L130x 130x 130  318x 267x 279796
 4L150x 150x 150318x 267x 279  672
 4L150x 150x 150381x 343x 349  1096
 8L282x 165x 165  445x 286x 2922072
 12L226x 226x 226381x 343x 349  1296
 12L226x 226x 226  457x 419x 43219168
 16L254x 254x 254  419x 375x 3811496
 16L254x 254x 254  464x 432x 44520168
 28L305x 305x 305  457x419x 4322096
 56L381x 381x 381  540x 495x 5023096
 56L305x 305x 305  540x 495x 50230168

Type of CoolGuard PCM BoxCoolGuard™ PCM Series 4
CoolGuard™ PCM Series 22
CoolGuard™ PCM
Series 4
Size (Liter)Internal Dimensions (mm)External Dimensions (mm)Gross Weight (kg)  Validation Time
 6L180x 180x 180  395x 395x 3974.348
 6L180x 180x 180395x 395x 397  572
 12L230x 230x 230  445x 445x 4496.348
 12L230x 230x 230  445x 445x 449872
 28L297x 297x 305  515x 515x 5189.448
 28L297x 297x 305  515x 515x 5181272
 56L381x 381x 381  601x 601x 60813.848
 56L381x 381x 381  601x 601x 6081872
 96L457x 457x 457  677x 677x 68819.248
 96L457x 457x 457  677x 677x 6882572
CoolGuard™ PCM
Series 22
Internal Dimensions (mm)External Dimensions (mm)Gross Weight (kg)  Validation Time
 6L180x 180x 180  395x 395x 397572
 12L230x 230x 230445x 445x 449872  
 28L297x 297x 305515x 515x 5181272  
 56L381x 381x 381601x 601x 6081872  
 96L457x 457x 457677x 677x 6882572  

Type of CoolGuard Advance BoxCoolGuard™ Advance Series 4
CoolGuard™ Advance Series 22
CoolGuard™ Advance Series 20M
CoolGuard™ Advance
Series 4
Size (Liter)Internal Dimensions (mm)External Dimensions (mm)Gross Weight (kg)  Validation Time
 4L152x 152x 152310x 310x 3124120
 12L230x 230x 230  395x 395x 3959120
 28L300x 300x 300  460x 460x 47014120
 56L381x 381x 381  550x 550x 55022120
 96L457x 457x 457626x 626x 62630120
CoolGuard™ Advance
Series 22
Size (Liter)Internal Dimensions (mm)External Dimensions (mm)Gross Weight (kg)  Validation Time
 4L152x 152x 152310x 310x 312  4120
 12L230x 230x 230395x 395x 395  9120
 28L297x 297x 305460x 460x 470  14120
 56L381x 381x 381  552x 552x 55822120
 96L457x 457x 457  630x 630x 63630120
CoolGuard™ Advance
Series 20M
Size (Liter)Internal Dimensions (mm)External Dimensions (mm)Gross Weight (kg)  Validation Time
 4L152x 152x 152310x 310x 312  6120
 12L230x 230x 230395x 395x 395  13120
 28L300x 300x 300460x 460x 470  18120
 56L381x 381x 381552x 552x 558  27120
 96L457x 457x 457630x 630x 636  38120

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