18. September 2017

Just what are Water Blankets?

We often hear this question when we present our innovative product to customers.

The answer is really quite simple: Water Blankets are long blankets made of flexible gel packs, 38 cm wide and of variable length. Typically, the length is between 250 and 400 cm. These blankets have small chambers, approx. 5 x 17 cm, in which the cooling gel is stored.

What is the purpose of Water Blankets?

The European Good Distribution Practices (GDP) for the dispatch of medicinal products include stipulations that pharmaceutical products may not be exposed during distribution to temperature peaks that are detrimental to product quality. In particular, the interfaces during airfreight (known as the ‘apron situation’) are a major challenge in complying with these directives. Normally, pharmaceutical consignors use thermal hoods to shield sensitive products from ambient temperatures that are too high (or too low).

A particular problem with pallets of pharmaceutical products, however, is that they often have a very low weight (imagine a sales package with just a few blistered tablets or a single syringe). This makes it difficult to maintain a constant temperature because to heat one litre of air by 1°C, it only takes 0.03% of the energy needed to heat one litre of water by 1°C.

In practice, this can lead to occasional temperature deviations, even when thermal hoods are used. One way of preventing these deviations is by using increasingly thicker thermal hoods or even pallet shippers, thick-walled packaging made of EPS or PU. But this means disproportionately high costs for the consignors on the one hand, while on the other hand there is far too much material used.

We developed Water Blankets specifically to solve this conundrum. They go directly to the root of the problem: they bring the necessary thermal mass exactly where it is needed, directly to the outside of the goods – and on all sides of the pallet. Another practical consideration is that it is not necessary to specifically precondition the water blankets for typical loads in ‘ambient’ or ‘controlled room temperature’ ranges. They can simply be stored in the general storage area at approx. 20°C room temperature. A thermal hood from the ECO-SAFE series is simply pulled over the Water Blankets to produce an efficient, reflective insulation layer.

This solution has been scientifically proven and found to be effective, while our satisfied customers confirm that the theory translates into practice, with dramatically reduced work- and cost-intensive temperature deviations on distribution routes.

back to overview