Cold Chain Forum showcases new products, services


Tracking systems dominate product introductions

The IQPC GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Global Forum, now in its 12th year, has become the centerpiece for activities related to temperature-controlled movement of life sciences and medical products in North America. Held on Sept. 29-Oct. 3 in Boston, the meeting attracted several hundred attendees and about 80 exhibitors, ranging from air carriers to providers of thermal blankets, and all manner of containers, insulation systems and electronics in between.

A dominant theme at this year's meeting is the proliferation of tracking systems (with or without the accompanying dataloggers and communication devices) offered by different parts of the cold chain system: datalogger manufacturers; logistics providers; air carriers and trucking companies; and then a handful of communication providers who position themselves, generally with a cloud-based offering, as "open" systems into which most equipment and service providers can link. A hallmark of the new generational of such services is to provide real-time monitoring and updates, as opposed to downloading a recorded event history after a shipment is completed.

Examples of the IT (or IT plus datalogger) offerings include:

  • Sensitech (Beverly, MA) which is progressing in combining its temperature and condition monitoring services with cargo-security services offered by its FreightWatch subsidiary, under the IT platform branded as ColdStream;
  • Elpro (Marietta, OH), which combines sensor readings from its Libero dataloggers with the LiberoManager IT system; the latest innovation is to enable calculation of stability budgets for a shipment (so hat temperature excursions, if they occur, can be evaluated as a risk to the integrity of the shipment);
  • DeltaTrak (Pleasanton, CA) has combined its ColdTrak data service for products in transit with a new FlashTrak system for stationary settings in manufacturing and storage, thus creating what it calls an "all in one" data archive.
  • Dyzle (Allmere, Netherlands) has a cloud-based, global IT platform for providing real-time tracking; it has now been extended to incorporate smartphones both as dataloggers for last-mile delivery and as a communications interface for reporting shipment status;
  • Berlinger & Co (Ganterschwil, Switzerland) has partnered with another European firm, Antaris Solutions, to provide Smartview, a data-manaagment system for documenting shipments, with features for minimizing the time spent on analyzing incidental temperature excursions;
  • Pelican BioThermal (Torrance, CA), the new corporate identity for what now consitutes Pelican, Minesota Thermal and Cool Logistics, is promoting ProEnvision, an "asset management" IT system that essentialy incorporates the tracking of reusable insulation containers along with shipments of products;
  • Cryoport (Lake Forest, CA) now offers Cryoportal Logistics Management, an IT system for tracking shipments, collecting necessary documentation and managing the return of the company's cryogenic containers.

With the proliferation of services, (especially those operating in real time), the question becomes, whose service to use? And, related to that is the question of whether data will be freely conveyed from one system to another. Some of the service providers at the Forum indicated that creating interfaces to other IT systems will be driven by customer demand; but there were also signs that some providers want to establish an proprietary position as the industry data provider to which others will need to link. Also--specific to the life sciences indsutry--somewhere along the way, one or more of these data providers will need to ensure the ability to comply with 21 CFR Part 11, FDA's set of requirements for data integrity and authenticity.

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