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Active, Passive, Hybrid: Deep-Frozen Containers Explained


Active, Passive, Hybrid: Deep-Frozen Containers Explained

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Cold chain logistics require special containers – secure vessels capable of maintaining low temperatures and the right humidity. This can be achieved through various technologies, thus dividing deep-frozen containers into different types: active, passive, and hybrid. How are they different and which one is the best? Find out below!

The Three Types of Deep Frozen Containers

Transporting genetic material, vaccines, or foods is often a lengthy process. The products are firstly shipped by aircraft and then distributed through ground transportation. This imposes a crucial requirement on the deep-frozen containers: they need to be able to maintain the right conditions inside them for long periods of time.

There are different ways through which this can be achieved, thus the division between the vessels themselves. So, what are the types of deep-frozen containers, and how do they work?

  • Active containers – These use electrical cooling systems to maintain the proper temperature. They also may utilize extra measures, such as dry ice or ice blocks to enhance their effectiveness further. They are called active since they are rechargeable.
  • Passive containers – Instead of using electricity, passive containers rely on a limited amount of coolants, such as frozen gel packs or dry ice. Often, they may also run on phase-change materials (PCM).
  • Hybrid containers – They are the golden means between active and passive containers. They have a long independent runtime like passive vessels, but can also be recharged like active ones. Hybrid containers use PCM as their cooling system but are designed for it to charge when placed in a temperature range corresponding to the initial cool of the PCM.

Which Deep-Frozen Containers Are Better?

With hybrid containers combining the best of both worlds, they naturally seem the ideal choice. However, there are few companies manufacturing them, so they might often be inaccessible and a bit more expensive.

Which ones to select when you have to make the choice between active and passive deep-frozen containers? For shorter routes, opt for passive ones, for longer transportation, utilize the active ones.

The Takeaway

What are the three types of deep-frozen containers? Active, passive, and hybrid. The first use electricity to maintain proper conditions, thus being reliant on energy outlets; the second may work independently of any energy source, but thus their runtime is limited; the third of this group can do both since they recharge their PCM in cold rooms. Which ones are the best? In our opinion, the hybrid containers.