Saving lives through innovative vaccine cold chain technology

vaccine cold chain

B Medical Systems is a global manufacturer and distributor of medical-grade devices for the vaccine cold chain, medical refrigeration and blood management systems.

B Medical Systems Sarl (formerly Dometic/Electrolux) is a global manufacturer and distributor of vaccine cold chain and medical refrigeration solutions. Based in Hosingen, Luxembourg, the company was founded in 1979, when the World Health Organization (WHO) approached the Swedish manufacturing giant Electrolux to provide a solution to safely store and transport vaccines around the world. Across the three major business portfolios of vaccine cold chain, medical refrigeration, and blood management solutions, the company currently offers over 100 models. B Medical Systems’ major products include vaccine refrigerators (ice-lined refrigerators and solar direct drive refrigerators), laboratory refrigerators, laboratory freezers, pharmacy refrigerators, ultra-low freezers, plasma freezers, contact shock freezers and transport boxes. All products have integrated, 24/7 remote monitoring capabilities that further ensure that these products offer the highest level of safety and reliability.

With 40 years’ experience, the company has created innovative solutions to store and transport vaccines, blood components, laboratory specimens etc. across the world safely and reliably. Its commitment to supporting governments, health institutions and NGOs has not only saved innumerable lives but helped communities develop and prosper.

As the established market leader in the vaccine cold chain for the past 20 years, B Medical Systems has provided equipment to support its partners in vaccinating more than 350 million children in developing countries. Through its long-lasting relationships with global humanitarian organisations such as UNICEF, the WHO, Gavi, and health ministries around the world, etc. B Medical Systems has installed more than 400,000 units across more than 130 countries around the world for safely storing and transporting vaccines, medicines, blood and other samples.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, B Medical Systems has been actively supporting governments worldwide in the establishment of their vaccine responses, by supporting the establishment of a reliable and versatile vaccine cold chain able to meet any storage temperature requirement.

B Medical Systems is also one of the first few companies to receive EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR) certification for its active refrigeration product lines across medical refrigeration and blood management business lines. B Medical Systems is also one of the few companies in the world to have an end-to-end refrigeration solution certified by EU MDR, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and WHO Performance Quality and Safety (PQS).

Vaccine cold chain

The vaccine cold chain is the speciality of B Medical Systems. Having been in this space for over 40 years and being the global leader in the vaccine cold chain industry, the company offers a multitude of products to ensure that vaccines are safe throughout all stages of storage and transport until the last mile: solar direct drive (SDD), refrigerators and ice-pack freezers, ice-lined refrigerators (ILRs) and freezers and transport boxes are all included in the company’s vaccine cold chain portfolio.

Manufactured using roto-moulding technology, these products are known for their reliability, durability, and lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) and can be used in the most remote locations.

The solar direct drive devices are built especially to be deployed in places with unreliable electricity: because they are supplied with solar panels, these products do not need any other source of energy other than the sun. By providing a stable temperature ranging from 2°C to 8°C inside their cabinets, the solar direct drive refrigerator ensures that vaccines are stored in the safest conditions. A ten-year warranty on all SDD equipment guarantees consistent support throughout the product’s life. These models also offer higher autonomy, ensuring that vaccines are stored at the right temperature even on days with minimal sunlight. For instance, the Ultra 16SDD has an autonomy, lasting up to 30 days, thereby providing a perfect solution for hard-to-reach communities with uncertain energy supplies. Additionally, this line offers the innovative health centre kit, designed to use the excess solar energy obtained via the SDD solar generators to power essential devices such as lights, a fan or medical equipment, in remote places around the world.

Ice-lined refrigerators and freezers use compressor technology and are created to provide a stable vaccine storage temperature ranging from -20°C to 8°C for all health centres, no matter their location. Similar in build to the SDD models, they work by plugging them directly into the main power outlets, but because of B Medical Systems’ innovative, integrated voltage stabilisers present in many products such as the TCW40AC or TCW80AC, they can also be deployed in areas with unstable electricity often prone to voltage spikes that would severely damage normal appliances. This line also offers the TCW3000AC, multimode vaccine refrigerator/freezer and ice-pack freezer. This product can be used to safely store vaccines at temperatures ranging from 2°C to 8°C, between -20°C and 0°C, and freezing ice packs for a range of applications, including for their use in transport boxes.

B Medical Systems offers vaccine transport boxes with vaccine storage capacities ranging from 1.04l to 20l, intended to safely carry vaccines until the last mile while preserving at temperatures in the range of -80°C to 8°C. These robust, sturdy, corrosion-free solutions are the perfect choice for the delivery of vaccinal doses in any part of the world.

Finally, the remote temperature monitoring device (RTMD) from B Medical Systems monitors the temperature inside the refrigerators and freezers and sends alerts in real-time if temperature goes outside the optimal range. These devices track the chamber temperature, outside temperature and GPS position of the unit they are attached to and then stream the data attributes via a communication network. This data is then converted and shared via a cloud-based portal for real time visibility of the performance of the units at no extra installation cost.

Medical refrigeration

B Medical Systems offers a wide range of solutions to safely store and transport any temperature-sensitive materials. Maintaining an unbroken cold chain is essential to preserve their integrity, stability, and shelf life, and the company’s refrigeration line can easily offer a reliable temperature-controlled storage environment for laboratories, hospitals, pharmacies, biorepositories, blood banks, etc., while ‘greening up’ their operations.

Laboratory and pharmacy refrigerators from B Medical Systems provide reliable storage for medicines and samples at temperatures between 4°C and 15°C. With the uniform and stable temperature distribution provided by innovative cooling technology, they are a dependable solution to ensure the safety of the products stored inside them.

Similarly, laboratory freezers were designed to preserve the integrity of valuable research and clinical samples at temperatures ranging from -20°C to -41°C. All these products feature advanced cooling systems to ensure temperature stability, uniformity, and fast recovery and the cabinets provide high thermal insulation. The portfolio also includes passive and active medical transport boxes for the safe transport of medicines and samples at temperatures ranging from -32°C to 8°C.

The medical refrigeration lines also include ultra-low temperature freezers: they provide safe and stable storage at temperatures ranging between -20°C and -86°C, which allows them to store a wide range of biologicals. They are equipped with a high-performing cooling system, implementing natural refrigerants that ensure temperature uniformity, reliability and energy efficiency.

All these products are equipped with a 24/7, real time monitoring solution (°B Connected) and meet medical device standards as defined by the EU MDR and US FDA regulations.

Blood management

Blood, blood plasma and other blood components are biological samples that can easily degrade if kept at the wrong temperatures, just like vaccines. B Medical Systems created refrigeration and transport systems that could reliably keep blood and plasma at a stable temperature to be able to support the healthcare professionals handling these types of samples.

The current blood management portfolio features a variety of products, including B Medical Systems’ blood bank refrigerators, products built to reliably keep blood samples at temperatures between 2°C and 6°C. They are used worldwide for their high reliability and energy efficiency and they are the perfect storage solution for blood banks and hospitals.

The plasma freezer line, made up of upright freezers, is specifically designed for blood banks, hospitals, clinical laboratories, and processing centres, to offer a wide variety in terms of volume storage. Moreover, these freezers can reach temperatures ranging from -20°C and -41°C, and the smart auto defrost technology ensures great overall operational efficiency, thus making them a very sustainable storage solution. Similarly, the ultra-low temperature freezer line, with models that can reach temperatures between -20°C and -86°C, can be used for the long-term storage of blood and all its components.

Blood transport boxes are also a part of this portfolio and are utilised for the safe transport of blood, plasma and other blood-related samples at temperatures ranging from -32°C to 8°C. These boxes guarantee the safety of the biologicals stored in them through all means of transportation, whether it is by road, air or rail.

Moreover, B Medical Systems’ contact shock freezers are designed for the rapid freezing of plasma. Designed with inclined freezing plates, these products ensure that the plasma is frozen to a core temperature of -30°C and below in the shortest time, thus preventing any substantial loss of Factor VIII in the frozen plasma.

All blood management products are equipped with the B Connected software and meet medical device standards as defined by the EU MDR and US FDA regulations.

COVID-19 response

COVID-19 has spread across the world for around a year and since then it has substantially changed everyone’s lives. Many countries in the world experienced partial and even total lockdowns to slow the spread of the disease, which had severe social and economic impacts. Luckily, these extreme measures will hopefully not be needed for much longer, as vaccines are now being manufactured at increasing rates to be able to immunise the world’s population and slow down the transmission of the virus.

However, having the vaccines is just one part of the solution to COVID-19. Ensuring that they reach the intended patient safely is a challenge that cannot be underestimated: if exposed to the wrong temperatures, vaccines can easily spoil and become ineffective. This is why the vaccine cold chain is extremely important, as it ensures that immunisation efforts are successful. This is especially important with the currently available COVID-19 vaccines as they have different storage temperature requirements. For example, AstraZeneca’s product requires a storage temperature ranging between 2°C and 8°C, Moderna’s doses need to be stored at -20°C and the vaccine produced together by Pfizer and BioNTech requires an ultra-low storage temperature of -70°C. On top of the different requirements in terms of temperature, the fact that many countries still do not exactly know how many vaccine doses of each type they will be supplied with and how they will ensure that the doses will reach the last mile, creating a challenging environment for governments and healthcare workers.

To support governments with their vaccination efforts, B Medical Systems set up a COVID-19 response portfolio to support vaccination efforts against this virus. This special portfolio is made up of ultra-low freezers (including the new U201 model) able to reach temperatures between -20°C and -86°C to store the most temperature sensitive vaccines, the ice-lined refrigerators and laboratory refrigerators to store doses at temperatures between 2°C and 8°C, transport boxes for the safe and reliable transport at temperatures ranging from -80°C to 8°C, and the multi-mode TCW3000AC model which can act as a vaccine refrigerator, freezer, or ice pack freezer.

With this broad portfolio, B Medical Systems has successfully supported many governments around the world including Luxembourg, France, Germany, the United States of America and Indonesia. The company is currently increasing its production capacity at its headquarters in Luxembourg and building a new production plant in India to meet the rising demand for its products.


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