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What is Cold Chain Testing?

Cold Chain testing refers to a temperature-controlled supply chain for the storage and distribution of products where specific temperatures are required to be maintained. The temperatures required are specific to the product. The controlled temperature can be frozen (typically -5°C to -40°C), refrigerated (2-8°C) or warmer conditions.

Test chambers are used to simulate temperatures that a package may encounter during distribution. Package performance testing is a key aspect of product development. Cold chain testing is performed on a variety of packaged products from food, drug products to DNA tissue samples.

Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical products also need to meet special requirements in order to be transported in accordance with the FDA. This means that the packaging and products inside need to survive truck, plane, distribution plant, storage, etc., all while ensuring that the products maintain their required temperatures.

Assuming that the product has been delivered within the required temperature range is no longer an option, it must be proven. This is driving an increase in testing and test chamber opportunities. During testing customers use thermocouples or data loggers to measure the temperatures within the product to determine what that the product encounters during the distribution in order to ensure that it is still viable for use by the end user.

There are many test specifications outlined by American Society for Tests and Measurements (ASTM) and the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA). The most common ASTM specification for test chambers are procedures D4169 and D7386 and ISTA 7D and 7E, which are designed to simulate the temperature of each potential transport scenario in every part of the world.

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