News Items - International Association of Packaging Research Institutes
Topa designs thermal shipping system for pharmaceuticals

The Topa Institute in the Netherlands has developed and tested a thermal packaging system for palletised loads which, it says, improves bulk pharmaceutical distribution, especially by air.

Connex Overwrap addresses many of the issues associated with current systems, says technical solution manager Maarten Kleverlaan. He describes the structure of a typical pallet system: “The refrigerants are placed in the middle of the side panels. That’s not where you need the refrigerants. You need them in the corners and at the edges, as that’s where most of the heat transfer happens.”
 
The Connex refrigerant-containing corners are made from water-resistant corrugated board, and contain recyclable PE bottles with water. Depending on customer needs, refrigerants can be replaced with ‘fillers’ such as EPS or further corrugated layers. The top and bottom panels have added insulation.
 
Sustainability benefits include the fact that each component can be separated and recycled. “But mostly, it saves a lot of CO2 in transport by air, as its so much smaller and lighter compared with existing solutions,” Kleverlaan tells IAPRI.
 
“The total cost per shipment can be reduced by a minimum of 35%,” he adds. “Most of the time, by a lot more.”
 
Quantifying the space-saving element, Topa explains that, put simplistically, where four planes might be required for a given amount of product packaged using existing technologies, the same amount in Connex Overwrap would require only three planes.
 
The system’s CO2 savings apply even when each unit is only used once on an international flight, Kleverlaan says, “But it is robust enough for reuse.”
 
 
 

Published: 07/26/22