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Kurtz Ersa Magazine

 
 
 
Multifunctional EPP Medicine Box

Saving lives with the perfect transport box!

The transport of highly sensitive goods – such as corona vaccines or living cells – is becoming increasingly important and complex. Temperature profiles must remain within precisely defined ranges. Particle foams such as EPS or EPP are predestined for this purpose thanks to their excellent insulating properties and design possibilities. On a Kurtz T-LINE shape moulding machine, our long-standing business partner Schaumaplast produces, for example, EPP medical boxes that can be recycled several times and are multifunctional thanks to their thermosensitivity.

Multi-layer construction of the EPP box consisting of hard case, high-performance vacuum insulation panels (VIP) and six PCM batteries – ideal reusable solution even for extreme running times thanks to low cooling volume requirements
Multi-layer construction of the EPP box consisting of hard case, high-performance vacuum insulation panels (VIP) and six PCM batteries – ideal reusable solution even for extreme running times thanks to low cooling volume requirements

Kurtz GmbH has been working with particle foams for 50 years and develops customized systems for specific applications. Thanks to its own R&D Center, development work recently reached a new level – sustainable technologies such as the RF fusion process now also enable the processing of biomaterials and recycled material. Important expertise also for Schaumaplast GmbH & Co. KG.

The Nossen site in Saxony specializes in the processing of EPP and E-TPU. The particle foam experts there develop intelligent transport solutions for temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical and biotechnological products. The boxes are manufactured on Kurtz shape moulding machines – the entire Schaumaplast machine park, distributed among subsidiaries in Germany, Poland and the USA, boasts an impressive 30 Kurtz machines.

One of thirty Kurtz Moulding Machines in use at Schaumaplast GmbH & Co. KG
One of thirty Kurtz Moulding Machines in use at Schaumaplast GmbH & Co. KG

A cooperation between Schaumaplast and the biotech company Codon resulted in a multifunctional reusable packaging for the transport of thermosensitive cell material, from which a customized EPP medical box with sophisticated thermal stability emerged. The Codon cell treatment method allows cells – such as undamaged cartilage tissue from a knee – to be propagated outside the body and returned. The cells are used as the body´s own human drug and “repair” damaged cartilage tissue. To do this, the harvested live tissue must survive transport from the clinic to the lab and back. To produce the demanding medicine box core, the Kurtz EPP shape moulding machine was the perfect system.

Highly innovative packaging made of EPP for the transport of highly sensitive goods such as vaccines or living cells
Highly innovative packaging made of EPP for the transport of highly sensitive goods such as vaccines or living cells

Recyclable transport box

After a complex procedure, Codon received approval for its method in 2017 as a drug for the regenerative treatment of articular cartilage damage in the knee. The method relies on secure transport of the biopsy (removed cartilage tissue) and graft. Disposable cardboard boxes with water-based cold packs or wet ice in plastic bags were previously used to transport the biopsy and graft. Too often, however, these transports fell below the permissible temperatures and thus damaged the valuable tissue.  

The new EPP transport container, on the other hand, which copes with two temperature ranges and is also recyclable, is different. A temperature range of between 5 and 25 °C is provided for the biopsy specimen, while the transplant requires 2 to 8 °C. Different outside temperatures when shipping to cold and warm regions in the cold or warm season must not affect the packaged goods – in addition, as air freight, it must be able to withstand a pressure difference of 95 kPa and a fall from a height of 1.2 meters.

One box, two temperature ranges

ÜUsing phase change material (PCM) accumulators, i.e. hard plastic accumulators filled with special mixtures, combined with vacuum insulation panels, both temperature ranges are set in one and the same box. For biopsy transport, 4 + 2 elements with different PCM and initial 20 °C are used; for transplant, six identical PCM accumulators at initial +4 °C are used. For the special transport case of living cells, a positive melting point was required. “Various formulations were tried out for this until an optimum was found,” says Martin Raack, Key Account Manager Cold Chain at Schaumaplast.

 

Consistently high demands are placed on a box that appears simple on the outside and is produced on a precisely controllable Kurtz T-LINE shape moulding machine with a zero-defect rate. “The Schaumaplast Codon Box is an excellent EPP application example with an absolutely high-quality end product that masters a demanding task and also leaves a small CO2 footprint thanks to its reusability,” says Harald Sommer, General Manager Protective Solutions at Kurtz GmbH.

EPP site of Schaumaplast in Nossen, Saxony
EPP site of Schaumaplast in Nossen, Saxony
 
 
 

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