MTC develops high-tech vessel to store and distribute vaccines

Engineers at the Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre have developed an intelligent, temperature-controlled vessel for the storage and distribution of vaccines. The high-tech vessel ensures that vaccines are always kept at the right temperature, meaning that vital vaccines don’t go to waste.

Developed initially to store and transport temperature-sensitive Covid vaccines, the vessel can store many different types of vaccines and medical supplies. A prototype has been successfully trialled and the product is ready to be scaled up and supplied to the pharmaceutical industry.

The vessel is temperature-controlled using a process which efficiently distributes cold air throughout its compartments. It has live location and temperature tracking, allowing the distribution process to be monitored, and audited using a historic data log.

It has built-in vaccine protection with a self-closing lid and real-time condition LED indicators. Cross-vessel communication allows the units to share information and alert users to any problems.

Associate director at the MTC, Danny McGee said that using funding from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the product design team were quickly able to take the product from concept to reality.

“This product supports not only the ongoing pandemic, but also provides a solution for any temperature-critical transportable pharma goods. The product is a fine example of how innovation can have a direct and beneficial impact on society,” he said.

MTC design engineer Harmail Sandhu said that in the UK some 60 per cent of wasted vaccines were the result of fridge-related failures, and as more vaccines were produced this figure could increase if the infrastructure remained the same.

“Solving issues with vaccination distribution and storage was identified as the most impactful way the MTC could help in the fight against Covid-19. The hard work of the team has resulted in a successful outcome with the potential to make more vaccines available throughout the world by reducing wastage,” he said.

The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.

The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.

More information on the vaccine project can be found at www.the-mtc.org/vaccinevessel
Pictured: The MTC developed vaccine vessel

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