Composite vaccine shipment container incorporates Diab structural core

The Envirotainer RAP e2 container is being used to ship COVID-19 vaccines globally.


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composite COVID-19 shipping container
Photo Credit: Diab

With support from engineers at structural core specialist Diab (Helsingborg, Sweden), pharmaceutical air freight solutions provider Envirotainer (Sollentuna, Sweden) has developed a temperature-controlled air cargo container called the RAP e2 that is now being deployed for safe transportation of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.

According to Diab, the companies have been working closely together for more than 10 years. During the development of the RAP e2 container, the team decided to replace the more traditional aluminum/polyurethane foam (PUR) construction with sandwich composites using Diab structural core, for improved thermal, structural and impact performance.

The result, Diab reports, is a container that offers almost twice the insulation value compared to the equivalent aluminum/PUR container, reducing the size of the battery pack for the temperature control system. The interior temperature can be maintained at a constant temperature (from -20 to +40°C [-13 to +104°F]) throughout the container’s journey. Full-scale tests have also shown that it can withstand more than a 23-ton static load on its roof.

Because of the sandwich composite design, the Envirotainer engineers were also able to develop a vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) manufacturing process that enables efficient series production of the containers while maximizing the properties of the sandwich composites. Diab delivers the composite sandwich core as kits with pre-cut parts, making the production of RAP e2 more efficient and contributing to making it easier to increase volumes efficiently.

“Envirotainer is proud to be part of the efforts to transport both ongoing COVID-19 trial shipments as well as the upcoming global shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine,” says Bernt Anderberg, CTO at Envirotainer. “Working together with partners like Diab helps us deliver a safe and secure solution for the life-saving medicines that people depend upon.”