The global health community is racing to deliver as many doses as possible of coronavirus vaccine by the beginning of 2021. The vaccine will require specialized packaging and refrigerant mats designed to maintain the vaccine at a specific temperature range during shipping.
After stepping up production from 40-hour work weeks on their existing Vertical Form, Fill, and Seal (VFFS) machines to 168-hour weeks, one company reached out to Winpak Lane for an additional machine to produce refrigerant mats as the distribution chain ups its requirements.
Read the updates on the vaccine: In the News: COVID-19 Vaccine Logistics
Stepping up by stepping back
To fulfill the unexpected demand for a machine to support COVID-19 vaccine shipment, Winpak Lane–a provider of flexible packaging, rigid packaging and lidding, and packaging machinery–along with Branded Sanitizer Packets (BSP)–a provider of custom single-use gel sanitizer packets to retail, food service, hospitality, government agencies, and others–agreed to push back BSP’s delivery date of a machine designed to increase the company’s capacity and offer key product enhancements.
BSP had spent the previous six months customizing its new machine with Winpak engineers. Losing its spot in line also meant a setback to BSP’s fourth quarter plans. But Matt Miller, CEO of Branded Sanitizer Packets, says, “When I received the call from Mark Griffin at Winpak Lane, the decision to help by delaying delivery of our machine was easy. After all, our idea was born to support our world’s growing need, and there is no greater need right now than a vaccine.”
Shipping mats with phase-change technology
Winpack Lane re-engineered its packaging technology–which allows specifically blended sealant to seal through liquid inside the container to maintain optimal liquid distribution–in order to meet specific conditions relevant to the coronavirus vaccine. The refrigerant shippers are designed for a specific size, based on how many BTUs of cooling capability they need to have.
While Winpack’s California location produced the mats, its Winnipeg, Canada location ramped up production to provide massive quantities of high-barrier film that would be needed to support the shipping mat production.
Learn how COVID-19 has affected Food and Pharma with COVID-19’s Trace on Food and Pharma Logistics
A win-win-win effort
Winpack Lane has compensated BSP through a change in payment terms, delaying most of the balance until just before the replacement machine is ready to ship. In addition, Winpak will continue to be the source of packaging materials used to create the finished products, designed with a specialized configuration to hold the vaccine liquid.