Biologistics: the challenge of refrigerated innovation

  • 25/09/23
  • 5 min

Biomedicines, blood, plasma, samples, vaccines… The number of heat-sensitive products is increasing, and their delivery conditions are becoming more and more demanding. The safety standards that guarantee the cold chain are added to the ecological pressure and energy transition issues: innovation in the cold sector is accelerating…

fraikin biologistique

Delivering quickly while guaranteeing full respect for the cold chain is the mission of all those involved in biological and pharmaceutical transport.

Since 2019 and the health crisis, the delivery of vaccines and human samples has never been so crucial. In the emergency, all the players in the chain have organised themselves to carry out the logistics as well as possible under sometimes very difficult conditions.


Biotech: accelerating health and driving innovation in the cold

800 million euros: this is the budget earmarked by the government for the “Industrialisation of health products” plan, the call for projects for which was launched by the French ministers on 25 February 2022.

This project, which is part of the France 2030 and “Innovation Santé 2030” plans , demonstrates the importance of future biotechnological advances and progress. The stakes are high: biotherapy and bioproduction of innovative therapies, the fight against emerging infectious diseases and CBRN threats (MIE-MN)*, and medical devices.


Urgency: driving innovation

Never have the technologies and the context been so favourable to health and its industrialisation. Accessibility to ZFE-m zones is increasingly challenged by the acceleration of the ecological transition, so it is necessary to think about new vehicles capable of rapidly transporting biotechnological and heat-sensitive products in urban areas with increasingly limited access.

Fraikin’s design office participates in research by confronting customer needs with the challenges of tomorrow.Ten years ago, there weren’t all the standards that we are confronted with today. Before, medicines were transported in refrigerated trailers without any special need to check the quality of the transport. Today, these medicines must be transported in a vehicle that complies with ATP, FDX 15-140, and often Certicold Pharma standards,” explains Sylvain Devienne, who is in charge of the temperature-controlled vehicle sector at Fraikin.

Cold traceability, last mile, payload, environmental impact, economic pressure: everything must be calculated to provide the customer with a turnkey fleet of vehicles. Co-construction is essential:

“I often tell our customers that it’s like building Lego,” explains Sylvain Devienne, who continues, “You have to transpose a medical need into a technical proposal/truck. The vehicle must therefore be thought of as a whole, in its construction and its use: assembling a chassis, a body, a layout, a motor technology and ensuring multi-temperature refrigeration power. All of this coupled with a telematics system that guarantees the collection of valuable data…

This is a challenge that the teams are trying to meet in the shortest possible time. “We go through an audit, construction and test phase on prototype vehicles before launching a production line. This takes about two years,” explains Sylvain Devienne.


Chronopost HealthCare: a challenge met in partnership

Every year, of the 25 million healthcare parcels handled by Chronopost Healthcare, 20% are transported under controlled temperatures. As the need grows and the temperature-controlled market prepares to see nearly 13 million parcels pass through its doors by 2025 (+17% between 2015 and 2019), the express transport giant is investing €20 million in February 2022 to boost its HealthCare unit.

Since 2016, Fraikin has been working with its partner to provide them with suitable vehicles.

A new fleet was born: Euro VI tri-temperature vehicles, with 3 compartments (-30°C, +4°C and +22°C), each equipped with a probe for better traceability. Each truck is powered by a battery-operated electrical system and is equipped with an Ozone disinfection system to guarantee perfect hygiene. All vehicles and tri-compartment equipment are certified and comply with the FDX15-140/ATP/NF EN 12830/NF EN 13486 quality standards, and have also obtained the CertiCold Pharma label.

Serge Léonio, Managing Director of Biologistic (the former name of the Chronopost HealthCare entity), explained at the start of the collaboration: “Biologistic has always put innovation at the centre of its development strategy and at the service of its customers. The three-temperature vehicle solutions developed in collaboration with Gruau and FRAIKIN now enable us to offer D+1 express transport under controlled temperatures (-25°C; 4/8°C; 15/25°C) throughout France. This will not only allow us to offer an unprecedented service to the biology sector, but also to the pharmaceutical industry and the environment.

In order to continue to perform well in the biologistics sector and to overcome the problem of delivery in urban areas, Fraikin and its partners are thinking about new developments, particularly on electric vans. The design office is currently imagining a solution to equip this type of vehicle with a tri-temperature cell, better suited to delivery in increasingly regulated urban areas. “We are now faced with the problem of payload, particularly with electric vehicles. We are therefore constantly thinking about new solutions, because the ZFE-m without diesel engines is tomorrow!” recontextualises Sylvain Devienne.


Telematics: a source of data for a state-of-the-art supply chain

A lot of valuable data comes from the transport of a heat-sensitive product. Travel time, temperature monitoring, number of kilometres travelled, weight transported…

All this data is collected and put into perspective in a continuous improvement process. In the era of the smart supply, which enables all the links in the logistics chain to communicate for obvious information sharing, it goes without saying that data collection is no longer an option in order to guarantee the traceability and safety of the heat-sensitive products transported.

In brief

In full expansion, biologistics has not finished shaking up innovation in refrigeration and the supply chain. A growing market, a pressurisation resulting from the energy transition already underway: all the players in the sector are mobilising to perform, together, taking the direction of digitalisation of operations, increasing information sharing and a collaborative dynamic.

As companies and laboratories in the biotech and medtech markets become more and more efficient, the entire transport and logistics chain must keep pace. Fraikin contributes to this by offering its partners fleets of vehicles designed to ensure the transport of heat-sensitive products in an ultra-secure manner and whose route can be traced very precisely.

*Emerging infectious diseases and nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical threats

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