Sofrigam accelerates packaging tests with Smart CAE thermal simulation software
Press Release | Sofrigam S.A
FEBRUARY 02, 2017
Rueil-Malmaison, France: – Temperature-controlled logistics and pharmaceutical cold chain specialist Sofrigam SA now use a computer thermal performance simulation system that is revolutionizing the way it develops and qualifies insulated packaging solutions.
The Smart CAE system allows far more rapid digital thermal modeling, replacing costly series of physical thermal tests with powerful mathematical algorithms. This allows Sofrigam to define new packaging solutions more rapidly and tailor them more accurately required technical specifications.
Thermal testing for refrigerated packaging solutions
All insulated or refrigerated packaging solution developments for product launch or custom-made packaging designs go through thermal performance testing. Carried out by Sofrigam Design Office engineers in collaboration with the Ater Métrologie climatic testing laboratory, this involves subjecting the packaging solution to numerous thermal tests throughout its design phase.
Up until now, Sofrigam’s Design Office engineers were using thermal assessment software specific to Sofrigam to determine the various packaging solution elements, such as number of eutectic gels, type and thickness of thermal insulating material used, external outer packaging, etc. Once the design was validated, the thermal engineers would perform pre-validation tests, known as POC (Proof of Concept) testing. These thermal tests involve subjecting the insulated packaging solution to an environment that reproduces the actual shipping or storage conditions. They allow the design to be adjusted so that it meets the required technical specifications and provides ideal compromise to optimize packaging solution for weight, payload, and ease of preparation and loading.
Sofrigam has now introduced cutting-edge software that is specifically adapted to simulate performance of thermal packaging solutions equipped with phase-change materials (PCMs), such as eutectic cooling gels.
Smart CAE’ is a program based on the Wolfram Mathematica mathematical symbolic computation engine. Smart CAE uses the geometric simplicity of the elements and adapted algebraic models to allow the temperature changes within any given packaging configuration to be accurately modeled.
This virtual modeling can replace lengthy series of thermal tests, making it possible to reduce development times drastically or respond more rapidly to need for new configurations.
Sofrigam’s adoption of the Smart CAE regime delivers three principal client benefits: reduced cost, faster response and reduced risk.
Reducing development costs
Working with simulation software will help to significantly reduce the number of thermal tests to which the packaging solution must undergo. This helps to reduce development costs by eliminating need to manufacture a physical prototype while saving time and minimizing environmental impacts of laboratory testing, which consumes significant energy to simulate extreme hot and cold climatic conditions. Reducing the number of physical simulations also frees up more Ater Métrologie time to carry out packaging qualification tests.
Sofrigam design and qualification teams need to work at maximum speed as demands on temperature-controlled packaging grow more complex and demanded response times become shorter. Using the digital thermal simulation tool allows Sofrigam to meet both challenges.
Jérémy Clerfeuille, Head of Sofrigam’s Design Office, explains: “Take for example a packaging design with a 120 hour profile. It takes about two weeks to manufacture the prototype, stabilize the eutectic plates, carry out thermal testing and analyze the results.”
“But with digital thermal simulation software, we can have all of this in as little as 30 minutes, without having to manufacture a prototype, but with equally reliable data,” said Clerfeuille.
Such responsiveness will allow Sofrigam’s thermal experts to respond even faster to ad hoc requests from clients relating to testing and thermal recommendations. These include need to reduce shipping risks by simulating the efficiency of a packaging solution against logistics profiles not provided for initial qualification in order to validate individual shipments. Sofrigam will also be able to provide faster help to clients in analyzing causes of temperature deviations using Reverse Analysis, proposing corrective actions and assisting logistics teams in implementing them.
“Our use of Smart CAE brings about increased efficiency and reactivity in designing insulated packaging solutions, and as a result, a better service to our clients,” concluded Mr. Clerfeuille.
French-based Sofrigam S.A. designs and manufactures cool chain pharmaceutical shipping solutions and insulated boxes for the life sciences industries as well as for distribution and logistics companies.
The company was founded in 1979 by an industrial pharmacist and initially developed eutectic painkillers before specializing in the design and manufacture of insulated and refrigerated packaging, including pre-qualified insulated shipping and temperature management solutions. The company is headquartered in Ile-de-France with a production site at Arras.
Sofrigam offer solutions for the cold chain logistic problems experienced by the pharmaceutical industry. It offers a range of standard and made-to-measure thermal packaging products as well as customized services designed to achieve secure, cost effective and ecological cold chain logistics.
Sofrigam has become one of Europe’s leading cold chain specialists, sharing its expertise via seminars, publications and R&D collaborations. It also offers customized products and services designed to achieve cold logistics that are secure, cost-effective and comprehensively compliant.
Sofrigam partners with Ater Métrologie, a French-based ISTA and ISO 9001 certified laboratory that specializes in testing, validating and pre-qualifying temperature-controlled packaging and cooling systems. The laboratory carries out some 2,000 tests each year.
Laetitia Perche, Marketing Director, Sofrigam SA
Tel: +33 (0) 1 46 69 85 43
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