Andrews helps warehouse to achieve MHRA storage guidelines


With global warming seeming to be a reality, temperature control issues are likely to become even more of a problem in warehouses that are not equipped with appropriate cooling solutions

When a major pharmaceutical distribution centre was struggling to maintain critical warehouse storage temperatures below 25°C, an engineering team from Andrews Chiller Hire supplied and quickly installed a 500kW fluid air chiller working in harmony with a twin-stacked pair of 150kW Andrews air handling units. Each of the air handing units is able to cool an area of 3624m3. For this application, the units were arranged in pairs and stacked to reduce required floor area.

The four air handling units were situated in the warehouse, with the 500kW fluid air chiller positioned externally but close to the building to reduce pipe runs, maintaining adequate chilled water passing through flexible hoses to air handler units. Working alongside the existing warehouse services, this temporary system ensured that an ambient temperature below 25°C was achieved throughout the storage facility, preventing degradation of the stored medicine as well as protecting reputations.

The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Produces Regulatory Agency) has previously reported that temperature rises above desired parameters are the number one critical deficiency in pharmaceutical warehouses. MHRA statistics show that temperature increases above 25°C have been the single biggest issue for those responsible for the storage of pharmaceutical products. Uncontrolled temperature fluctuations are serious: non-compliance with the manufacturer's storage recommendations and the MHRA's guidelines on general storage can lead to expensive product recalls, may prompt the destruction of affected products and potentially cause a health risk to patients.

Air-conditioning top up

Generally, warehouse air-conditioning is designed to cope with the norm in ambient temperatures; it would be too costly to incorporate a permanent system to handle the short-term higher external summertime temperatures experienced during the past decade. This is when the flexibility of a chiller hire organisation is extremely cost-effective.

Andrews’ response in less than four hours presented a solution to the pharmaceutical warehouse air-conditioning issues and meant temperature control was maintained in good order and in line with official compliance figures.

Each Andrews chiller is a self-contained unit complete with heat exchanger, condenser, control system, compressor and circulating pumps, and features a rigid and robust base plate that ensures site stability. Chilled water is fed directly into each of the four air handling units and passes directly in front of a large fan that expels the cold air either directly or via trunking back into the warehouse.

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Warm air extracted via the cooling pipework flows directly into the external chillers where the chilling process begins again. This cyclic, closed loop system with air handling situated within the building is the most effective for environmental temperature control.