NEW DELHI: Backed by a Tata Capital Innovation fund, a Gurgaon-based MSME has come up with a special packaging material for transport of vaccines.
The application, which is based on what is called ‘phase-change’ technology, uses safe chemicals to provide solutions for the pharmaceutical industry, logistics and can even be used for cooling and heating buildings.
“What we have done is created materials which work at different and precise temperatures. We have solutions for -30°C, -20°C, in fact for 35 different temperatures. For instance, for temperatures of 2-8°C degrees, we use a 3°C material instead of an ice pack. The SputnikV vaccination of Dr Reddy’s needs -20°C, in that case we use a different material,” Samit Jain, MD of Pluss Advanced Technologies, told TOI.
Jain said that in one month, his firm has developed and is on the verge of finishing trials on a -70°C material and that will work in place of dry ice for the Pfizer vaccine.
“In India, we may not see the Pfizer vaccine immediately, but in the UK, the US and Europe, we are already in talks with prospective companies which can use our solutions for -70°C,” said Jain, adding that solutions are very temperature-specific.
They will ensure the temperature that the medicine or the vaccine or the pharma product should stay at. The company has already tied up with Spice-Jet to transport vaccines in their specialised boxes. It is among a handful of companies in the world working in this segment.
Jain said the materials are called ‘phase-change’ materials. “As the name indicates, it changes phase from liquid to solid and solid to liquid. For example, water is a PCM — it goes from water to ice and ice to water at 0°C. Our PCMs are made of chemicals mixed in various proportions to get the right melting point or the phase change point. And at the phase change point, it keeps absorbing all the heat, till it melts,” said Jain.
He added that the materials used are extremely safe and they are made of salt and water. “There are different variations of salt. We use sodium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium salts, nitrogen-based salts,” said Jain.
The company is also working with Big Basket, Reliance Fresh, Grofers and others for last-mile deliveries.