Cooling elements and temperature elements come in all shapes and sizes at Coolpack, but which one is most suitable for your application? In this article we do not look at the specific temperature range of the filling, but at the outside of the refrigerant. We answer the question: when do you opt for a shape-retaining cooling element, when do you opt for a gel pack? Just keep on reading…
The different types of temperature elements
If you want to store or transport something within a stable temperature range, you can opt for cooling elements. At Coolpack we roughly distinguish these types:
Hard cooling elements
When you think of a cooling element, this is probably what comes to mind. The blue, plastic element that lies in the freezer at home and goes with you in the cool box to the beach or campsite. You can get these at Coolpack in different sizes and colors with different fillings. The blue bottle is made of strong HDPE (High Density Polyethylene): a dense, 100% recyclable plastic that lasts long. And did you know that you can also get these in recyclable HDPE? Ask our team about the possibilities!
Pillow pack gel packs
Gel packs or ice packs are leak-proof foil bags with a cooling (temperature) filling. The bags are flexible in unfrozen condition. When frozen, the gel packs become hard and retain their shape until the filling melts. It is therefore important that you put the gel packs neatly in the freezer so that they do not freeze in a strange or awkward shape and that they fit well in the shipping packaging.
Are you looking for more flexibility, even when frozen? Coolpack also produces segmented gel packs. These consist of linked gel packs that you can bend properly in a frozen state due to the flexible parts witout filling.
Sponge packs and foam bricks
There is also a middle ground between the hard cooling elements and soft gel packs: sponge packs and foam bricks. These are, as it were, trays made of leak-proof foil (‘tray packs’) with a sponge or foam block inside in addition to a cooling filling. For example, the sponge packs and foam bricks retain their shape even when unfrozen and freezing neatly is a breeze.
Of course there are also many different temperature ranges of cooling filling with which you can fill the cooling elements, gel packs, sponge packs and foam packs. We will tell you more about that in this article.
Transport situations and appropriate temperature element: hard cooling element or gel pack?
Now that we have a clear understanding of the different types of temperature elements, let’s look at the most suitable choice in different situations.
Transports with a return flow
Do you transport your goods with your own means of transport, which returns to your location? And can you take packaging materials back with you after delivery of the goods? Then it is best to use shape-retaining, hard cooling elements. You can refreeze and reuse them very often and they are not susceptible to damage.
Examples of transports with a return flow are retailers who deliver groceries to consumers’ homes. The can contains products that must be kept at different temperatures. Think of refrigerated products, frozen products and products that stay good for the longest time at room temperature. By using multiple reusable, easy-to-clean EPP cool boxes with specific temperature elements in each box, all these products can be transported in one van. The deliverer removes the shopping bags from the cool boxes at the delivery address so that the end user can immediately place the groceries in the refrigerator or freezer at home. The EPP cool boxes with hard cooling elements go back with the delivery person and are refrozen in the evening so that they can be used again the next day.
Transports without return flow
Do you deliver goods via external partners, via multiple carriers or in sealed disposable packaging? Then the packaging material will probably not return to you after delivery and we therefore speak of a transport without a return flow. It is best to choose a gel pack, sponge pack or foam brick – depending on your wishes when freezing. These can be reused, but are also suitable for single use. They are also cheaper to purchase and have a smaller footprint when used once than hard cooling elements.
Examples of user applications are meal boxes and fresh meat or fish products that are delivered to consumers’ homes via a transport company. The packages come in a transport van with packages from other companies. For perishable products such as food, it is all the more important to protect them against extreme temperatures, for example on hot summer days. To guarantee quality up to the kitchen of the end user, gel packs are often used in combination with a well-insulated packaging box, such as the EcoCoolBox or polystyrene box.
Want to know more about the ideal coolant for your situation?
You will find a lot of information on our website, but our team is of course also available every working day. Feel free to contact us for all your questions or request a quote for the products you want.