Unlike applications where sudden power loss causes data loss or other operational issues, power loss to a laboratory fridge is often seen as a small problem. This is due to the fridge’s ability to maintain and control its internal temperature for up to 4 hours in the event of a power cut, provided the door is unopened. But what happens if a power cut extends beyond this 4 hours period?
The recent news of a Coronavirus vaccine breakthrough has brought medical refrigerators into the public eye. With so many people looking forward to Covid-19 vaccinations, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that the steps have been taken to reduce the likelihood of accidental interruptions that may compromise with the vaccine’s quality.
Let’s take a look at the importance of UPS for a laboratory refrigerator.
Why is a UPS required for a laboratory refrigerator?
A laboratory fridge is commonly used to store medicine-related items, such as vaccines, diluents, immunoglobulins, and other environment-sensitive substances. These substances have precise temperature requirements, most of which must be kept between 2 – 8 degrees Celsius (35.6F to 46.4F). If the temperature rises or drops beyond this range, then according to the NHS Green Book, the ‘cold chain’ has been broken and these medicines may need to be destroyed.
A recent study in Germany has estimated that one fridge can store up to €20,000 worth of medicines. In the event of contamination, thawed, or denatured vaccines, the contents of the fridge might be labeled as damaged or inefficient, and thus they need to be destroyed. There are strict guidelines surrounding the storage of vaccines, which means a power outage may not only be a costly inconvenience, but also a breach of regulations for failing to meet adequate refrigerator conditions.
Additionally, many laboratory fridges are equipped with an electricity-operated alarm to ensure the fridge is tightly sealed, protecting its contents from external contaminants. There is also a power-fail alarm, which will alert users when power has failed so that the doors won’t be unlocked by staff. However, even a power-fail alarm will need a secondary power system to operate, such as a battery. Having a battery system means that the battery needs to have sufficient power at all times – otherwise, it may add complications and problems to the contents of the fridge.
The Right UPS for Laboratory Fridge
With a UPS system installed, the UPS will switch the load over to its batteries in the event of power outage, hence keeping a continuous supply of power to the refrigerator and providing power protection solutions. The UPS will also protect the equipment from power surges and spikes, which could cause costly damage. Moreover, a UPS is a better secondary supply for a power failure alarm, as it will provide a more reliable power supply compared to a battery-operated system.
When choosing a UPS system for your laboratory fridge, it is important to determine the right equipment to suit your laboratory’s needs and available budget. For instance, a small UPS will provide enough capacity to power the alarm failure system on the refrigerator, thus providing the most budget-friendly solution. This solution gives the practice owner time to implement a contingency plan and ensures the staff knows to keep the door closed until mains power is restored. Moreover, the UPS is equipped with monitoring software, which can provide an alert should a power failure occur outside of operational hours to ensure that the staffs are aware of the situation.
However, if you would like to gain access to the vaccines throughout the power cut, then a back-up single-phase UPS would be more suitable. Albeit a more expensive option, this gives you peace of mind knowing that even if the failure extends beyond the 4-hour window, the fridge can still retain its function and control its internal temperature until the power is restored. By doing so, you may not need to destroy the vaccines, which can potentially save up to thousands of dollars worth of money.
Protect your laboratory or pharmacy from losses due to power interruptions by having a UPS to backup your fridge, giving you a safety net should an unprecedented failure occur. For maximum results, don’t forget to schedule a routine UPS inspection with a trusted UPS specialist.
Here at Northern Lights Data, we can provide you with a customised solution to meet your power protection and power management needs. Our team of experts in UPS Auckland can assist your business with UPS installation, routine UPS prevention checks, and UPS maintenance, ensuring that your business is well-protected from electrical disruptions at all times. Mitigate your downtime and losses, get in touch with Northern Lights Data today.