BloodSource’s 1,848-square-foot storage facilities must be kept at a cold, constant temperature to maintain product freshness, potency and purity. The FDA and the American Association of Blood Banks enforce strict guidelines for blood storage and perform audits to ensure that the regulations are being followed. Additionally, BloodSource has a quality control team that regularly inspects and tests storage containers.
The storage containers are constantly monitored using a system comprised of a PC-based program, computers (nodes), and temperature probes. If a probe detects a temperature that is outside the acceptable range, an alarm will notify staff members who can troubleshoot the problem with the storage container or transport the blood products to another suitable container.
Whole blood must be refrigerated at 1–6 °C while plasma is typically stored at -30 °C.
Platelets must be stored at room temperature (20–24 °C). For long-term storage, most
blood components must be frozen at temperatures between -40 °C and -20 °C.
BloodSource wanted to expand its storage facilities by adding three new coolers and
three new freezers ranging in size from 400 to 3,200 cubic feet. The temperature of the
coolers could only vary ±1 °C throughout while the freezers could fluctuate ±2 °C.
BloodSource commissioned All Temp Engineering, an engineering/service group that
specializes in providing and maintaining thermal environments, to build and test the new
storage chambers. All Temp Engineering partnered with m+p international to design the
new temperature monitoring system for the new coolers and freezers.
The new measurement system consists of m+p’s Coda (Co
software and two of VTI’s EX1032A precision thermocouple/voltage measurement
instruments. The LXI-based EX1032A is a low-cost hardware solution that offers precise
high-density measurements in a small footprint. The two EX1032As combined offer 96
channels in 19” x 3.5” (2 units) of rack space.
Each EX1032A allows the user to measure up to 32 points of
temperature and 16 points of voltage in the storage room. This
large number of temperature points allows slight variations in room
temperature to be identified quickly. Voltage measurements increase
safety by monitoring the performance of circulation fans and making
sure that the entrance door has been closed.
The high accuracy of the EX1032A was needed to minimize the
uncertainty of the temperature measurements, allowing for fewer
channels. Open transducer indicator LEDs provide an additional
level of confidence and improve system troubleshooting. If a
thermocouple goes into an open condition, the built-in OTD
detection is used to notify the staff to immediately repair/replace
CODA provides a comprehensive alarm capability, which increases
user confidence in the system and reduces the
amount of operator
oversight. When an alarm condition is met, CODA not only
the alarm condition
and notifies the operator, but the time and duration
out-of-tolerance condition are
fully logged. In fact, all user interaction is
available for analysis.