ABB helps Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service to open its new Jack Copland Centre facility on time

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Flexibility and expertise from ABB cold chain mapping team helps satisfy demanding deadline

Jonathan farrington
Dr. Jonathan Farrington
Technical Manager 

When the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) required blood, tissues and plasma storage and other associated equipment to be validated during its move to its new Edinburgh headquarters, ABB’s Measurement & Analytics Service business was able to help.
Starting on August Bank Holiday 2017, two ABB engineers based on site carried out comprehensive cold chain mapping surveys within the facility, where blood and medical products need to be stored at temperatures ranging from -80°C to ambient temperature conditions.
In total, the two-person team surveyed 135 different units, including warehousing, cold storage facilities, fridges, freezers and incubators, many of which needed validation mapping, empty and full, to ensure they can maintain the required temperature within the prescribed ranges for each type of unit.

Tests were carried out in accordance with regulatory requirements using a variety of temperature measurement devices, including platinum resistance thermometers, for fridges freezers and incubators; type T thermocouples for freezer units below -30°C, and wireless dataloggers for the warehouse and cold stores.

To ensure that temperatures were being evenly maintained throughout each unit, readings were obtained from anywhere between 9 and 32 measurement points, with the warehouse requiring 117. The data was included in the mapping reports to provide evidence that all controlled temperature storage areas were regulatory compliant.
The mapping reports for each item of equipment tested had to be produced within 24 hours of completion of mapping to meet the timelines of the project.
“With all of the work needing to be completed by December 2017, our team needed to work as quickly as possible to get all of the testing done and pinpoint any potential problems with any of the units,” says Dr Jonathan Farrington, Technical Manager for ABB’s Industrial Automation, Measurement & Analytics Service business. “With extensive experience in carrying out cold chain mapping in medical facilities throughout the UK, our engineers were able to survey the equipment and produce the mapping reports to the customer’s requirements.”
In addition to the challenge of producing the mapping reports, the customer required the team to simultaneously map up to 10 of the units at a time. This was driven by the customer’s requirement to begin moving their production operations to the site in early 2018. With around three days ordinarily needed to install and map each unit, the team had to juggle the mapping equipment availability and their planned workload to make sure that this request could be accommodated without impacting on the overall project deadline.
Says Dr Farrington: “Although the customer had very prescriptive requirements for the order in which the site had to be mapped, several changes were required as the project progressed. Fortunately, we had spent two months before the start of the project preparing a work schedule to ensure that all the various temperature-related equipment at the site – including incubators, refrigerators, cold rooms and freezers – would be able to be surveyed and mapped to the customer’s deadline.”

“The thoroughness of our planning allowed us to make revisions to our work routine so that we could handle any last-minute changes and additions whilst maintaining the ability to concurrently map up to 10 units without running over schedule.”

With the team on-site throughout the full three months of the project, all work was carried out to the customer’s deadline, allowing them to start the transfer of operations from their existing site to the Jack Copland Centre in early 2018 as planned, prior to final MHRA sign off later in the year.
“This project is the largest we have handled to date and was certainly one of the most demanding in terms of its deadline and the diversity of equipment that needed to be tested and mapped,” concludes Dr Farrington. “That we successfully completed the project on time and to the customer’s requirements is testament to the thorough preparation during the planning stage and the expertise and dedication of our on-site engineers.”
For more information about ABB’s cold chain mapping service, visit
Alternatively, email or call 0870 600 6122 ref. ‘Cold Chain’.
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