Active containers are equipped with comprehensive temperature regulating systems that actively maintain the required product temperatures. These containers may also use dry ice as the coolant for temperature control. As a preventative measure and to ensure peace of mind, active containers come with temperature-sensitive alarms that get triggered in case of fluctuations and notify the transport crew of a potential issue.
These active container systems are typically leased and are considered to have greater security since the units can be locked and secured with security seals. They are usually not opened until the end of the shipment’s journey. Active containers are usually powered by electricity or batteries, hence, they can be plugged in and at correct storage temperature, the units can continue maintaining the proper temperature in case of customs clearance delays, flight delays, or any other unforeseen circumstances.
On the other hand, passive containers maintain a temperature-controlled environment within an insulated enclosure for a specific period without any electrical thermostatic control. This packaging type uses a predetermined quantity of pre-conditioned coolants like frozen or chilled gel packs or phase change materials (PCM) to achieve and maintain the required product temperature.
Passive containers usually use either vacuum insulated panels (VIP), polyurethane, or polystyrene. Due to the lack of active cooling capabilities, many passive containers can only hold a certain temperature for a specific time (for example, up to 96 hours) and fixed payload capacity. This makes them less costly than active containers.
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