Friday, 9 November 2012

Medical Freezers – What Makes Medical Freezers Different?

Medical freezers are required by many different types of establishment, for the storage of medical supplies, vaccines and medical samples. Hospitals, GP surgeries, research laboratories and pharmaceutical companies all need medical freezers in various sizes. Medical freezers also come with a variety of different features and functions, which can suit certain needs for different businesses.

In this article we look at what makes medical freezers different from non-medical freezers, and how to go about choosing one.

Medical Freezers  – click here to view our range of products.

What Are Medical Freezers?

Medical freezers are very different from a freezer you might have in the home or in a food business. Their features and design are tailored to suit the medical industry, whose needs for temperatures control, access and storage are different from domestic or commercial freezers.

Medical freezers can reach much lower temperatures than domestic or commercial models and often need individual storage areas to hold different types of medical supplies that cannot sit side by side, such as blood samples and vaccines. These separate compartments avoid any bacterial cross contamination.

Medical freezers can hold many different things. For GP surgeries, chemists and pharmaceutical companies their primary need is the storage of medicines; for research laboratories they need to keep biological samples; and hospitals would need to hold all these things along with vaccines and blood.

Medical freezers have very specific features, for example:

Temperature range

Medical freezers need specific temperature ranges, which can differ to those required for general home or commercial freezers. Some medical supplies can need temperatures as low as -45C whereas others only need to be kept at around anywhere between -10C to -30C. It all depends on your particular business.

Temperature stability

As some medical supplies and their chemical components can be highly volatile, there is a need for the contents of medical freezers to stay at an exact and steady temperature. The effectiveness of some medicines and vaccines can be compromised if they are not stored correctly or if the temperature fluctuates too much. This means that visual displays and alarms to warn the user that the temperature of the unit is going out of range are very important features.

For medical freezers that can give you a very accurate temperature control you need to choose a model with air circulation grids on the base and sides. These types of medical freezers can provide temperature accuracy to within 1 degree. This can be extremely important in laboratories where substances are kept for medical experiments and testing.

Temperature stability is also aided by a fan in the medical freezers, which gives you consistent air circulation around the unit. It is beneficial if the fan will automatically switch off when the door is opened as this minimizes any loss of cold air.

As with any freezer, keeping medical freezers stocked incorrectly can affect the temperature stability. Holding too much or too little in a freezer will compromise performance so the internal design of the unit you choose is a consideration. Specific shelving and racking inside medical freezers will assist when you are storing precise packaging for medicines and vaccines.


With medical freezers hygiene is of the utmost importance. There is an extra need to avoid contamination of contents from other biological sources. The unit must be easy to clean externally and internally with shelves and racking easy to remove, preferably on runners, and the base in just one piece, which means it is less of a dirt trap.

Also you need to look for a model that uses an anti-bacterial condensation system, which minimize the risk of any buildup of dirt of germs from stagnant water.


When dealing with medicines it is vital to think about the security of the contents of medical freezers. Only certain personnel may have access to specific drugs and vaccines in your establishment so you would need locks and/or alarms to prevent unauthorised access from external or internal intruders. If you store narcotics along with other products, medical freezers with a lockable, internal storage container may be a wise choice.

Varieties of Medical Freezers

There are a great variety of sizes and types of medical freezers available to choose from.

Chest medical freezers can reach the lowest temperatures and are ideal for long term storage where access is kept to a minimum. These can be quite large and are best if you have a lot of products to store to keep the efficiency of the unit to its optimum.

Cabinet freezers can also come in the same sizes, as chest freezers but are more suited to frequent use. They do not go down to such extreme temperatures and tend to fall in the standard -10C to -30C range.

If space is limited but you need to have some medical freezer use coupled with refrigeration storage then a combination unit is a good choice and an effective use of the floor area you have available.

If you are storing any form of combustible materials in your medical freezers then a spark proof interior is a good safety option.

The general range of sizes available for medical freezers is varied. Small cabinets are ideal for pharmacies or dispensaries whereas large cabinets would be good for hospitals as all these models can take day to day use without losing temperature stability.

Big chest medical freezers are more suited to laboratories where samples may need to be kept over a longer period of time or where floor space is not so much of an issue.

Above all, any freezer you choose to keep medical-related contents needs to be specially designed for that purpose and made by a company which understands the exacting requirements of hospitals, research labs and so on. While a restaurant may suffer financially from the loss of stock if a freezer fails, a medical establishment may be holding stock which is simply irreplaceable (e.g. test samples) or on which may depend the lives of many people (e.g. vaccine supplies).
Medical Freezers  – click here to view our range of products.

Monday, 5 November 2012

How Well Did Britain’s Ice Making Machines Perform in Summer 2012?

Ice making machines are essential bar and restaurant equipment all year round, but if yours isn’t quite managing to suit your needs then it is usually summertime when you will notice it the most. Summer 2012 may not have been the hottest or driest on record, but Britain’s ice making machines still had to cope with high ambient temperatures and a LOT of partying this year!

The #1 Requirement for Ice Making Machines – Capacity, Capacity, Capacity
All else aside, the single most important requirement for ice making machines is to be able to ensure there is enough ice on hand at all times. And during the summer your customers will get through a lot more ice than at other times of the year.

Even in rainy summers like we had this year, summer ambient temperatures will be that much higher than at other times of the year, even if all your customers are sitting inside. Stocks of ice and ice in buckets will melt more quickly and need topping up more often. Ice in customers’ drinks will melt more quickly, and customers who don’t normally bother with ice, will be more likely to ask for ice during the summer months. Some iced drinks only become popular during the summer, such as iced tea and coffee. And some customers will take to putting ice into drinks such as cider or wine, to create a more cooling drink.

A chilled drink is simply more refreshing  than an unchilled one – and customers looking for refreshment at your bar or cafe will be disappointed by a lack of ice, or having to wait for ice making machines to make a new batch of ice. And if you’re running a restaurant, a shortage of ice can even impact on the overall flow of customers if they are having to wait longer than necessary for drinks.

Luckily, high capacity ice making machines are available that will quickly and efficiently create large quantities of ice to satisfy even the most ice hungry of catering businesses. For instance, the Porkka KL301 can make up to 262kg of ice per day – that’s over 14,000 ice cubes. And if you need to ensure even more ice in reserve, this machine will stack on top of an ice storage bin. The KL301 is modestly sized in comparison to its capacity – 774mm high and less than a metre (960mm) wide – although if it is stacked over a storage bin it will be higher of course. For most large pubs, hotels and restaurants, finding space for a machine this size will present no problem, but if you have smaller premises with a high ice requirement, you may need a more compact machine.

Compact High Capacity Ice Making Machines

Vertical plate ice making machines use advanced technology to create large quantities of ice cubes in a short space of time. More importantly, they do so in a very small space. For instance, the Porkka KV150 is our smallest vertical plate cuber just 675mm high and 560mm wide, and yet it can easily produce 165kg of ice per day.

If you need maximum capacity in minimum space, the Porkka KV400 can deliver over 32,000 cubes per day. But perhaps the best combination of size and capacity is our KV270 which can make 295kg of ice per day but stands just 560mm high (easily fitting under most counters) and 750mm wide.

High Capacity Flake Ice Making Machines for Displays

When you need large quantities of ice for fresh food displays, such as fish, meat, salad or other ready-to-eat chilled foods, the summer months can be especially demanding. For food displays, having large quantities of ice on hand is not just a luxury, it is essential to keep produce at the required temperature for food safety and shelf life.

For any sort of outside catering, the higher ambient summer temperatures mean that ice needs to be topped up regularly, and it is then that businesses will notice if ice making machines are struggling. But it’s not just the summer months that can present a challenge - centrally heated restaurants and shops can pose a high ambient temperature to fresh food displays at any time of year.

To cater for this demand our largest flake ice making machine is the KF250 which can make 255kg of flaked ice per day. For smaller operations (for instance a bar that needs flaked ice on hand for cocktails, as well as ice cubes for drinks) our KF75 can still make a respectable 78kg of ice per day, while taking up very little space.

And now, even though summer is but a distant memory the winter party season is now getting going! So it is still a great time to consider whether your ice making machine needs an upgrade.

Ice Making Machines  – click here for more information on our range of products