LabX Product Review: The Z-SCI Biomedical Family of Innovative Cold Storage Devices

The Twincore technology from Z-SCI Biomedical brings ultra low temperature safety to another level

Cold storage devices are critical components of research, pharma, and clinical laboratory operations. These labs often require temperature control and storage solutions for a range of materials from proteins and enzymes to cells and tissues. Different than typical multi-function analytical instruments, the effectiveness of a cold storage unit is measured by the ability to simply maintain performance in the form of temperature control and stability. The integrity of the stored samples deeply depends on the reliability of these factors. Another critically important aspect is the failsafe process that ensures the vitality of the samples are preserved during unit breakdown and repair.

Traditional cold storage devices have focused on “good enough” performance features, and users have relied upon the basic operation and practical limitations of these units. The field in general has recently seen an abundance of technological advances, and innovative solutions have focused on improvements in access, monitoring, and reliability. The cost of operation can not be measured by maintenance, repair or replacement, and energy efficiency alone. The significant cost in time and money involved in running the experiments to generate the samples also weighs heavily, and as such the safety of the samples is paramount. All of these factors have been taken into account in the engineering design of the best contemporary cold storage solutions.

Z-SCI Biomedical, a leader in the ultra low temperature (ULT) freezer and specialized lab refrigeration markets, has embraced technology innovations and customer concerns with the company’s lines of cold storage solutions. In the ULT freezer arena, the Twincore line has set a new standard as the safest ULT platform in the word.

The relatively new concept of cascade refrigeration has been implemented by a number of manufacturers in a range of devices. The target cryogenic temperature (typically -80°C) is reached in two stages, in which an initial compressor lowers the temperature to an intermediate level and a subsequent compressor then kicks in to bring it the rest of the way down. A major limitation with this configuration is that the compressors rely on each other to hold temperature. If one fails, the other cannot handle the workload and the samples can suffer disastrous consequences as a result. One manufacturer has sought to address this constant threat of failure through the use of two compressors which function independently and can hold the temperature at -65°C upon a failure event.

The Z-SCI Twincore technology takes this cascade concept to another level by enabling a single autocascade compressor to hold temperature at cryogenic levels (-82°C), thereby maintaining optimal safety of the samples while the other unit is serviced or replaced.

Importantly, even in the event of power outage, this temperature can be maintained for 12 hours and requires no (LN2 or CO2) backup, unlike other devices. This advanced technology is coupled with the use of several refrigerants that in concert eliminate the need for traditional two stage operation. The technology also has the fastest pull down in the industry, with the Twincore requiring approximately 3.5 hours to reach -80°C.

Additional innovations in the Twincore line include a 7” touch screen controller and the WizBox system, which enable ease of operation and custom programming of setpoints, alarms, password protection, on-board diagnostics, and a freezer ID-Inventory management system. An assigned IP address allows this monitoring system to alert Z-SC1 and customers to potential mechanical issues BEFORE they occur, making the TwinCore the first truly Smart ULT. The inventory management function prevents errors of manual record keeping and conserves energy and integrity of the device by minimizing door opening and sample searches.

“Our technology is focused on attention to sample safety and advanced access to performance metrics and monitoring”, states Jean Fallacara, CEO of Z-SC1 Biomedical. “We want users to have control and piece of mind with a system that is designed to meet emerging innovations such as remote access and cloud data storage”.

The WizBox system incorporates all of the user programmed settings, such as setpoint, failure alarms, auto diagnostics, and sample inventory, and permits access via internet or ethernet, in essence to bring the ULT anywhere, anytime. Temperature can be tracked, sample storage can be recorded, device status can be checked, and data can be downloaded all by way of the touch screen and WizBox. There are four different device sizes, each containing four individual compartments, and all incorporating Z-SCI proprietary automatic high-pressure foaming insulation for optimal temperature uniformity (+/-3C) and stability.

Z-SCI also offers an alternative to the ULT TwinCore line, the IKKII, which uses many of the same design features at a more affordable price. The objective with the IKKII is to offer a solution to many professionals who may require the safety of the TwinCore technology at a lower price point. The major difference is the absence of the WizBox, opting in its place a very intuitive control panel. Three model sizes are available with core specifications in common with the Twincore line.

It is clear that Z-SCI Biomedical has kept a firm eye on innovation and user concerns through the design and deployment of the Twincore technology in the ULT freezer field. The diversity of additional cold storage solutions such as the IKKII ULT, along with the pharmaceutical, vaccine, and other refrigeration devices, exemplifies the company’s commitment to quality and safety across a range of applications.

“At Z-SCI we put the technology and safety of your samples first, as other considerations are often over emphasized in the context of the intended purpose of these devices”, says Fallacara. “We are a smaller company that brings value-added personal attention to all aspects of the business, from design to service.”

This editorial was written by LabX in conjunction with Z-SCI Biomedical

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