Figure 1. Computer Simulated Thermal Performance of an Insulated Shipper
Thermal insulated containers must be designed and qualified in order to be used for shipping and distribution of temperature-sensitive products. Cold chain companies are specialized in the design and qualification of thermal insulated shipping systems. In this development process, the coolers are first designed and then qualified through a series of physical tests in environmental chambers. This physical testing simulates the shipping logistics and duration by running the environmental chamber under ambient temperature profiles developed by well-known national or international organizations. After a period of time, many companies will modify or optimize their qualified packouts in order to reduce costs and/or components. These adjustments can be made using computer simulation software.
This optimization starts with validation of a numerical simulation model against existing physical test data. The validated numerical simulation model is then used to perform custom design evaluation and refinement quickly and accurately. The computer model will include all the thermal performance dependent parameters and related phenomena (See Figure 1).
Compared to physical methods, the use of computer simulation for packout optimization provides both cost-savings and an expedited turnaround time without sacrificing quality and accuracy.