Blue Star has launched a new range of commercial refrigerators that would be ideal for storing vaccines, including those for COVID-19.
Ice-lined refrigerators (+2°C to +8°C temperature) are among the temperature-controlled refrigerators and transporters launched by the company. These refrigerators will be ideal for vaccination programmes as they can maintain temperature even without power for up to 48 hours, protecting the jabs from getting spoilt during power cuts.
Vaccine transporters (+8°C to -20°C temperature) will help in ferrying vaccines to remote corners of the country by working off the battery of any four-wheeled vehicle.
With the ongoing coronavirus vaccination drive, the demand and need for commercial refrigeration was growing across India, B Thiagarajan, Managing Director, Blue Star Limited said that .
The commercial refrigeration segment in India is valued at Rs 3,000 crore and could touch Rs 5,000 crore in the next three years. Blue Star, which has a size of Rs 1,000 crore in the segment, may touch Rs 2,000 crore in three years, said Thiagarajan.
The company was taking part in the tenders for vaccine storage, he said. “We have received orders worth Rs 75 crore so far (since September 2020) and hope to receive another Rs 75 crore by September 2021,” said Thiagarajan.
Overall, vaccine-related storage and transporters orders could touch Rs 250 crore for the period September 2020 to September 2021 in India, he said.
Among other companies, Godrej Appliances has also launched products for vaccine cold storage purposes.
The Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 needs to be stored at -70°C while the Moderna vaccine needs a temperature of -20°C (though it can be kept in the refrigerator at 2°C to 8°C for up to a month). The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine needs a storage temperature of 2°C to 8°C.
Blue Star is also adding up a new plant at its facility in Wada, Maharashtra with a capital expenditure of Rs 130 crore. This is to expand the manufacturing capacity of its deep freezers and storage water coolers to cater to the rising demand for commercial refrigeration products.
With the new plant, Blue Star will be doubling its production capacity for deep freezers. This new plant will have a capacity to produce around 2,00,000 deep freezers and 1,00,000 storage water coolers a year. The new unit is expected to begin production by October 2021.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Blue Star has also launched touchless storage water coolers. These are ideal for use at sites where the chances of infection through touch are high, since they dispense water merely on sensing movement near the tap, allowing for touch-free operation.