States, UTs asked to expand vaccination: Union Health Ministry. Image Source: IANS News

Hyderabad, March 4 : Rockwell Industries, a pioneering commercial cold chain appliances manufacturer, on Thursday launched Chillermill, the world's first chiller/freezer powered by hybrid (solar and wind) renewable energy, that would be ideal for storing vaccines including Covid-19 vaccines at the desired temperature.

The company also rolled out their new Covid-19 vaccine freezer series.

World Health Organization PQS certified freezer series, will be manufactured at Rockwell's state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Medchal, Hyderabad.

The entire system is certified by the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education & Research (NIPER) Hyderabad.

Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Government of Telangana for the Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT), formally launched the new range of Covid-19 vaccines chillers, a simple plug and play standalone unit, powered by SolarMill, a hybrid (wind & solar) energy solution, manufactured by WindStream Energy Technologies ideal for remote areas where availability of electricity is not stable.

The Hybrid Renewable System comprising Savonius vertical axis wind turbines, along with a solar module enables the refrigerator to run 24/7 on power stored in batteries. SolarMills are also being used in powering critical applications of defence forces, Railways and Telecom domain.

Commending Rockwell for its need of the hour technological innovation, and its new Covid-19 vaccine focussed hybrid renewable energy driven Chillermill and the WHO certified new Covid-19 Freezer series, Jayesh Ranjan said government's and immunization programmes rely on a complicated cold chain of freezers and temperature-controlled conditions and Rockwell has developed the much-needed refrigeration technology to address these challenges to preserve vaccine, healthcare products, and other deep-freezing applications.

"There are places especially, many rural hospitals and immunization sites that can't depend on the unreliable power supply. With our new renewable energy-supported freezers/chillers, we are in a position to help the health sector overcome these challenges. Technologically they meet the strictest biosafety, biomedical needs and solve the pain points in the cold chain," said Ashok Gupta, Managing Director, Rockwell Industries.

The company is in active discussion with leading vaccine players nationally and internationally to supply Chillermill. "We expect to close in orders worth Rs 25 crore this year and hope to achieve Rs 50 crore by the end of 2022," Ashok added Rockwell, which has a size of over Rs 125 crore in the segment, may touch Rs 350 crore in the next few years, Ashok Gupta, revealed.

Rockwell's fully operational plants in Medchal, Hyderabad, can produce over 400,000 units per annum. Further, the company has earmarked an investment of Rs 50 crore towards R&D, new capacities and adding a new marketing network to its existing network of over 500 outlets.

The company plans to participate in several tenders of Central and state governments, public and private enterprises for refrigerators and freezers.

Rockwell has the widest range of commercial and medical refrigeration appliances in the industry ideal for use in diverse environments and energy conditions, it sells about 100,000 units of its range of products to customers in India and different parts of the world.

In an initiative to increase their green footprint, Rockwell has partnered with WindStream Energy Technologies for providing unique hybrid (solar wind) Renewable energy solutions for the power needs of refrigerators and chillers/freezers.

Rockwell's Chillermill and the new Covid-19 vaccine freezer series meet the temperature protocols of currently available vaccines for Covid-19 including India's Covaxin, AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, Moderna, and the Sputnik Vaccine temperature requirement of storage temperature between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. The new Chillermill can also meet the minus 40 degrees Celsius requirement.

With the nationwide coronavirus vaccination drive getting far bigger for the second phase covering 50 plus age groups, the demand and need for commercial refrigeration to ensure a sustainable supply chain is growing across the globe. Further, as vaccines begin to receive commercial licensure, Rockwell anticipates the requirement for its products is bound to grow even more, from major healthcare manufacturers, R&D facilities, and rising healthcare expenditure.

According to the data from the WHO, due to the lack of temperature control or continuous cold chain during vaccine transportation, 5-20 per cent of vaccine loses its potency.

A recent market research report published early this year by Meticulous Research mentioned the vaccine storage equipment market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.6 per cent from 2020 to reach $1.83 billion by 2027.

The demand for cold storage solutions from pharma and other segments is expected to post a 17 per cent growth in 2021 to Rs 1.7 trillion, according to market research firm IMARC Services. In addition to the demand for cold storage to house Covid-19 vaccines, there is a rush in demand from pharma and allied sectors for cold chain products.

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