Fall can be a great time of year with changing colors and mild temperatures. Many people love the fall because one is unlikely to see the high temperatures of August or the frigid temperatures of December. However in reality, the fall season can be unpredictable with large swings in temperature in a short period of time or within relatively short geographic distances.
The record low October temperature in Minneapolis Minnesota was 10 degrees F and the record high was 90 degrees F. Those temperatures are extremes, but it does demonstrate that anything goes weather wise in a Midwest fall. If your product can be damaged at or below freezing temperatures, then you should be looking at alternatives and options. One day you could ship product in 60 degree F weather and 2 days later it could be 10 degrees.
There are options that you can consider if you are worried about temperatures. Both Fed Ex and UPS have a controlled temperature shipping option. This option works for protection against both warm temperatures and cold temperatures. One can also ship product in temperature controlled trailers.
Anytime you ship a product that is temperature sensitive one needs to consider the following even if one is using some sort of temperature controlled shipment program.
- Packaging should have good insulation. Insulation does not protect indefinitely, but it can buffer product from unexpected short term changes in temperature, either due to weather change or transitioning product from one environment to another. Fed Ex recommends putting cold sensitive product inside a Styrofoam cooler, then putting that inside a heavy duty cardboard container. While that combination won’t keep a product warm indefinitely, it will certainly suffice for short periods of time.
- Use environmental monitoring or indicating gauges. If the critical product is temperature sensitive, then knowing the temperate that the product experienced during transit is vital. Despite all the precautions taken during shipping and packaging to keep the temperature and or humidity controlled, one can never be 100% sure that the environment stayed within the desired limits. ShockWatch has a number of environment recording and monitoring products that will determine what environment that your product experienced during shipment. A product can be as simple as changing colors when the temperature went beyond a threshold, or it can be as sophisticated as recording any number of temperature events or even providing a continuous temperature profile of the transit.
Packnet has been involved in a number of situations where the customer had to carefully monitor temperatures and humidity with the agreement that if the environment exceeded the desired threshold, the product had to be uncrated, and totally inspected and tested before final delivery.