The importance of N+1 redundancy in pharmaceutical cold storage facilities

Published: 11-Aug-2023

For pharmaceutical manufacturers and suppliers within the medical industry, the need to maintain stability and integrity of products while being stored is more vital than any other

The implementation of robust cold storage systems is crucial to mitigate such risks and thus are set to be vastly different and more complex to similar requirements for other manufacturing industries such as food & drink. 

N+1 redundancy is a critical component in ensuring the reliability and continuity of pharmaceutical cold storage facilities. Let’s explore this further:

N+1 redundancy explained

N+1 redundancy is a design principle that ensures an additional backup component or system is available in case of a failure of the primary component. In the context of pharmaceutical cold storage, N+1 redundancy implies having one more cooling unit, power system, or any critical component than is strictly necessary to meet the regular operational requirements. This additional redundancy acts as a failsafe mechanism, minimising the risk of disruptions due to component failures and ensuring the stable storage conditions required by pharmaceuticals.

This element of a cold store’s refrigeration specification is calculated through careful assumptions made on its operation, type of product being stored and location. 

Risk mitigation 

Due to the high-value nature of the pharmaceutical goods stored in temperature-controlled environments, no matter the size, it is often a requirement from insurance providers that specifications for such facilities incorporate N+1 redundancy to ensure that functionality is always maintained. Even when they may only be intended to hold small quantities of stock, the value of this makes it difficult for providers to recover. 

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Flexibility & continuous operation

Incorporating this principle does allow for flexibility when it comes to scheduled maintenance and repair activities within the cold store, as the redundant backup system can seamlessly take over the load. This also means that should the need for additional temperature-controlled storage facilities grow over time, additional systems can be installed reliably and without a complete overhaul to the existing specification. 

Getting a N+1 redundant cold store right 

Having a clear understanding of what is required for pharmaceutical cold store projects, and hence the key differences to that of a traditional cold store build, is of paramount importance through the points discussed above. With product integrity at the forefront for any pharmaceutical manufacturer or supplier, it can be costly to not maintain a high-level specification. 

As a turnkey construction partner for pharmaceutical cold storage projects across the UK, CREST have the specialist expertise required to understand the complexities of N+1 redundant specifications to meet EU GMP and GDP standards. 

For reliable advice on your upcoming industrial cold store project or to hear about CREST’s vast experience in the industry to date, get in touch.

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