Choices, choices, choices – they are both the bane and blessing of our times. As immunization managers, we now have a wide array of PQS-prequalified cold chain equipment to choose from, but how do we make the right choices and get the best value for our bucks? The TechNet Product Reviews area helps you do just that, with users in the field, who are constantly ‘testing’ the product, giving you feedback about the equipment they are using be it refrigerators, thermometers or vaccine carriers. Take, for example, the SunDanzer BFRV 55 DC solar direct-drive refrigerator. Gopal Nadadur from Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) writes, “As is widely acknowledged, improper installations are the cause of a significant percentage of malfunctioning or broken down refrigerators. Easier installation procedures could help to alleviate this problem.” And that is just what CHAI did, ensuring that the manufacturer was kept in the loop, allowing for improvements in product installation. Some of Gopal’s comments have to do with installation while the others recommend changes to the product itself or deal with maintenance. To list some of them: • Visual job aids to assist in routine maintenance and daily usage would be valuable. • The product’s fasteners use the English system of units, all countries where the SDD will be installed use metric sizes. Although the tools are provided with the unit, it would be simpler for all parts to be in metric units if replacement parts need to be procured in country. • Include spare parts of all components needed, especially simple parts that are likely to be easily misplaced (nuts, bolts, screws, etc.). • Could a modified mounting solution be developed for positioning the E-W array at the top convergence of both sides of the roof? This would add greater flexibility to mount on different roof orientations. Note: The manufacturer has accepted this feedback and is working on a solution to this problem. • Constructing the mounting frame of the solar arrays around a pole proved problematic, since some of the fasteners, brackets, nuts, bolts, and screws were confusing to position properly. Need a simpler design and better instructions. Refrigerator • Handles on the side of the refrigerator made carrying it and positioning it in the vaccine storage room easy. • The ON-OFF switch is located in a corner at the back of the fridge. It can be repositioned to be easier to locate. Hamadou Modibo Dicko in his review says that he would “fully recommend this equipment as it has been working well according to agents on the ground”. He lauds the manufacturer’s honesty in informing him that the equipment may not work efficiently at sites that receive heavy rainfall and where the skies are clouded for large parts of the year. However, the staff has had difficulties using all the available baskets at once, and he suggests that the manufacturer should make suitable modifications to this design feature. The third review is from Kshem Prasad, who evaluated the units that were installed in Kenya during 2012. He states that, “most of the models were found having a distorted ice-lining, which is factory installed with some gel compound into the unit. Most likely, it is suspected that the plastic deformation of the ice lining on the 4 walls, occurred during the storage and transport in the container, during which the units were exposed to temperatures higher than expected.” The deformation has compromised efficient cooling and interferes with proper placement of the baskets. The UNICEF SD has communicated these limitations to the manufacturer and the latter is expected to come up with a solution in its new models. You can read the detailed reviews of the product here: http://technet-21.org/en/refrigerators-and-freezers/solar-direct-drive-refrigerators-with-without-ancillary-battery/sundanzer-bfrv-55-e003-020 You can also comment on the reviews above or submit your own review: http://technet-21.org/en/reviews
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