Active, Passive, and Hybrid Containers: The Differences Explained

There are three main types of vessels used for storage and transportation in cold chain logistics: active, passive, and hybrid containers. Are you aware of the differences between them? If not, read this article – we will explain it in more detail here.

What Are Active, Passive, and Hybrid Containers?

Let’s take a look at each of these containers separately – this way, we will easily uncover the key differences between them.

Active Containers

Active containers, also known as runtime containers, use a system similar to the one in a fridge. They are based on mechanical or electric systems that are equipped with thermostats to maintain the desired temperatures. They are charged when plugged into an energy source.

Passive Containers

Passive containers, on the other hand, use phase-change materials (PCM) – substances that absorb or release heat when they change their physical state. They do not need to be plugged in to charge, but they require PCM maintenance.

Hybrid Containers

A hybrid container is somewhere in between active and passive containers. It employs both a PCM and a mechanical, electricity-powered cooling system. They are a fairly new product, combining the advantages of the previous two types of vessels.

The Differences between Active, Passive, and Hybrid Containers

Let’s now take a look at the most important aspect: the pros and cons of each type of container. This way, the differences will quickly become clear.

Active Containers

Active containers are most accurate when it comes to preserving the desired temperature. They also offer the highest range of temperatures. Plus, they are reusable. However, they also have a limited running speed and require a lot of maintenance.

Passive Containers

Passive containers may be both reusable and single-use. They provide the lowest temperature accuracy; however, they require the least amount of maintenance. To add to that, they are the safest for the products transported into them, as they are not built with any hazardous electronics, and the most popular PCM is water or ice. They also don’t weigh as much as active or hybrid containers, so they are cheaper to ship.

Hybrid Containers

Hybrid containers are the best in terms of independent runtime, as they can exploit both the mechanical system and the PCM. They are quite accurate, though not as much as active containers, and just a bit more heavy than the passive ones. A hybrid container is the perfect golden means between active and passive ones.

The Takeaway

We’ve explained all about the differences between different types of vessels used in cold chain logistics. So, what are you going to choose: an active, a passive or a hybrid container?

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