ULTra Insights Blog

3 Signs Your Supplier is a Market Reactor Rather Than an Innovator – And Why You Should Care

By Tim Cloutier, Area Vice President of Sales-East

Today’s research environment is fast and competitive. That’s why it can be especially frustrating when suppliers become complacent about staying ahead of the challenges you face, both now and in the future. Here are 3 common signs that your supplier isn’t focused on your long-term strategic needs . . .

1. The Status Quo Defender:
Reacts to innovation rather than driving it.

“Innovators” become students of their markets and lead the way to positive change. With change, comes new and better ways to solve problems. This stands in stark contrast to those who repackage existing technology and extend performance parameters in reaction to market competitiveness. When an innovator drives the market with a superior solution, it poses a threat to other “status quo” providers, who must then seek ways to respond. Innovators have the vision and courage to change the market, while the status quo simply reacts. Innovation is the lifeblood of competitive advantage and your suppliers should be your trusted advisors on this journey. Ask yourself, “Who are the thought-leading suppliers who are advancing my industry?”

Ultra-low cooling technology saw little improvement for decades, until the innovative free-piston Stirling engine was introduced to the ULT freezer market by Stirling Ultracold. While we applaud the energy-efficiency enhancements applied to cascade ULT freezers technology since then, this has been a reaction that does not address the fundamental vulnerabilities of compressor-based systems.

2. The Naysayer:
Focuses only on associating fear with the risks of change rather than the benefits.

Innovators often find themselves sorting through distorted claims and attacks from incumbents who seek to defend the current balance. Defenders of the status quo will position themselves as the “devil you know”, even seeding the market with unsupported doubts and myths about the new innovation. They will often go to the greatest lengths to protect their turf. A stagnant market only benefits the old guard, while the customer is best served by growth and continuous progress. Ask yourself, “Which of my suppliers seem more focused on discrediting competitive solutions than finding their own solutions to my long-term needs?”

As a true ultra-low temperature storage technology innovator, Stirling Ultracold is confident in the tangible value that customers gain from our innovation and quality. That’s why we’re able to focus on delivering these advantages to our customers rather than discrediting our competitors.

3. The Discounter:
Commoditizes long-term customer value and positive strategic impact.

A company that sells solely on price is offering a commodity with no differentiation or added customer value. A commodity supplier doesn’t win your trust by enabling tomorrow’s growth or protecting your strategic advantage. Instead, they seek to close the sale by employing another telltale sign of a short-sighted supplier- the price drop. This is made possible by sizable margins that often characterize legacy technology, as it gets commoditized over years of manufacturing scale, component cost downs and sourcing from low-cost regions. Ask yourself this question, “Which trusted suppliers talk about long-term strategic value and which vendors center the conversation on price?”

Another part of our innovation at Stirling Ultracold is educating customers to a better way of thinking about ULT freezer added value, rather than just costs. Looking at the bigger picture, our customers save far more money by reducing ULT operating costs and maintenance than seeking the deepest discount. Even better, they’re not placing their priceless biological samples at risk by buying from the lowest bidder!

The best suppliers understand your unique needs and growth strategies well enough to become a trusted advisor and partner. Some suppliers never become more than just vendors. Choosing the right provider will provide value-added benefits and a strategic advantage for your operation, along with a longer-term view of your bottom line.

New “High-Density” Rack: Even More ULT Storage Capacity in the Same Space

By Jim Miller, Stirling Ultracold Chief Revenue Officer

Our 600-box SU780XLE ultra-low freezer already stores the most samples per floor space area of any comparable model. With the new “High-Density” Storage Rack solution, it can now store 100* more boxes in the same footprint! Storing up to 700* two-inch sample boxes, this optional rack solution further increases the freezer’s storage density to 81.6 boxes per sq. ft/m of floor space, which is 35-70% more ULT storage per floor space area than similarly-sized freezer models.

The High-Density Storage Rack is a perfect solution for laboratories and biorepositories with limited space who want to expand biological sample inventories without new construction. The ability to store more samples in a smaller freezer footprint not only reduces your cost per sq. ft/m, but offers the potential of replacing older ULT models with fewer freezers to reduce capital costs.

Considering that the SU780XLE is the most energy-efficient ENERGY STAR®-certified ULT freezer, this new 700-box rack furthers its efficiency per sample. In fact, the XLE uses 20-60% less energy per sample than other ENERGY STAR-certified ULT freezers (energy consumption data source: energystar.gov) in the high-density configuration. This not only enhances energy savings for all users, and potentially reduces the number of units required, but particularly benefits commercial biorepositories by improving profitability with the lowest operating cost per sample stored.

To learn more, download our new High-Density Storage Rack brochure

* To keep the vacuum release port unobstructed on the SU780XLE, it is recommended that one box be removed from the High-Density Storage Rack. This will reduce storage capacity to 699 2-inch boxes in the high-density configuration.

Stirling Ultracold Helps Australia’s Telethon Kids Institute Improve the Lives of Children

By Nicholas A. Pezzuolo, VP of Channel Development

As we expand our global market presence, it’s great when we can share how Stirling Ultracold products are making an impact in regions all over the world. One example from earlier this year is the Telethon Kids Institute in Nedlands, Western Australia which purchased and installed 23 of our SU780XLE ultra-low temperature freezers (see photo to the right) through our distributor partner Bioline Global Pty Ltd. The Institute is located within the Perth Children’s Hospital and is one of the largest research facilities in Australia. Telethon is committed to improving the lives of children through extensive research in childhood diseases, conditions, and issues. Their four main areas of focus are Aboriginal Health, Brain and Behavior, Chronic and Severe Diseases, and Early Environment.

Telethon has also pledged to reduce their carbon footprint by embracing sustainable practices for the well-being of all children in the present and future. We are proud that Telethon chose our reliable, energy-efficient freezers to help them meet their environmental goals.

Ottawa Hospital Reduces HVAC Load & Cost by Replacing ULT Freezer with SU780XLE

by Tim Root, Director of Marketing

At Stirling Ultracold, we’re always delighted to hear stories about our products helping customers save money and achieve their sustainability goals. That’s why we were pleased to see Ottawa Hospital sharing good news about how they saved energy by replacing old ULT freezers with energy-efficient models, including our SU780XLE. As recently reported in their newsletter article, Research deep freezers reduce energy consumption by 85%, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) has already saved about $20,000 in utility costs per year.

Hospital researchers have not only reduced energy consumption and carbon footprint, but were surprised by how quiet the energy-efficient models operate; in addition to how much less heat they generate.

As noted in the article by Brian Cayen, Research Information Services and Operations Manager, replacing just one of OHRI’s old ULT freezers with our SU780XLE model made an immediate impact on HVAC load and comfort in the lab . . .

“The first freezer that was replaced in one of the labs reduced heat generation and allowed us to turn off one of the two air conditioning units, and the temperature in the room still dropped by 2°C.”

With benefits for laboratory, operations and sustainability teams at OHRI, this article cites another real-world example of how Stirling ULT freezers deliver tangible advantages across the entire research organization.

 

VWR Recognizes Stirling as 2017 Supplier of the Year for Equipment, Instruments, and Chromatography

It’s been less than a year since announcing our new distribution agreement with VWR, the leading global independent provider of product and service solutions to laboratory and production customers. That’s why we were so honored to recently receive VWR’s coveted Supplier of the Year Award for Equipment, Instruments, and Chromatography. Being recognized among so many well-regarded suppliers at VWR’s recent 2018 Americas Sales Conference demonstrates just how successful this great relationship has become in a short time!

These VWR awards recognize supplier accomplishments and excellence in operations, sales support and customer service. “Throughout the year, our suppliers collaborate with our Sales organization to ensure we provide innovative and customized solutions to meet our customers’ needs,” said Mark McLoughlin, EVP, Americas for VWR, part of Avantor. “We are very pleased to recognize Stirling Ultracold for the products and service they provide to our customers.”

Read our Press Release Announcement >>

Setting the Record Straight on False ENERGY STAR® Claims

ES_Partner_logoRecently, another ultra-low freezer manufacturer “boldly” asserted that their model is the “most energy-efficient ULT freezer.” This very public claim was presented as having its basis in ENERGY STAR® certified test results that are posted at energystar.gov. While we’re pleased to see other ULT freezer manufacturers moving to more efficient designs and joining the ENERGY STAR program, we would like to set the record straight on this matter . . .

It has been confirmed that this competitor’s claim was false and the Stirling Ultracold SU780XLE has been validated by ENERGY STAR as the most energy-efficient ULT freezer. This is not our claim, but is based on the EPA ENERGY STAR calculation that qualifies ULT freezers for certification (version 1.1 specification). Anyone can go to energystar.gov and clearly see that the SU780XLE is the most efficient certified ULT freezer listed (.29 kWh/day/ft3).

Energystar Gov Lab Grade of ULT FreezersScreenshot from energystar.gov (on 11-27-17) showing the SU780XLE is the top Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer listed.

Just Another Untrustworthy Claim

Unfortunately, this inaccurate claim is just the most recent example of ULT manufacturer “marketing” that asserts unfounded energy specifications or capabilities. As I pointed out in the blog post, What’s the Difference Between “Typical”, “Specification” and “Final Test Method”?, others in our industry have confused and obfuscated for years on the issue of ULT freezer energy consumption. That’s why Stirling Ultracold was alone in publicly promoting the ENERGY STAR Final Test Method when it became the de facto industry standard in 2014. We’ve always believed that ULT freezer buyers deserve a straightforward “apples to apples” energy comparison, which is the purpose of ENERGY STAR after all. Isn’t it ironic that we’re still talking about confusion on this issue, even after long-awaited ENERGY STAR certification has come to ULT freezers?

Defining True Industry Leadership

At Stirling Ultracold, we carefully consider the validity of all technical data published in our marketing communications, which is why our products are known for delivering on promised performance in independent tests and daily operation. That’s also why we were the first in our industry to cite third-party, ENERGY STAR test protocol results for published energy consumption. We made this change to our SU780XLE product literature over a year ago to “walk the talk” and model transparency rather than the casual “specsmanship” that has become so prevalent in our industry. As an industry leader we place the highest value on accuracy and integrity to meet market needs.

We’ve said it before and we’ll now say it again . . . No other ULT freezer on the market offers more energy savings than the SU780XLE, and we would be happy to provide SU780XLE test data in the required ENERGY STAR reporting format to back up this statement. Not only is the XLE the first and most efficient ENERGY STAR-certified ULT freezer, but its field-proven Stirling engine doesn’t use compressors that are expected to fail.

Protecting the ENERGY STAR Brand

Stirling has been a strong voice in our industry for ENERGY STAR and we value it as the most widely recognized symbol for energy efficiency in the world. Like any asset with appreciable value, this brand must be properly used and protected. That is why Global Cooling, Inc. (parent company of Stirling Ultracold) has recently contacted the EPA’s offices of Air and Radiation and Civil Enforcement regarding the previously-mentioned false statements. As reported in our letter, several unsupported assertions were made in the public domain on the basis of ENERGY STAR misrepresentations, which are potentially damaging to us, our industry and most importantly, the efficacy of the EPA’s ENERGY STAR brand. You may request a copy of this letter to the EPA by sending an email to epa_letter@stirlingultracold.com

How to Get 15-50% More ULT Sample Storage from Your Limited Floor Space

At Stirling Ultracold, we recognize that laboratories and biorepositories have a limited amount of floor space. That’s why our unique ULT freezer design delivers more storage capacity per square foot than other comparable models, giving you the most use of your floor space. With our compact Stirling engine cooling technology, less than 11% of our SU780XLE’s outer cabinet volume is needed to house its mechanical cooling system. That’s remarkably smaller than compressor deck space required in other ULT freezers, which is why you get so much more storage capacity in a smaller footprint with a Stirling freezer.

How Much More Sample Storage Do You Get Per Square Foot?
Our unique freezer design allows you to store 15-50% more 2ml vials per square foot of floor space (per freezer) when compared to other upright models of similar size.

Here’s another way to look at this . . . With the smaller footprint of our 600-box-capacity SU780XLE, you can place two additional ULT freezer units in a 50-foot row (side-by-side arrangement with recommended clearance), versus competitive models. This equates to a difference in storage capacity of 1,200-2,200 additional 2” sample boxes, or 120,000-220,000 additional sample vials within the same floor space!

Also, the Stirling Ultracold SU780XLE can be placed directly against the walls in your space, whereas competitive models require an additional 6-8 inches behind the freezer for ventilation clearance. This increases our footprint advantage even further. 

Our Stirling engine cooling technology is located at the top of our freezers, inside the green top. This places more racks within easier reach, while significantly improving system access and serviceability. In other ULT freezers, compressor-based cooling systems are located at the bottom of the freezer where service access is more limited.

With our innovative cooling system and unique design, we provide the most ULT storage capacity for your limited floor space, in addition to keeping your samples safer than they’ve ever been.

Congratulations to the 2017 Freezer Challenge Winners

Last December, we told you about the North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge, a collaboration of the I2SL and My Green Lab that promotes sample integrity, accessibility, reduced costs, and energy efficiency. As one of the Presenting Sponsors of the Freezer Challenge, we would like to congratulate the winners of this friendly competition that were recently announced.

The Freezer Challenge organizational winners were:

The individual laboratory winners were:

  • The Hoekstra Lab from Harvard University
  • The Baker Lab from Lilly
  • The Jones Lab from the CDC

Even more significant than the winners named above, Freezer Challenge participants collectively saved approximately 2.7-million kWh/year (equivalent to ≈1,900 metric tons of carbon emissions) and discarded over 200,000 samples.

We’re thrilled to have been a part of the Freezer Challenge program because it shares our core values, as exemplified by our 100% sustainable product line and Zero Waste facility. We’re also looking forward to presenting the awards to these winners at the 2017 I2SL Annual Conference on October 16 in Boston, MA.

For more information on the winners, please read the announcement from the Freezer Challenge website and the recent article on Nature.com.”

 

 

 

Stirling Ultracold’s Facility Earns Zero Waste Certification

I am very pleased to announce that Stirling Ultracold has received Zero Waste Certification from Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI), an independent certifying body that recognizes excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally. GBCI conducted an on-site assessment of our facility, reviewed our policies and practices, as well as our diversion data for the past year.  By adhering to the US Zero Waste Business Council’s and Zero Waste International Alliance’s rigorous standards for diverting waste from both incineration and landfill, this certification confirms our commitment to fulfilling the shared environmental sustainability goals and initiatives of our customers.

For us, becoming a certified Zero Waste facility is not a mere symbol or marketing pitch. Our success in reducing, reusing, and recycling waste is an extension of our core values, which have driven Stirling Ultracold’s products and approach to the research community since our beginnings. We have always believed that it is possible to align finding cures for diseases with sustainability. That is why every ultra-low freezer we manufacture supports sustainability and climate action goals with 100% natural refrigerants, industry-leading energy efficiency and the smallest possible carbon footprint. As we shared last year in our post, Why We’re Becoming a ‘Zero-Waste’ Manufacturer… Not Just ‘Zero Landfill, our Zero Waste program is part of our larger commitment to help research organizations achieve their corporate sustainability initiatives.

Having recently announced our new ENERGY STAR® partnership and certification of the most energy-efficient ULT freezer in the industry, earning Zero Waste certification is another important sustainability milestone for Stirling Ultracold because it validates our authenticity in supporting the values of our customers.

Our Undercounter ULT Freezer: Convenient, Compliant Personal Storage

When you don’t have enough room for a full-size ULT freezer in your lab or clinical space, Stirling Ultracold offers a smaller version of our upright freezer with the same award-winning Stirling engine technology: our SU105UE (105) undercounter ULT freezer. The 105 is a personal and lockable ULT freezer that is ideal for placing under or near your bench in the lab. This stackable model uses the revolutionary free-piston Stirling engine technology found in our SU780XLE Upright Freezer, offering a highly reliable ULT storage solution with only two moving parts, no oil and no compressors. We’ve packed convenience and reliability into one ULT freezer.

Undercounter Convenience and Space Savings- The light-weight (220 lbs./99 kg) SU105UE model is the right size for positioning under your workbench or nearby, with a surprising amount of storage space. It holds 72 two-inch boxes, making the most of its compact footprint. The quiet Stirling engine puts out much less heat than compressor-based models, providing a mixture of convenience and comfort to your work space. These benefits paired with quick and easy access allow you more time to focus on your research.

Stackable Flexibility- The SU105UE is stackable with full access to samples in an over / under configuration. This is particularly useful for placing ULT storage in labs with limited floor space, and for “staging” sample temperatures. With the widest temperature range in its class, the 105 can store biological materials from -86˚C up to -20˚C. This is ideal for clinical samples and biological drugs that must be warmed to a specific temperature in stages.

 

A “Temperature Stack” Case Study –

One example of the SU105UE’s stackable flexibility can be found at a research lab in Western Pennsylvania, where the team is taking advantage of the 105’s stackability, as well as its uniquely wide temperature range. This lab is working with a biologic drug that must be transitioned from  -80˚C to room temperature in two stages. With the range of -86˚C up to -20˚C, one of the freezers in the stack is used for the intermediate stage of the transition. Placing 105s in a stack offers a unique level of convenience and space-savings in this situation, with the flexibility to use the same freezer model at dissimilar temperatures ranges. This research team has seen improved efficiency and accuracy in the transition of these biologic materials to room temperature, while conserving precious floor space in their lab.

Secure Personalized Storage – The SU105UE model is the perfect size for personalized ULT storage. It gives you the freedom and control to organize your samples in a way that makes the most sense to you and your research. The 105 is also lockable to keep samples secure. Having a smaller lockable chamber is ideal for clinical use, where HIPAA patient privacy and access compliance standards are involved.

All the Advantages of Stirling Engine Technology – Like all of Stirling Ultracold freezers, the SU105UE can plug into any outlet worldwide, including 120V – 240V 50/60 hz. Consuming less than 4 kWh/day at -80°C, it saves energy and is environmentally friendly with 100% natural refrigerants. Because the 105’s advanced Stirling engine cooling system is inherently reliable, it comes with an industry-leading warranty that includes 7 years engine protection, with 2 years and labor cover parts coverage in the U.S. and Canada.

The SU105UE provides the perfect blend of safety, security and flexibility for your lab which will allow you to be more productive than ever.