A technician checks equipment at a smart manufacturing plant of Aucma, one of China's largest refrigeration equipment suppliers. (Photo provided to China Daily)
Aucma redefines low-cost cooling technology with Arktek project for medical industry
Aucma Co Ltd, one of China's largest refrigeration equipment suppliers, is making efforts to reshape Chinese brands as trustworthy and responsible in the company's go-global strategy.
The Qingdao-based company is keen on improving its innovative capability through high-level international cooperation.
For example, in cooperation with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the company developed a kind of portable passive cold storage device called Arktek, enhancing its cold chain technology to a higher level as well as international reputation.
Arktek looks like a green cartoon toy bucket, and can keep vaccines at as low as -80 C without extra energy support for a week, according to Ren Yizhao, deputy general manager of the Arktek project of Aucma.
The device has proved to be essential in transporting the Ebola vaccine during the outbreak of the disease in West Africa in 2014.
Statistics of the World Health Organization showed that some estimated 1.5 million children under 5 die each year globally from illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia that often can be prevented with vaccines.
Despite immunization being one of the greatest success stories in modern medicine, one in five children worldwide remains unprotected, without access to even the most basic vaccines globally. Some of the biggest challenges come from difficulties in delivering interventions like vaccines.
"With its excellent sealing performance, Arktek is easily delivered in rugged and rough roads and put at sanitary stations in remote areas as vaccine storage device," said Ren. "One Arktek barrel can meet the needs of a village of 6,000 people for a year."
Currently, Arktek has been tested in many countries such as Nigeria, India, Senegal and Ethiopia and received warm welcome by consumers there.
However, Aucma's Arktek success was not made in a day.
When Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation looked for a worldwide partner to invent a refrigeration device that could be used in countries with limited cold chain and ice pack production capacity, Aucma was among the candidates but not the most hopeful one.
Mark Suzman, president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's global policy, advocacy and country programs, said that Aucma is "a Chinese enterprise showing great potential for tackling development challenges in sub-Saharan Africa".
"And we share in common in devoting our intelligence and efforts to saving lives and improving health conditions in Africa as well as other countries."
Li Wei, chairman of Aucma Co Ltd, was longing for working with world-class teams and cherished the opportunity.
"Earning money is important but does not always take the first place," Li said. "To earn reputation internationally, Aucma needs to further consolidate its foundation in various areas first."
It took two years for Aucma to develop an Arktek reaching the WHO standards of quality, safety and efficacy after the cooperation agreement of 2013.
To date, Aucma has sold more than 2,000 Arktek barrels and the remaining market in Africa alone is estimated to be more than 30,000 units.
Globalgood, a research institute invested by Bill Gates, has sent several scientists to work with Aucma.