The purpose of IC Biomedical’s semen tanks is to preserve your investment until it can be put to its intended use – no matter how long that may be. We get a lot of questions about semen storage and transportation. Here are some of the typical questions we get asked by end users.
Q: What makes IC Biomedical’s semen tanks better than similar products on the market?
A: The number one reason is our products are made in the United States (Cartersville, GA) and with US-sourced materials. We follow world-class manufacturing standards so you can be assured each tank is the highest quality. Next, our neck tubes are designed to be stronger and last longer. When a tank is filled with LN2 and moved, the liquid will cause the inner vessel to swing and sway. Our neck tubes are designed to last longer with a reinforced structure that provides added strength. We use a grade of aluminum that allows sway without breaking. Some manufacturers, to save money, have thinner neck tubes which can cause premature failure. IC Biomedical’s neck tubes are thicker to last longer and keep your samples safer.
Q: How long should my tank last?
A: Like everything, it depends on how it is handled. A tank that is well cared for should last 10 – 15 years. (See our 5 Tips on How to Make Your Semen Tank Last Longer)
Q: Is it OK to transport a semen tank in my vehicle? I am worried about the liquid nitrogen being harmful to breathe.
A: It is no problem to transport a semen tank inside the passenger compartment of your vehicle if the top is securely in place and the tank is secured. Modern vehicles circulate more than enough fresh air and the amount of LN2 vented is minimal. We highly recommend securing your tank with a seatbelt or other method. The less movement the tank experiences when filled, the longer it will last. And you certainly don’t want it to tip over while you’re driving.
Q: Can I transport my semen tank in my trunk or the back of my pick up?
A: Yes, but make sure it is secure with straps or in a box that is strapped down. Don’t allow your tank to roll around – empty or full. This will shorten its life. Always keep the tank upright.
Q: What is your best semen tank?
A: The 10XT is one of our most popular semen tanks. It’s great for AI techs or small operations in that it is easy to carry (35 pounds full and a full bail handle) and has enough capacity for a day’s work. It needs to be refilled about every 60 days, which is ideal if you’re at a remote location.
Q: Can I use a Vapor Shipper to transport semen for my day-to-day operations?
A: You can, but keep in mind Shippers are more expensive than small freezers and have lower holding times. Shippers are a lot more work to maintain. A small freezer like the 10XT is a better option.
Q: Can I keep my tank on a concrete floor?
A: No! Aluminum reacts with the alkalis (OH) found in Portland cement concrete. When these two chemicals are combined, the reaction produces hydrogen gas. So concrete, when in direct contact with aluminum, creates a caustic reaction that will degrade the bottom of the tank and make it lose its vacuum. You should always use a roller base, cardboard or wood barrier between your tank and a concrete floor. Ideally, store your tank on a roller base or wood/fiber pallet in a cardboard box for maximum protection.
Q: Why do IC Biomedical products have a series of ribs on the tanks?
A: This is done to add strength to the tank. Because the outer vessel of the tank is in a vacuum state, this area naturally wants to collapse the outer wall of the tank inward. The ribs provide additional strength for a longer-lasting product.
Q: Does IC Biomedical make Taylor-Wharton tanks?
A: Our TW brand tank designs were originally developed in 1957 by Union Carbide Corp., which was the first company to develop insulated liquid cylinder products. Taylor-Wharton purchased the product line in 1985 and sold its CryoScience division to Worthington Industries in 2015, and IC Biomedical acquired the line from Worthington in 2020. We believe the original Union Carbide / Taylor-Wharton tank designs continue to be the best. We have made some small design tweaks, but the basic design is the same. So yes, we manufacture Taylor-Wharton designed storage and transport cryogenic devices.
Q: Why can’t you make the neck tubes on semen tanks wider so it’s easier to access the samples?
A: We have tank options with wider neck tubes. The wider the neck tube, the more frequently you must refill because every time you open the tank, ambient heat will attack the LN2. A wider neck tube means more air volume entering the tank. If you have easy access to LN2 then this is not an issue. For more remote operations, longer holding times are generally preferred which means a narrower neck tube.
Q: My tank has lost its vacuum. Can this be repaired?
A: Yes, IC Biomedical offers a procedure that can restore the vacuum chamber. However, it is not an inexpensive service and if your tank is getting older it is probably best to replace rather than repair. This is especially true if you were given a tank or “inherited” one and you are not sure of its history. Generally, when a tank loses its vacuum it’s a symptom of a bigger problem.
Q: I was given an old Taylor-Wharton tank, but its holding time is not what it should be. What are my options?
A: There are a lot of reasons why holding times on old tanks are not what they should be. If you don’t know the history of the tank, it is hard to identify the problem. Natural degradation due to age, poor handling, or storage procedures, a cracked neck tube and loss of vacuum are a few examples. Your distributor or semen broker will be able to identify the problem. The bigger question is, why you are willing to risk losing your investment in semen to a faulty tank?
Q: If I drop a thanksgiving turkey in liquid nitrogen, what happens?
A: Liquid nitrogen, at -196°C, will quickly replace all the turkey carcass’s heat and freeze it solid to the point it will be easily shattered upon impact. There are already plenty of You Tube and Tik-Tok videos showing this, and we think it’s a waste of a perfectly good turkey and liquid nitrogen. IC Biomedical always suggests using standard home refrigerators/freezers for the storage of your holiday meats.
Q: Can I use a Yeti cooler and dry ice to store my semen samples?
A: If you want to lose your samples this is a great way to do it! Dry ice in ideal conditions can generate a temperature of -109°F, but 10 pounds of dry ice in a Yeti cooler will only maintain that temperature for about 24 hours. We recommend using your Yeti for food and beverage storage and buying an LN2 semen tank to keep your samples safe and secure.
Q: How can I keep shipping companies from transporting my shippers on their side?
A: This is a big challenge for operations that ship semen. Shipping companies in general are providing slower delivery times and rougher handling of packages. Hopefully over time this will improve. A CX 100 has a typical holding time of 20 days, but this time is cut in half when the shipper is on its side. We have just introduced a new shipping case that’s designed with a wider base and a domed top to help keep it oriented upright while in transport. (Click here for more information.)
Do you have a question for one of our cryogenic storage and transport experts?
Paul Lydolph has 45 years of experience in the cryogenic products market, including stints with Cryogenics NW (now Airgas), AIRCO (now BOC), CAIRE (now CHART) and now with IC Biomedical. He has been a sales engineer in the respiratory oxygen, CO2 and bulk liquid cryogenics marketplaces.
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