SO VCI® Seaworthy Packaging of Machines
Indian Engineers are on par with their counterparts in any part of the world. The Indian Engineering industry produces machines/machine tools of excellent quality/workmanship which can match similar products of foreign manufacturers. No wonder the engineering industry is playing a major role in the export earnings of India.
While the machines produced are of high quality, often they are often found wanting, as, by the time the machines are received abroad, rusty spots would have developed, rendering all the engineering skill/efforts to nought. One of the major contributing factors for rusting is the packing material used for export.
Traditionally, the materials used for packing are wood, polythene sheets or shrouds, bitumen paper or hessian cloth, silica gel, etc. These traditional products may be adequate for packing many products, but, always may not be the solution for engineering products. Many exporters of engineering goods have experienced the problem of rusting, after using these packaging materials, as each one of these products leads to rusting/corrosion. Some of the shortcomings of conventional packing materials are enumerated below.
Almost all kinds of unseasoned wood are found to release acetic/formic acid fumes under hot and humid conditions, which is the case during the sea journey and rainy season. Naturally, these acidic fumes spread inside the pack leading to corrosion. Wet wood is also susceptible to the growth of fungus and vermin.
Generally, polythene sheet shrouds used are from LDPE. Though LDPE has water repellent properties, in excess humid conditions transmission of moisture is observed inside the pack, due to the diurnal changes in the weather conditions. Diurnal temperature changes promote a recurring cycle of condensation and evaporation within the pack. This is due to what is known as the ‘breathing phenomenon’ of LDPE. Thinner the gauge of the film, the transmission is more. To overcome this, LDPE film of the thicker gauge has to be used, though transmission cannot be completely ruled out.
Secondly, the LDPE film used is generally made from recycled ones unless specified and inspected. Impurities, if not cleaned properly, might drag in and cause an adverse effect on the packed components. One way to overcome this problem is to procure virgin quality material though little expensive.
A bituminised hessian cloth is not a proper barrier material to be used for packing engineering components/machinery. It is found that the cloth tears during transit. At temperatures above 40 Deg. C., the tar, coat to the cloth melts and seeps through the punctured area and deposits on the packed component. In addition, there is the possibility of moisture and other pollutants also seeping inside. All these could damage the packed components.
Secondly, the hessian cloth being an organic fiber is prone to fungus attacks, as it retains moisture for a long period.
Silica Gel, which is used as a desiccant, has the following shortcomings.
Silica Gel works on the principle of absorption. Given quantity of Silica Gel can absorb a given quantity of moisture. Where there is excess ingress of moisture, this may not be absorbed, as Silica Gel is fully saturated. The unabsorbed moisture would then deposit on the components causing rust. To improve its absorption capacity, before use, Silica Gel has to be heated to about 150 Deg. C. in an oven, which is rarely done.
Another flaw is that Silica Gel has a tendency to release the absorbed moisture, which then increases the humidity level within the packed atmosphere.
The third and most important lacuna is that Silica Gel is acidic in nature. So during the sea journey, the absorbed moisture, which is acidic is cyclically vaporized and re-condensed during day/night temperature variation and comes into contact with the packed component.
Due to these shortcomings, heavy rusting takes place on the machined components as also plated components. Even painted surfaces are found to have developed blisters. The corrosion is more pronounced in places, where the Silica Gel pouch is in contact with the metal surface.
One way to overcome corrosion is to adopt VACUUM PACKING. But for many reasons, it becomes practically difficult to adopt this system.
We, at SUPRABHA, studied these particular problems of the engineering industry. With the long years of experience in manufacturing impregnated papers & Films with VCI chemicals, a lot of R&D work, assistance and guidance from experts in the packing field, we pioneered in developing a packing material having good barrier properties, which can withstand the rigorous of sea journey and also handle. It may not be possible to replace wood from the present packing system, due to various factors. But a suitable barrier material can be used to take care of all other eventualities.
This system is named SUPRABHA Seaworthy Packaging, which varies from a multilayered HDPE laminated SO VCI® paper Or Multilayered PE Film with SO VCI® Film combined products. These products are designed with 100% waterproof and have excellent barrier properties, hence moisture transmission is avoided. It has good wear and tear strength and is not susceptible to fungus and termite attacks due to the PE lamination. Covers/bags of any size can be fabricated from this paper either in the form of bags with flap for smaller items or with a hood and bottom sheet in case of bigger machines, which are mounted on base plates. The chemical impregnation of the paper conforms to IS-6263 and AME-MIL-P3420 Specifications. By using a single material, other additional wrappers like tar coated paper, hessian cloth and polythene cover etc. can be dispensed with. When the machines are loaded into the containers at the factory itself, adopting crate system can reduce the cost of wooden packing.
To supplement the chemical requirement inside the pack, SUPRABHA SO VCI® 512 RUSTOPOWDER is used, which has positive rust preventive properties. This powder is to be used at 2.5 gms. per c.ft. a volume of the void space to be protected inside the box, in combination with SUPRABHA DHF 555 DEHUMIDIFIER. The required quantity of powder is supplied in sachets of 5 gms., 10 gms., 20 gms. etc., which are to be kept or suspended uniformly inside the pack. This powder conforms to IS-5730 and AME-MIL-22110 Part IIA & B Specifications. This is non-hygroscopic in nature, sparingly soluble in water and hence does not cause any rusting even where it is closely in contact with the metal surface.
SUPRABHA DHF 555 DEHUMIDIFIER is used as a desiccant @ 20 gms. per c.ft. of the box. This is a combination of activated metal compounds like Laminated Alumina, Bentonite etc. It absorbs moisture and does not get so wet as to bleed. Absorbed moisture is not released during normal cyclic temperature variations. The pH value of the product is near neutral. Hence it does not cause any corrosion to the metal packed. It can be disposed of off as a solid waste without requiring any special treatment, as the material is not toxic and pollution free and is environmentally friendly.
Once the machinery/component is packed in SUPRABHA Seaworthy Packaging System, the system works in two unique ways as below: –
Any ingress of moisture or gases, which can harm the component, is not possible due to the superior barrier properties of the Suprabha SO VCI® Sea Worthy Packaging. The bags are fabricated using laminated HDPE fabric adhesive tapes or an impulse sealing technique, so as to avoid any ingress from outside or leakage of SO VCI® vapors from inside through these joints.
Inside the pack, the SO VCI® chemicals immediately start functioning. The vapor released by the chemicals form a monomolecular layer around the metal surface, reaching even the recessed areas like bores etc. The entrapped atmospheric moisture gets saturated with SO VCI® vapors (due to ionization taking place) making the moisture ineffective. In the process, they build up a slightly higher vapor pressure than the atmospheric pressure (about 1.006, when compared to the atmospheric pressure of 1). Once this pressure is attained, the vaporization automatically ceases, which again starts, when there is a loss in the pressure due to leakage, when the pack is opened or when the SO VCI® bag is torn while handling. The system is self-replenishing as long as the RUSTOPOWDER is available inside the bag. Another advantage is that in the normal course, there is no possibility of any ingress due to the higher pressure within the box.
The packaging industry will have to cope actively with various kinds of so-called environmental problems for a few years ahead. This may be a gateway we have to get through for the 21st century; a bright, new view beyond that gateway will then be open to us.
Basic policy for packaging materials – We have to use limited resources effectively. We think the four basic approaches for this can be summarized as follows: –
- Reducing the quantity of packaging material – a thorough reduction of the quantity of packaging material to be used (change of packaging forms and study of their specifications).
- Reducing the volume of packaging materials – schemes for reducing their volume after use for recycling (change of packaging forms and study of their structure).
- Recycling and reuse – schemes for reusing materials recycled from collected packages, for creating a market for recycled materials and for collecting recycled packages and using them repeatedly.
- Study of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – schemes for minimizing the burdens of packages on the earth.
- To preserve the environment, “the impact of packaging on the environment must be minimized”. For this, “post-use study or monitoring” of packages may be needed. Thus, packaging manufacturers need to develop and use packages, which prevent or minimize their impacts on the environment.
One more important feature of this packing system is that the materials used are easily disposable, environmentally friendly and do not cause any toxic fumes. Now that more importance is attached to this factor world over, this system answers to their strict environmental regulations. Compare this with tons of Silica Gel, a large quantity of polythene/tar paper, tar-coated hessian cloth, etc., which cause serious problems for disposal. This system has been already accepted in countries like U.S.A., U.K., Germany, and other EEC countries.
It is evident that the machines packed using this system can reach the destination in the factory fresh condition unless something seriously goes wrong, which is beyond the control of anyone, which is a rarity.
Many leading engineering exporters in India have adopted this system, which has given them an edge over their competitors abroad and has helped India earn the precious foreign exchange.