With the continuous development of the world economy, the demand for chemicals in various industries has grown rapidly, which has nurtured a diverse chemical packaging market. Strict and effective packaging can avoid the possibility of deterioration of the goods in contact with the external environment or the burning, explosion, poisoning, corrosion, radioactive pollution, and other accidents caused by collision, friction, vibration, and leakage. At the same time, packaging can not only ensure the complete quantity of goods but also prevent accidents and ensure safe transportation.

In the international trade of the chemical industry, we have many novice customers who do not know how to choose the right package which brings them some unexpected impacts on storage, transportation, production, and the environment, etc.

In this article, I will explain in detail how we choose a suitable packaging in the international trade of the chemical industry from the classification of packaging, the material characteristics of packaging, and the characteristics of chemical materials.

1. What is the packaging?

Packaging refers to the general name of containers, materials and auxiliary materials used in certain technical methods to protect products during the circulation process, facilitate storage and transportation, and promote sales. It also refers to the operational activities which are in the process of using containers, materials, and accessories to achieve the above-mentioned purposes.

2. Understand the classification of packaging

1.1 Barrels

Aviation drums, paper drums, plastic drums, plastic drums, cardboard drums, galvanized drums, plastic drums, iron-plastic drums, steel drums, iron drums, etc.

1.2 Cans

Plastic cans, chemical cans, steel cans, aluminum cans, printed iron cans, sealed storage tanks, etc.

1.3 Bags

Paper bags, ton bags of paper, plastic composite bags, sealed bags, aluminum foil bags, chemical bags, kraft paper bags, square bottom open bags, woven bag composite packaging bags, square bottom bags, laminated bags, etc.

1.4 Bottles

Fluorinated bottles, chemical bottles, powder bottles, sampling bottles, plastic bottles, PP bottles, liquid bottles, etc.

1.5 Pharmaceutical Packaging

Medicine bottle, medicine box, medicine hose, etc.

3. Understand the material and characteristics of packaging

3.1 Bag Packaging

Bag packaging is an ideal packaging container for powdered and granular products such as fertilizers, pesticides, cement, grains, etc. The packaging range is generally 20kg-50kg and has the characteristics of easy loading and unloading, stacking, transportation, and storage. According to the loading mass range, it is divided into A-type and B-type, A-type is less than 30kg, B- type is 30-50kg. For example, potassium-containing products such as potassium pyrophosphate and dipotassium hydrogen phosphate are usually packaged with inner plastic and outer woven, because their solids are hygroscopic. The characteristics of common bag packaging types as following:

3.1.1 Plastic woven bag

It has the characteristics of high strength, aging resistance, moisture resistance, non-toxicity, tastelessness, and low cost. Craft paper bag is commonly used in the packaging of chemical products. It has leak-proof, moisture-proof, light-proof, breathable, anti-static, Advantages such as non-slip.

3.1.2 Plastic and paper composite bag

It is not tightly compounded, but the paper bag is lined with a PE bag.

3.1.3 P.P. Bag with P.E. lining

It is used in dye, flavor and other industries.

3.1.4 BOPP+PP composite bags

Such as rice and fertilizer packaging bags, the characteristic of the BOPP outer composite is that the printing can be infinitely beautiful.

3.1.5 P.P. Polypropylene

A thermoplastic resin, which is a polymer of propylene. Most used in the fertilizer and early ethylene industries, the bag has four major characteristics: extremely poor sealing, extremely high strength, extremely low price, and extremely old-fashioned appearance and material form. In actual use, the bag is usually lined with a PE bag (the thickness ranges from 5 to 10 filaments), and there is also a layer of PE (BOPP) film coated on the outside (inside) to increase its sealing performance.

3.1.6 LDPE high-pressure low-density polyethylene

A polymerized vinyl resin, especially used in containers, kitchen appliances and various types of tubes, or in the form of rolls and sheets for packaging.

3.1.7 Jumbo bag

It is a medium-sized bulk container, a type of collective packaging, which has the characteristics of large volume, lightweight, easy loading and unloading, and cost-saving. It is a common form of transportation packaging. It is mainly used to hold bulk cargo in powder, granular and block form, such as chemical products, mineral products, agricultural and sideline products, cement, pesticides and other cargoes. The carrying capacity is generally 400kg to 3000kg. It is around (C-shaped) or square (S-shaped) bag made of woven plastic processing and sewing. It has sufficient structural strength and is suitable for lifting transportation tools. It has a convenient loading and unloading device and can be quickly loaded and unloaded. . It usually has inlet and outlet ports. The typical industry is PTA, and all the products use tons of packaging. Because it needs to bear a lot of weight, the material of the bag is made of PP polypropylene wire drawing, and PE polyethylene lined bags can be optionally added as needed.

3.2 Plastic drums

Plastic containers are hollow blow-molded containers with the characteristics of lightweight, not fragile, corrosion-resistant, and recyclable, which are processed by a hollow molding method. There are two types of plastic drum, one is open type and the other is close type. The open type is mainly used to contain solid chemicals, food, medicine, etc. The close type is mainly used to contain liquid substances. Its maximum volume is 450L, and the maximum weight of the cargo is 400kg.

3.3 Carbord Drums

Cardboard drums, also called fiberboard drum, are rigid drums which composed by a body made of paper or cardboard with adhesive, a bucket bottom and a lid made of the same material or other materials. Cardboard drums are mainly used for the packaging of solid and milky materials in the fields of dye, chemical, pharmaceutical, food, hardware, etc.

Fiberboard drums have many unique characteristics that are superior to wooden drums, iron drums and plastic drums. They are beautiful in appearance, sturdy, durable, low in price, easy to use, and have the advantages of moisture resistance, corrosion resistance, good sealing performance, and high compressive strength.

Especially note that there must be no metal on the whole body. There is a metal ring on the upper and lower ends of the early traditional fiber drums. So if you want to use this type of package, please confirm with your supplier ahead.

3.4 Paper box

Carton is an ideal packaging container. It has the characteristics of being light, firm, damping and suitable for mechanized production. It has been used in transport packaging and sales packaging for many years. Corrugated boxes have won the market with their exquisite appearance and excellent internal quality. In addition to protecting commodities, facilitating storage and transportation, it also plays a role in beautifying and promoting commodities. Especially when all countries in the world attach great importance to environmental protection, corrugated boxes have the advantages of recycling and reuse. It is good for environmental protection, good for loading, unloading and transportation, and good for saving wood.

3.5 Wooden box

A wooden box is a packaging container with a certain rigidity mainly made of wooden materials, usually a cuboid. Wooden packaging boxes are a kind of packaging widely used for export commodities in various countries. They play an important and irreplaceable role in packaging fields such as light industry and machinery. For air transportation of most liquids, a wooden box is used on the outermost layer for protection.

3.6 Steel drum / Iron drum

A steel drum is a type of metal container with a larger capacity, the most common type is cylindrical. The steel drum is an important packaging container that can resist various general mechanical, climate, biological, chemical and other external environmental hazards during transportation and turnover. It is widely used in the packaging fields of many commodities such as medicine, food and military products.

According to the structure and the diameter of the closure, steel drums can be divided into two categories: closed steel drums and open steel drums. The open ones are divided into medium opening steel drums and full opening steel drums. Each type forms a series according to capacity specifications. Based on the steel plates of different thickness, it can be divided into heavy barrels, medium barrels, medium barrels, and light barrels. In the transportation process, steel-plastic composite barrels and steel pails will be used, especially for liquid forms such as paint or coating.

3.7 IBC drum

IBC tonnage refers to the IBC medium bulk container. It is an essential tool for the modern storage and transportation of liquid products. The container is composed of an inner container and a metal frame. The inner container is blow-molded with high molecular weight and high-density polyethylene, which makes the IBC drum have the characteristics of high strength, corrosion resistance and good hygiene. It can help the chief mate to reduce production, storage, transportation, and operation costs. So it will save a lot of manpower and material resources. Compared with traditional packaging, storage can save 35% space, and forklift operations can be used for loading and unloading, which reduces the trouble of manual handling. Filling: 1 ton barrel = 5 200L barrels.

3.8 Tank

The international standard tank is a stainless steel pressure vessel installed in a fastened outer frame. The inner tank is mostly made of 316 stainless steel. Most tanks have steam or electric heating devices, inert gas protection devices, pressure reducing devices and other optional equipment required for fluid transportation loading and unloading. There are corner load-bearing frames around the tank for protection and hoisting. The outer frame size of the tank is completely equivalent to the size of the international standard 20’ container (length 20 feet, width: 8 feet, height: 8 feet 6 inches). It can be used for road, rail and water transportation.

4. Choose the right packaging based on the chemical properties

General chemical materials are divided into liquid form, solid powder form and gas. we can choose plastic barrels, iron barrels, steel barrels, IBC or tanks for liquid. The solid powder can be considered in bags, cardboard drums, ton bags, etc. And the gaseous state can only be stored in pressure steel cylinders or pressure tanks.

The packaging directly in contact with the goods, including the closure, must have the ability to resist any chemical reaction or other projection of the goods, and the packaging materials must not contain substances that react with the contents to generate dangerous products or significantly weaken the packaging function. For example, hydrofluoric acid is highly corrosive and can corrode glass, so it cannot be contained in glass containers and should be shipped in aluminum cylinders or corrosion-resistant plastics. If a material undergoes a chemical reaction with the contents due to temperature changes during transportation, or becomes significantly softer, embrittled, or has increased permeability due to the use of refrigerants, it cannot be used.

In addition, the same kind of goods may require different packaging due to different physical conditions. Liquid ammonia is compressed by ammonia gas and transported in gas cylinders at room temperature, while ammonia water is dissolved in water by ammonia gas and can be transported in iron drums.

At the same time, when choosing a package, the texture and thickness of the package must also be considered to prevent heat generation and change the chemical properties of the contents when friction occurs during transportation.

5. Choose the right package based on the chemical class level

The cargo categories are divided into dangerous chemicals and general chemicals. The procedures and packaging of general chemical products exported from China are basically the same as those of general cargo. If the goods are classified as dangerous goods, it depends on the hazard class. Different shipping companies have a different carrying capacity for dangerous goods and different packaging grades. The detailed classification of the dangerous articles as following:

5.1 Universal packaging.

It applies to dangerous goods with levels 3, 4, 5, 6 and certain goods in the first and eighth categories.

5.2 Special packaging for explosives

The packaging design applicable to certain explosives must be carried out simultaneously with the production design of the explosives and be approved at the same time. This series cannot be used interchangeably between explosives.

5.3 Gas cylinder

It is special packaging for the second category of dangerous goods. The most notable feature is that it can withstand high internal pressure, so it is also called a pressure vessel.

5.4 Packaging of radioactive materials

It is dedicated to contain various radioactive chemicals.

5.5 Packaging of corrosive chemicals

Because different corrosive items have different corrosive effects on different materials, packaging of various materials and shapes are used in corrosive products, and for certain corrosive products.

5.6 Special packaging for special chemicals

Some goods must be specially packaged due to their special nature, such as special packaging for alkali metals, special packaging for yellow phosphorus, and waste packaging.

6. Choose the right packaging based on the quantity of the order

6.1 For some sample sheets, you can consider using smaller packages, such as aluminum foil bags, fluorinated bottles, and glass bottles.

6.2 For pilot orders, you can consider using 25 kg cartons or cardboard drums or plastic drums, etc.

6.3 For mass production orders, consider using ton bags, ton barrels or 200L plastic drums, steel drums or container tanks, etc.

All of the above need to choose the appropriate packaging according to the nature of the goods.

7. Choose the right packaging based on the transportation mode

7.1 For air transportation

The span of space is relatively large, and the goods are more sensitive to changes in environmental conditions changing, so it requires the packaging of the goods to adapt to rapid changes in temperature, humidity, and altitude in a short time. At the same time, it also needs to be able to withstand the vibration of the aircraft to ensure the safety of air transportation. The specific packaging size can refer to the air transport guidelines for chemicals.

7.2 For sea shipping

Select the corresponding packaging type according to the nature, state, and weight of the transported items.

Above are the information helping you all to know more about packaging knowledge. If you still have any doubt or interesting, please feel free to contact us.

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