Even those who follow hazmat shipping guidelines to the letter might still run up against issues. That’s because the unexpected can — and often does — happen. What if a battery is damaged before or during its journey? What if a product containing a lithium battery is involved in a recall? Manufacturers, retailers, distributors and logistics providers that handle or ship lithium batteries need to better prepare for situations such as these.
Changing shipping regulations, along with the need to minimize the impact of shipping lithium batteries in the supply chain, require a new approach to packaging. Conventional cardboard boxes are flammable, and if its contents ignite, the box might not just fail to contain the fire, it might actually fuel it. That’s why most shipments of lithium batteries and battery-powered devices require gels, heavy liners or other fire-retardant fillers.
Today, organizations must truly think “outside the box” when it comes to packaging. Today’s next-generation packaging materials are engineered specifically to provide a thermal barrier for the transportation and storage of lithium batteries and the devices that contain them. Modern packaging options provide improved flame retardance and arrestment, thermal management, pressure management, blast containment, and gas and smoke filtration.
In many cases, companies using re-engineered packaging can eliminate the need for gel packs, beads, liners, pellets and fillers in the products they ship, making the transport of lithium-related items safer, easier, more cost-effective and more compliant than ever.
By rethinking their approach to boxes and shipping, companies can leverage packaging as a strategic supply-chain component that promotes safety for anyone handling or transporting dangerous goods, improves recall and return management, and affords a competitive advantage. Investing in next-generation packaging can positively impact the following business facets:
Whether your organization manufactures, sells or ships lithium batteries or devices powered by them, they’re not going away any time soon. If anything, they’ll become more pervasive. It’s never been more important to ensure absolute compliance with regulations around shipping and handling of these hazmat materials. By investing in next-generation packaging, shippers and others involved in the supply chain can improve safety, achieve better operational efficiency, and reduce the risk of stopped or delayed shipments.
Bill Barger is Senior Packaging Product Manager with Labelmaster.
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