Bag-in-box Packaging Gets U.N. Nod


Bag-in-box (BiB) packaging has been around for over 50 years and is well established in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. It was introduced for the lubricants industry over 10 years ago, but with limited success initially because of issues with the film structure and box design.

Now, CDF-Europe and DS Smith Packaging have developed a BiB package specifically for oils and lubricants with a water-resistant corrugated outer box. This is the first water-resistant BiB package certified to meet United Nations transport standards, they claim.

Certification testing was conducted by the Italian Research Institute. And the new design has been adopted by Fuchs Lubricants (UK) plc, a subsidiary of Fuchs Petrolub AG, as the Lube Cube to replace a previous BiB package and conventional hard plastic containers.

Why Bag-in-Box?

The approved container is certified in 10-, 15-, 18- and 20-liter sizes for U.N. Hazardous Goods Classification Groups 2 and 3, covering low and medium hazard levels. While lubricant in its purest form is not hazardous, once a lubricant company starts adding components to create a specific product or provide specific benefits to the user, it may become hazardous, said Marco Dariol, CDF-Europes technical director. The fact that the pack is U.N. approved is an added benefit and covers all eventualities and product lines.

U.N. certification indicates that the package has been tested in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. To be certified, packages must pass a series of tests intended to ensure that packaging containing the hazardous materials can withstand extreme conditions of transportation.

Our R&D team worked closely with the box manufacturer to meet the exacting needs required by the test and also to satisfy market conditions, said Dariol. The final box design is coated with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) on the outside with no flutes exposed. The end result is a product that has the strength and durability of a rigid package with the sustainable benefits found in bag-in-box.

According to CDF-Europe, the primary drivers for switching to BiB packaging are improved environmental protection, sustainability, ergonomics and cost savings. The companys Cheertainer BiB packaging targets industrial and consumer sectors such as cleaning chemicals and detergents, lubricants, general chemicals, paints and coatings.

Dariol said that U.N. testing is very rigorous and includes a number of requirements. Failing one element fails the whole process. So its key to manufacture the right bag in combination with the right box. He added that because the bag reflects the shape of the box, there needs to be a perfect size correlation between the two. We had to find the perfect combination for the pack to pass the drop test within the U.N. certification tests.

Michael Watson, CDF-Europe sales and marketing director, went on to explain that one of the main challenges is to overcome changes in the plastic liner when temperature is reduced to minus 18 degrees C in a structural resistance test. The bag is filled with a liquid containing antifreeze and subjected to freezing temperatures for over 24 hours. The bag freezes while the liquid remains fluid, and the bag is then dropped from 1.2 meters. This is a tough test for plastic because it becomes brittle, but every bag passed, said Watson.

CDF-Europe tested numerous plastic films under these conditions to find the most durable material. The plastic film strength combined with the bags cube shape enabled the package to achieve U.N. Certification. According to Dariol, The cube shaped bag fits more snuggly into the box, allowing the package to distribute potentially damaging loads more evenly. He added that the certification covers the vast majority of products in the chemical and lubricant sectors, so these industries can now take advantage of the environmental and space saving benefits of bag-in-box packaging, an option that previously was not available.

U.S. Likes It Too

In addition, Cheertainer BiB packaging has been declared compatible for use with petroleum products in U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) testing. The chemical compatibility test was conducted in accordance with DoT Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 173 Appendix B. This testing subjects the product to chemical compatibility and rate of permeation trials in extreme conditions (50 degrees C for 28 days).

As part of the testing, Cheertainer bags were filled with both regular and synthetic motor oil and were inspected weekly for evidence of defects, including cracking, crazing, swelling and leakage. According to the report, there was no visible evidence of deformation to any container during the testing.

Bag-in-box packaging provides an eco-smart choice for the petroleum customer without sacrificing quality and reliability, said Dariol. It reduces plastic consumption and minimizes packaging requirements while maximizing transportation and storage efficiency.

The packaging also helps lower the carbon footprint and meet sustainability goals, said Watson. It reduces packaging waste in landfills by 86 percent and reduces plastic consumption by up to 90 percent, compared to 20-liter rigid packaging.

One of the main benefits of the pack is the recycling element, Watson continued. The used pack splits into two parts. The corrugated goes to paper waste for recycling, and the plastic element is either recycled or, if classed as contaminated because of the product packed, is washed and recycled or disposed of. Disposal waste volume is reduced by 90 percent.

Because Cheertainer is shipped flat, CDF-Europe claims it reduces transportation and handling costs by nearly 20 times over jerry cans. As a result, it helps reduce the number of trucks on the road and, in turn, the amount of fuel consumed and green-house gases emitted.

The Lube Cube

Fuchs Lube Cube consists of a 20-liter container within a corrugated die cut box impregnated with a water-resistant PET coating. It was designed to minimize the number of seals on the box and eliminate them completely on the base, said Rosemary Mellor, Fuchs UK automotive product manager. The box design ensures none of the inner fluting is exposed, protecting against possible paper delamination, and only the outer PET paper is visible. This makes the pack extremely water resistant. The box can be recycled normally, and the PET coating is easily separated in the recycling process.

Todays Lube Cube design is a change from the one introduced in 2009. That package was a semirigid pack that needed inflating prior to filling. Therefore, it was costly and time-consuming to fill.

We listened carefully to our customers, said Mellor. This change has been totally driven by them. They were paying in excess of 2.50 disposal costs for rigid containers, and we felt that not only did we have to reduce this cost but also create a more sustainable system for the future.

She added that the company needed to overcome issues such as waterproofing and security, so we worked closely with DS Smith to create an outer corrugated box that met all our requirements. The combination of this box and the Cheertainer liner from CDF-Europe give us the security of product we required.

CDFs Watson said, There are many benefits associated with bag-in-box packaging. The new system provides better in-house storage when empty, because there is less warehousing required, as well as fewer trucks required to bring the packs in. He added that the new packaging allows Fuchs to send out more packs per pallet and, therefore, more per truck.

In addition, Watson said, disposal is one-tenth the previous cost. The corrugated box is recycled, and disposal costs for the Cheertainer are 90 percent less than those for traditional blow-molded containers.

Fuchs made minimal capital investment in making the switch because the Lube Cube is compatible with existing filling equipment. However, Fuchs engineers did develop a special carton erector to assist with the box design. The packagings form-fit, square design allows for easy filling and full dispensing of the product.

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Bag-in-box    Packaging    Packaging Containers