Desiccant Application Container

Desiccant Application Container
Banner Container

Protection against moisture as a vital element of securing of cargo

Do you ship your goods by sea containers? The most important thing for you, as well as every exporter, is that the load arrives at your client as a whole and in one piece, isn't it? Stretch wrap, lashing straps, anti-slide mats, and further packaging aids are used when securing cargo. Still you can never be sure what nasty surprise awaits the person opening the container at the port of arrival. High humidity and extremely fluctuating temperatures for weeks on end throughout the trip over the oceans can damage the goods themselves, their wrapping, and the packaging aids. That might as well be each carrier's nightmare.

If you've just been confronted with the unpleasant follow-up of a transport damage due to too much moisture, rest assured: You are not alone. It doesn't matter if you produce cars, machinery parts, or metal coils, if you brew or bottle beverages and liquors, or if you manufacture apparel or leatherware. Aside from excess load, inadequate fastening of the goods, or the use soiled containers, excessive humidity can be the cause of a complete loss of the shipment. In about 10% of all cases of transport damages a damage due to damp is the reason for lengthy and expensive lawsuits.

Our high performance desiccant SeaDry was developped specifically for the use in sea containers. The use of this container desiccant, adapted for your individual case of application, minimizes the risk of shipping damages due to damp at sea. Clients from various industries, e.g. machine construction, automobile manufacturers, or the food industry, trust in the performance of SeaDry made by ThoMar. We provide solutions, not only products.

Mould growth at packaging aids

After lengthy negotiations the machine-building company closed the deal with a new US-American client; now the shipment of the first badge of engines was due. Every single engine was tucked in securely into stowage boxes, and the boxes were lashed up in the sea containers. The responsible project manager thought that he had played it safe.

Not only were the machinery parts in the containers exposed to the rough sea for several weeks on their way over the Atlantic Ocean. The alternating climate zones and great differences in temperature, depending on the time of the day, caused condensation and container sweat. Finally the freight ship docked at the Port of Savannah, Georgia. Customs opened the containers, checked individual boxes, and found a large amount of mold growth on the timber used as packaging aid. The engines themselves were were not affected. Still the inspector allowed the importation only after the treatment and disinfection of the infested timber, which cost the importer not only time, but serious money.

Mould growth at packaging aids

Mould growth at packaging aids

On the track of dryness in sea containers

After getting in touch with ThoMar's team of experts, the new client provided us with an abstract also containing pictures of the damage. Our consultant analyzed the information, and visited the client on site. Together they screened all process chains involved in the transport of the goods.

What immediately caught our consultant's eye was that DIN desiccants had been enclosed with the engine blocks before wrapping the latter in VCI (Volatile-Corrosions-Inhibitor) foil, which is a recommend method to keep the machine parts safe. But the moisture content of the timber used as packaging aid - 350 kg per container after all - was too high from the beginning. Also one could not be sure if the timber had already been infested by mold spores before use (at that point still invisible). Complemented by the fact that no further desiccant had been used which could have reduced the humidity within the containers, the combination of these factors formed the perfect climate for mold.

Device to check the humidity of timber

Checking the humidity of the timber

The benefit for our customer

Our consultant conducted several tests together with the new customer. They attached data loggers to the container walls to evaluate the history of temperature and humidity over a longer period of time. A number of SeaDry Pole H, ThoMar's container desiccant, were fixed to the lashing eyes, and several SeaDry Single desiccant pouches put into the stowing boxes. The measures led to the desired result: The use of the desiccants prevented the humidity from rising above a level critical for the formation of mould during transport. Afterwards there were merely a few dark spots visible on the timber.

On the basis of our advices, the company optimized further elements of its shipping preparations. They use kiln-dried timber now. This step ultimately resolved the remaining mold issue. Our aim is to collaborate on equal terms with our clients, and to help them accomplish the best possible result while managing costs efficently at the same time.

SeaDry Single in a stowing box

SeaDry Single in a stowing box

Corrosion caused by leaking desiccant

Metal strips and wire are used anywhere, from automobile to container fabrication, in tool, electrical, and food industry. These wires and strips are coiled around steel strip bundles, and are transported first by container ships, then by inland vessels or railway, due to their heavy weight (up to 40 tons). Corrosion is the highest risk when shipping the materials from A to B. A high humidity within the containers combined with fluctuating ambient temperatures can accelerate corrosion.

One of our customers, a shipping company specializing in transporting goods on inland vessels, had already dealt with minimizing the risk of damage due to damp. With their current desiccant system, liquid forms in the course of air dehumidification. This liquid, to be more precise: brine, leaked onto the metal coils during shipping. This was a perfect starter for corrosion.

Corrosion on metal coils

Corrosion on metal coils

On the track of dryness in sea containers

Our customer support arranged a training day with the employees responsible for quality assurance and transport security in the shipping company. Our advisor put particular emphasis on the different types of desiccants and on their respective optimal areas of application. Our customer had used a desiccant made from salt, that is, calcium chloride (CaCl2). . When in an anhydric condition it has got a crystalline structure, just like common salt. Calcium chloride actively absorbs the humidity from the ambient air. During an exothermic process the crystals macerate and finally liquefy.

On the other hand, our container desiccant SeaDry consists of a mixture of salt and a binding agent. Apart from calcium chloride, starch is added into the desiccant pouches in order for it to bind the water. The salt absorbs the humidity from the ambient air which is then bound to a gel. Therefore the water cannot leak form the desiccant bags, and the desiccant when saturated can be easily disposed of. Furthermore, SeaDry desiccants do not contain toxic ingredients.

SeaDry Hook in a saturated condition

SeaDry Hook in a saturated condition

The benefit for our customer

For the test drive, three containers were fitted with desiccants which had before been weighed: container 1 with the ThoMar product SeaDry Hook, container 2 with the competing product, and container 3 with SeaDry Hook as well as the competing product. Also data loggers were put on the walls of the containers to record the temperature and humidity, and the end the steel coils were loaded. On the following day the freight ship left the port. Shipping time was about eight weeks.

We instructed our client in how to deal with the tested desiccants and data loggers after arrival at the destination port. The absolute weight gain through the absorbed water was almost equal with all desiccant pouches. But the relative water absorption capacity of our SeaDry products (200 % of its deadweight) was markedly higher than that of the competing product (125 % ). In addition, SeaDry offers a higher security level because of the contained starch binding the absorbed water into a gel. Thus, our customer benefits twice.

SeaDry Hook in a container

SeaDry Hook is fitted into the container.

Moisture damage at goods and packaging

Soaked cardboard packaging and labels peeling off - this was what customs found in the containers of a beverage manufacturer at the port of destination. Even with a desiccant on the basis of salt and starch, damage due to damp couldn't always be prevented. A few times customs had not allowed the import of the shipment.

With this subject matter the coordinator of quality assurance approached the ThoMar team. They had already tried to get the situation under control by using a higher number of desiccants per container. But this way of handling the situation started to become too costly. After all the company shipped almost 5.000 cotainers a year.

Soaked cardboard

Soaked cardboard boxes

On the track of dryness in sea containers

Together with our consultant the company developped a procedure with the aim to apply desiccants more efficiently. In the beginning they decided to let the independent testing institute BFSV in Hamburg, Germany, check three products thoroughly: SeaDry by ThoMar und two technically similar products by competitors. As a result our SeaDry Pole H showed the highest acual water absorption capacity compared to the other two desiccants.

As experts for the prevention of moisture damage during container transport, ThoMar also analyzed the process of loading the freight containers at port of departure. Evenly distributing the SeaDry Pole H desiccants and carefully sealing all ventilation slots is key to using desiccants effectively. At a test in real-life conditions SeaDry again showed the highest absorption rate for water compared to the alternative products.

Data logger at container wall

Data loggers record the course of temperature and humidity.

The benefit for our customer

It became apparent that you can only partly rely on some manufacturers' specifications regarding the water absorption capacity of their product. Also merely comparing the the price per unit of a certain desiccant to the price of another does not guide you to the most efficient product. As the various desiccants on the market differ in weight as well as in their composition of salt and starch, this comparison does not provide you with significant results. Instead you should yourself how much it costs to keep a container dry.

The container desiccant SeaDry Pole H verifiably absorbs more moisture than the competing products. Meaning that a smaller amount of desiccant per container achieves the same degree of protection against humidity. Through the smaller amount of desiccant units you can also save handling time during loading the containers and costs of disposal. With SeaDry you not only buy a reasonably priced containter desiccant. Our consultants will also give you some priceless advice.

SeaDry Pole H at the container walls

Sea Dry Pole H at the container walls

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