Archive: Oct 2012

Proper Packaging of Lithium Ion Batteries

Recently, the U.S. Postal Service announced that it would suspend deliveries of electronic devices such as iPads, iPhones, laptops, Kindles, and Nooks, etc. to American soldiers serving overseas. There is, to be fair, a rationale behind this move: the lithium ion batteries that power devices such as these can be temperamental and flammable; and if not inspected and packaged skillfully beforehand, can suddenly burst into flames. Poor inspection and packaging services are, in fact, what led to the tragic crash of a UPS cargo plane in Dubai, U.A.E. in recent years. While the Post Office has gone to an extreme in cancelling its overseas bulk air shipments of lithium ion batteries, services like UPS and FedEx will (fortunately for our troops) persist in delivering these goods – albeit with new, stringent packaging guidelines.

In a series of new quality control regulations that are set to take effect on the first of this coming year, UPS has stipulated that all packaging and partitioning companies must adhere to new rules as far as packing lithium ion batteries for air shipment. If the batteries in a given shipment are over the 2.7Wh threshold, one must make sure that the number of partitions in a box doesn’t exceed 8 cells per box. Likewise, each individual partitioning cell must contain only one lithium battery. Finally, the overpack must be firm and resilient, and the material by which the box and partitioning are constructed should be comprised of material that is in-line with shipping electronics, such as ESD anti-static fiberboard. Without these contingencies in place, a package must be marked as “UPS Dangerous Goods”.

Given that M&M has been a long-time player in the shipment of electronic components both domestically and overseas, and given that the international global electronics market stands in the high multi-billions, we would be the last company on Earth to discourage those who make an honest living in shipping lithium ion batteries to cease and desist. On the contrary, we want to pass along the news of the coming safety regulations so that everybody profits – and no accidents come to pass.

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When It Comes to Food Packaging, It’s Best to Deliver Quickly

Sometimes, when you’re eating out at a restaurant, you want to “ease into” your meal. There’s a whole enjoyment factor about eating at a place where your food isn’t rushed onto a plastic tray for immediate consumption. Before the main course, you’re invited (oftentimes expected) to tuck into an appetizer or two, and enjoy a drink or so.

Contrast this slow, easy-going attitude with the breakneck pace of the worldwide food packaging and delivery industry. Almost any kind of organic substance on Earth is subject to decay over a short period of time if not stored at the appropriate temperature or “cured” using the appropriate treatment. When you’re shipping out meat, poultry, fish, or other perishable products, you want to maintain a temperature that doesn’t rise above 40 degrees Fahrenheit – doing otherwise is to invite bacterial microbes to start chowing down on your foodstuffs before they ever reach a consumer market. Likewise, you want to deliver packaged food as absolutely quickly as possible.  The longer the time your foodstuffs are in transit, the greater room for human error or the vicissitudes of temperature. Three or four hours in an overheated truck trailer can mean the difference between fresh and spoiled.

Finally, it’s imperative that you choose the right kind of delivery packaging and partitioning to insure safe quality of food delivery. Not only should a cold source be packed internally within the package, but the package should ideally be comprised of heavy corrugated cardboard. Heavy corrugated cardboard is not only cost-effective, but it’s been well-proven to keep the outside from intruding on the contents of a given package. Being that we’re from Chicago (a town well-known if ever there was for its meat processing industry), and being that we specialize in all things corrugated and packaging, we at M & M know you can rely on our high-quality partitioning to make sure your processed food arrives swiftly to either market or to table. Only then can you start taking it easy!

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How to Package (and Divide) Automotive Components

This summer, the American automotive industry experienced one of the best sales periods in its entire history. As of August, 14.3 million American cars, light trucks, SUVs, jeeps, vans, and hummers have been sold right here in the continental United States. In a downbeat economy like ours is right now, news like that has got a lot of people hopeful about what’s coming round the bend in terms of national recovery. We here at M & M Box Partitions have definitely noticed an uptick in the number of automotive components we’ve been asked to provide partitioning for. So it seems like our personal experience bears out what’s been going on in terms of the bigger, nationwide picture.

While we’re proud of the fact that automotive plants are booming (at least in comparison with many other sectors of the American economy), we’re here today more to talk more about how best to ship the smaller car components we traditionally provide partitioning for here at M & M. First of all, while there are a number of different box materials you can use, we always recommend corrugated: it’s light, flexible, and sturdy – perfect for the job. Secondly, we recommend providing cushioning in between the partitions, since certain auto parts are fairly susceptible to damage or breakage while in transit. We’re aiming for a certain level of stretch and flexibility for the components (in other words nothing that will put too much pressure on the parts), but that being said, the main thing to insure is that there isn’t any wiggle room for car parts to “bang around” during shipping. Finally, be sure to pad any sharp edges on the components. The last thing you want is a car part in one partition cell breaking down the barrier and rolling into the next one. That can cause a chain effect, such that when you open your corrugated box, you discover all the various parts are scattered all around.

Just a bit of advice from the folks at M & M! If you’re looking to ship automotive components and you need the right kind of partitioning for them, we’re the experts you were looking for. Go ahead and call or email us today!

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