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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