Polymer Fusion Labels For Automotive Battery Transport Containers

Label Freak

Apr, 20 April, 2022

Understanding Battery Transport Safety

Safety is incredibly important when it comes to the shipping and transport of automotive batteries. There are many factors to consider, such as how to properly protect the battery within its sturdy and enclosed packaging, the temperatures the battery will be shipped in (dangerous heat levels can scorch or corrode the packaging, potentially leading to combustion or fire), and the potential for damaged battery components to result in a battery leaking acid into the environment or presenting dangers for humans and animals.

Improperly packaged batteries risk caustic waste being released into the environment, or a battery short-circuit which could cause a fire.

Companies that manufacture, distribute, transport, load, or sell automotive batteries already have a thorough understanding of how batteries are produced, packaged, stored, transported, and recycled. But many are unaware of a new labeling technology which is becoming popular in the automotive industry. 

Traditionally, automotive batteries were shipped in steel or aluminum containers. While steel is a very sturdy material, it is also heavier and more costly. Recently, battery packs and custom shipping containers are starting to be manufactured from durable polymers, because these materials offer the same total enclosed protection at lower weights and costs than traditional steel containers.

Furthermore, there are many regulations that need to be observed to remain in compliance with battery transport and shipping standards.

UN2800 states that non-spillable lead-acid batteries require the same packaging as those filled with acid and that “The box must be clearly marked “non-spillable battery”.  According to the IATA (International Air Transport Association), it must be “plainly and durably marked.”1

When transporting by air, packaging is regulated by IATA Section 5, Packing Instruction 870 which specifies that “the battery must be contained within an “acid/alkali-proof liner of sufficient strength and adequately sealed to positively preclude leakage in the event of spillage.”2

Methods of transport are laid down in UN2794 which stipulates batteries that are filled with acid require a package that is labeled with the hazardous materials 8 label that also include the UN number and proper description “Batteries, Wet, Filled with acid.”3

These are just a few of the regulations that guide the packaging of batteries.

The problem is that while the polyolefin plastic battery packs are themselves impervious to factors like UV and weather exposure, oils, solvents, chemicals, sanitation or pressure-washing, and extreme temperatures, the typical labeling methods used to meet the regulated standards are not.

Label Failure for Automotive Battery Storage and Transport Containers

The performance properties that make polyolefin a versatile material (impervious to chemicals, fuels, extreme temperature and UV, long-life durability, and substantial cost-savings)  for reusable storage and transport packaging also make it problematic for common “adhesion-based” warning, safety, or branding labeling methods (pressure-sensitive adhesive, in-mold, hot stamp foil, heat transfer, silkscreen, pad printing, and more) that are intended to be on the product for life use.

Why? Similar to Teflon®, nothing can stick permanently to polyolefin thermoplastics and typical labeling methods are simply incompatible. This incompatibility is a problem for manufacturers and consumers alike. The result is that these incompatible labeling methods fade, peel, crack, become unreadable, and completely fall off.

When it comes to safety, warning, or authentication labels, there can be no compromise that would ultimately tarnish your image or cost you money and labor in failed labeling that should last as long as the lifespan of the product.

When it comes to safety, warning, or authentication labels, there can be no compromise that would ultimately tarnish your image or cost you money and labor in failed labeling that should last as long as the lifespan of the product.

Not only do federal agencies like OSHA and CPSC give specific requirements on safety/warning labeling, multiple safety labeling standards and industry-specific manufacturing standards all use similar “must be permanent” verbiage dictating how these labels are intended to perform.

Unfortunately, permanent doesn’t mean permanent anymore as “real world” results are consistently proving that common labeling methods are failing their duty to convey safety/warning information to consumers on polyolefin thermoplastic products, parts and components depended upon every day. To say it’s costing both OEM’s and consumers would be an understatement as ligation and injuries continue to prevail.

This comes as no surprise! Not only is the Teflon-like surface of polyolefin thermoplastics rejecting adhesion from the outset, the products and labeling are then repeatedly being subjected to all sorts of harsh environments (power washing, cleaners, fuels, oils, solvents, extreme temperatures, moisture, UV, and more) causing these “adhesion-based” methods to fail.

Out of Date Labeling Standards

How Polymer Fusion Labeling Provides Solutions For Automotive Battery Transport & Shipping Containers

Unfortunately for the ever-growing and sophisticated automotive industry, labeling standards have not kept up with modern times. Although polymers have replaced steel and aluminum as the primary material used in manufacturing, adhesion testing for standard requirements are still being conducted using steel and aluminum, not polymer (per ASTM D6252).4

This presents a problem for manufacturers who require durable labeling of components that are now being made from polymers. Specifically, olefin-based polymers.

Polymers are durable, affordable, and chemically inert. They can withstand a lot of abuse, chemicals, and constant UV and weather exposure, which makes them ideal for many automotive applications.

Unfortunately, it’s incredibly difficult to label polymers such as Polyethylene, Polypropylene, and Structural Foam for any length of time, because these materials are all part of a plastic category known as “olefin”.

The low surface energy of olefin plastic (similar to that of Teflon™) means nothing wants to stick to it and it inherently rejects all of the mentioned typical labeling methods, and this includes battery transport containers and packs, especially as these may be subjected to extreme temperatures, sanitation poor pressure washing, and constant UV/weather exposure.

Since label testing standards have not kept up with the increased use of olefin-polymers but are centered around adhesion to steel and aluminum surfaces, the automotive industry is largely unaware that a solution specifically engineered for olefin-polymers exists.

Originally invented over 30 years ago for the rotational molding industry, Polymer Fusion Labeling technology was adapted to suit the faster-pace, high-volume injection molding industry.

Polymer Fusion Labeling for Battery Storage & Transport Packaging

How Polymer Fusion Labeling Provides Solutions For Automotive Battery Transport & Shipping Containers

How does Polymer Fusion Labeling provide solutions for major automotive brands such as Ford and General Motors, where other labeling methods can’t keep up?

Inks, substrates, coatings, and adhesives are all materials designed to help typical label methods stick to a low-energy surface. But they can’t accomplish it due to the Teflon-like surface of this type of plastic. These materials are incompatible with olefin-based polymers.

Polymer Fusion Labels were engineered specifically to solve the problem of labeling olefin plastics for life. They are made of only 100% compatible polymer material that fuses into the subsurface of the automotive plastic part, becoming quite literally like a tattoo for that part. The label cannot ever be separated from it.

As durable as the transport container itself is, Polymer Fusion Labels are equally as durable and resistant to UV/weather exposure, dirt, grime, oil, fuel, solvents, chemicals, pressure washing, etc.

Labeling battery transport and storage containers becomes easy and reliable, with a Lifetime Guarantee that they will be able to stand up to any abuse, environment, or exposure for the lifespan of the product.

If you’re looking for automotive battery storage and transport packaging labels that are able to exceed the regulations and standards in place, please reach out to us at 928-634-8888.

1. https://www.dgm-usa-ny.com/post/2019/01/18/un2800-batteries-wet-non-spillable

2. http://bte.hu/files/IATA_DGR_54_-_vltozs.pdf

3. https://batteryguy.com/kb/knowledge-base/common-battery-shipping-labels/#class-8

4. https://www.admet.com/testing-applications/testing-standards/astm-d6252-peel-adhesion-testing-pressure-sensitive-label-stocks-90-degree-angle/#:~:text=ASTM%20D6252%20describes%20a%20position,surfaces%2C%20for%20quality%20assurance%20purposes.

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