With growing industry and consumer needs, an extensive range of chemicals are used daily, and this also means that toxic chemicals are being handled regularly.
While conventional chemical packaging methods have proven to be sturdy, they pose challenges such as leakages and pressure buildup, especially when exposed to aggressive chemicals. However, the packaging industry has been at the forefront of change in devising solutions, leading to a paradigm shift in packaging methods with the advent of Polytetrafluoroethylene vents or PTFE vents.
Porous PTFE venting advantages far exceed their costs and provide both efficient and safe means to store chemicals for a long time. This article will further briefly compare both packaging methods and discover how PTFE venting solutions tackle the packaging challenges.
One of the most commonly used packaging materials in manufacturing industries is high-density polyethylene (HDPE) packaging. HDPE is corrosion-resistant and has excellent durability. Since HDPE containers are inert, a wide range of solvents and other chemicals can be stored in them for a long time.
The second type of material that is often used in chemical packaging is aluminium. Aluminium bottles are highly durable and lightweight, ensuring that the overall weight does not increase significantly, reducing transportation costs. In addition, aluminium is also corrosion-resistant. However, it is not chemically compatible with all chemicals, and since it is a good conductor of heat, it is incompatible with chemicals requiring thermal stability.
Another commonly used packaging method is Co-extruded (COEX) plastic packaging. COEX packaging combines multiple layers of various plastics, with one of these layers having barrier properties. Since COEX packaging utilises multiple plastic materials, the chances of corrosion are reduced. In addition, these containers also shield their contents from UV rays and can withstand high temperatures.
However, HDPE, COEX and aluminium pose serious safety concerns when it comes to aggressive chemicals. The layered construction of COEX packaging makes the containers rigid. This means the containers can not deform but at the same time there is no pressure equalisation in these containers. If a gas buildup occurs, the containers may explode, causing a fire or a grave safety hazard. This is also the case with aluminium containers, which lack pressure equalisation characteristics.
To tackle the challenges of storing chemicals in containers for a long time, incorporating PTFE venting solutions is an excellent option. PTFE membranes are selectivity permeable in nature, which makes them breathable. These vents also allow bi-directional air exchange while ensuring the stored chemical does not escape.
As a result, there is no gas accumulation and, hence, no risk of pressure buildup. In addition, these membranes are inert, do not chemically interact with any of the contents of the containers and are corrosion-resistant.
Porous PTFE venting advantages also include their oleophobic and hydrophobic nature. These critical chemical properties prevent leakages and moisture ingress.
Additionally, a porous PTFE vent can be integrated into existing packaging instead of developing heavier containers/packages, helping lower the overall packaging and logistics cost.
The extreme safety standards set by the porous PTFE venting solutions are one of the main reasons manufacturers are adopting PTFE-based venting solutions. These solutions can be used across various industries, from cosmetics to peroxides and acids to domestic and industrial cleaners. To ensure that the vents are up to the industry standards, PorVent® performs extensive testing on multiple parameters.
As discussed earlier, the durability of PTFE vents is extremely high as they allow for the bilateral flow of air through the porous membrane even after coming into contact with liquid. This prevents packaging failures while ensuring the chemical handlers are as safe as possible. In addition, the hydrophobic and oleophobic properties of the PTFE membrane help keep the containers leak-proof and moisture-free.
Unlike conventional methods that utilise aluminium, HDPE or COEX, PTFE is microporous, which introduces the breathability element in the containers. Additionally, PTFE is versatile and can be manufactured in any shape or size, which may not be possible with the other materials mentioned above.
Aluminium, HDPE, and COEX pose challenges with pressure equalisation; however, PTFE membranes skillfully tackle this safety hazard by allowing gas and heat to be exchanged!
Lastly, the chemical resistance in venting solutions offered by PTFE membranes is unparalleled, ensuring that these vents have diverse applications in multiple industries.
The cost of PTFE venting may be initially high since the PTFE membrane has unique features such as controlled permeability. In the case of COEX packaging, the prices may vary from low to high depending upon the materials of layers being used in the coextrusion process.
However, due to the flexibility, malleability and elasticity of the PTFE vents, they can be easily fabricated in various shapes and sizes. In addition, they can be easily integrated into the existing packaging containers without making any significant design changes, which further reduces the cost.
Coming to COEX packaging, the equipment required for fabricating COEX layers is expensive and capital-intensive. In addition, all the layers must be tested to ensure that they do not interact with the chemicals being stored, which makes it a time-consuming and again expensive process. In a nutshell, the setup and manufacturing costs of COEX packaging are far greater than those of PTFE vents, which can easily be integrated into existing packaging lines.
Lastly, PTFE vents are lighter in weight compared to COEX and aluminium, which means all the supply chain costs, such as freight, labour, and carriage outwards costs, are much lower. Hence, the overall cost-effectiveness of porous PTFE exceeds that of other materials by a large margin!
With the cutthroat competition present in today’s world, every manufacturer’s primary goal is to optimise and minimise costs while enhancing the features. PTFE venting solutions came into existence for the same purpose. Apart from their robust strength, these vents are versatile and cost-effective.
In fact, PorVent® manufactures a diverse range of vents like inner plugs, push fit plugs, induction liners, bungs and caps that can be used in 500-ml containers to 210-litre drums! Porous PTFE venting advantages over COEX packaging also include pressure equalisation and thermal stability. Therefore, in a venting performance comparison, PTFE would be ranked first and preferred over all other methods! If you want further details about these vents, contact PorVent®!