How to control humidity in packaging: effective solutions

15/02/2023

Controlling humidity inside packaging is a critical issue when it comes to protecting products during transportation and storage. Humidity can negatively affect product quality and lifespan, as well as generate problems of oxidation and corrosion in metals – a severe issue in the industrial sector. It can also cause the degradation of organic materials such as wood or paper, the growth of fungi and mold in food products, the loss of mechanical properties in plastics and other synthetic materials, among others.

Maintaining adequate humidity throughout the storage and transportation process is essential to ensure the quality of the final product and customer satisfaction. As we have indicated previously, excessive humidity can cause irreversible damage to products, resulting in economic and reputational losses for the company. On the other hand, excessively low humidity can make materials brittle or crack, which can also result in damaged and unusable products.

Fortunately, there are effective solutions for controlling humidity inside packaging and keeping products in perfect condition until delivery or final use.

Desiccant bags

One of the most common options is desiccant bags. These small packages contain materials that absorb moisture from the air inside the packaging, maintain humidity at optimal levels, and protect packaged products. They are placed inside the sealed container or packaging and are a fundamental aspect of the logistics process.

They are widely used in a variety of sectors such as export packaging, electronic components, the pharmaceutical sector, among others. They are available in different formats, weights, and configurations depending on the absorption needs, also available in chains with hooks for maritime containers.

Types of desiccant bags

The two most common types of desiccant bags are clay desiccant bags and silica desiccant bags. Both are very effective in moisture absorption, although their capacity differs between materials. They are useful for different needs depending on the product’s characteristics, handling, transit time, and storage conditions that can influence the variation of relative humidity inside the container.

For their correct selection and application, a series of factors must be evaluated and taken into account, both of the load itself and the journey and external conditions to which it will be subjected. The transport or storage time is an important factor that will affect the choice of type and the calculation of the number of desiccant bags needed to ensure optimal protection of the goods.

One can also opt for desiccant bags with the VCI (volatile corrosion inhibitor) anticorrosive treatment that offers a dual action, that is, not only protects against humidity but also against corrosion.

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VCI anticorrosive treatment

Another popular solution is the application of packaging with the VCI (volatile corrosion inhibitor) anticorrosive treatment, which protects metal products from oxidation and corrosion. This method involves the release of corrosion inhibitory molecules upon contact with the moisture in the air inside the packaging, creating a protective layer on the products.

In the case of merchandise susceptible to corrosion, the most advisable is the combination of anticorrosive packaging (VCI paper, VCI plastic, VCI pp woven fabric, or other material with VCI treatment) together with desiccant bags. The evaluation of the final packaging and the selection of moisture protection will depend on a previous study and careful evaluation of the packaging, transportation, and storage process of the goods.

Humidity indicators

Another interesting solution, for even more precise control of humidity, are humidity indicators. These indicators change color when certain humidity levels are reached and allow for real-time control of humidity levels in the environment and/or packaging. This way, any possible issues can be quickly detected and measures taken to solve them before they cause damage to the products inside the packaging.

It is an additional measure to be used in combination with desiccant bags. Its application allows to detect when and if it is necessary to replace the desiccant bags to preserve the optimal humidity levels inside the sealed packaging.

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Other solutions for humidity control

Other possible solutions for humidity control include the use of waterproof packaging materials, although caution should be exercised. They can cause condensation and exacerbate the humidity problem inside the packaging, so their use should be accompanied by moisture-absorbing materials such as the desiccant bags mentioned above.

Lastly, more advanced solutions such as zeolite moisture absorption technology or packaging containers with integrated humidity control can also be considered.

In conclusion, controlling humidity inside the packaging is a crucial aspect to ensure the quality and durability of products. The choice of the most appropriate solution will depend on the specific needs and characteristics of each product, so it is important to have a previous evaluation of the logistics process.

At Inviker, our team of packaging experts is available for strategic packaging advice tailored to the needs of each client.