The perils of Bulk Packaging

Southern Cross

Involved In Discussions
#1
My employer manufactures emulsion polymers, which we sell in a variety of packaging types. One common package is the recycled 1000 litre container known as the Schutz. It's basically a large polyethylene box with some metal reinforcing bars. Some of our customers like them for various reasons, firstly because they're cheap, secondly because the product is visible (they know how much has been used) and thirdly because of convenience (it's easy to hook up a tap and take the product out).

Unfortunately, the Schutz is not very good for film forming polymers. The product tends to splash around the uncovered surfaces when being transports. This leads to the product drying on those surfaces, then falling back into the liquid. This leads to complaints because filters get blocked up etc.

Also, the Schutz comes with a variety of outlet sizes and threads, so there is no guarantee that a customer can get the product out of the container because he might not have the right fitting.

So we tell customers all about this. And when they run across the situations described above - complaints arise. As long as customers insist on taking their product in this packaging, problems are inevitable. If we were to decide not to sell the product in Schutz containers they would go elsewhere. Bone-headed customer demands....

So we have a situation where about a quarter of our complaints related to this form of packaging. And we talk. And we respond to our customers. And nothing gets resolved. Therefore I'm getting to the stage of wondering whether we should be accepting complaints related to this form of packaging at all. From our perspective it's a complete waste of time and resources. Any thoughts? At least on how to streamline our responses, if not get rid of the issue altogether?
 
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somashekar

Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
> Fill the film forming polymer till the container is full and up to the cap. Then cap the Schutz. No splash, No drying, No falling back.
>> What outlet size and thread you can supply the Schutz, please standardize and make it a part of the customer ordering information. Select the most common, and add premium for non standards, if at all a customer wants. Identify your Schutz in your storage accordingly.
 

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Southern Cross

Involved In Discussions
#3
Thanks for your reply.

Much of what you suggest can't be done for various reasons.

Firstly, total filling of the container is not legal here. Firstly due to safety (pack is not rated to carry weights above 1000kg) and secondly due to labelling issues, specifically package weights.

We've also looked closely at the possibility of standardizing on certain outlet sizes and threads. The price of the containers increases dramatically, and the recyclers won't take the empty containers off our hands, which leaves us with a big problem.

Trust me. We have considered all the options deeply and none of them seem to fit our situation.

So I'm left with the original question. Should we be just ignoring these complaints? Sending them back to the customer and telling them if they want their product packaged in Schutz containers then they'll have to wear the consequences?
 

somashekar

Staff member
Super Moderator
#4
What is the viscosity of the film forming polymer ?
How do they appear when dry and fall back (Ex: Like a bulb with a tail)
Can you provide a suitable coarse metal wire filter at the outlet, that will trap any dried and fallen polymer lump. This can be like a simple replaceable disc. If these tend to float in the liquid polymer, such filter will be more helpful to prevent these lumps flowing out, and may also indicate container empty status, when it perhaps gets blocked. You need to experiment this.
I would never think of ignoring any complaint, and believe there is a technical solution to every problem faced.
 
Last edited:

Southern Cross

Involved In Discussions
#5
Thanks for sticking with me.

The viscosity of the various products ranges from 500 - 5000 centipoise. The nature of the dried polymer depends on the product. Some are hard and flaky. Others are soft and elastic. An in-line filter would block quickly in most circumstances.

We'll keep working on it. Your last sentence is probably the most pertinent one.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
Thanks for sticking with me.

The viscosity of the various products ranges from 500 - 5000 centipoise. The nature of the dried polymer depends on the product. Some are hard and flaky. Others are soft and elastic. An in-line filter would block quickly in most circumstances.

We'll keep working on it. Your last sentence is probably the most pertinent one.

Southern Cross,

How about putting a right-sized bag inside the container?

On delivery to point of use, puncture the bag and dispense out of the standard-size container.

Disposal of the bag then becomes the problem to solve.

John
 
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