Obexion to be a safer one-of-a-kind lithium battery shipping solution
CHICAGO - A high-tech yet affordable packaging solution to meet the demanding challenge of safely and conveniently shipping lithium-ion batteries and products will be manufactured and marketed thanks to a new partnership of two industry leaders.
Labelmaster, a dangerous goods transport expert, and Procyon-Alpha Squared (PA²), a technology provider with extensive experience in aerospace applications, have teamed to develop and manufacture Obexion – a complete line of protective packaging solutions engineered specifically for shipping and storing lithium batteries and devices that contain them. This new brand of packaging uses passive technology to achieve capabilities ranging from fire resistance to thermal, flame and gas management to full ballistic and pressure management that will mitigate risks by drastically reducing the potential for thermal runaways.
The one-of-a-kind packaging will be offered in multiple formats – a durable, multi-use metal design for larger size batteries and large quantities of batteries, and a light-weight, environmentally-friendly fiberboard box for single use and reverse logistics needs.
The Obexion line of packaging will not contain heavy inner packing components such as gel-packs, or heavy liners, and will not contain additional pellets, other voluminous fill items or outer packaging, thereby facilitating easy assembly and lower shipping costs due to reduced weight.
“Our customers have been asking for a more effective packaging solution that will allow them to move lithium batteries from Point A to Point B safely and compliantly. Through our partnership with PA², we are now able to offer any company that handles lithium batteries or items that contain them the most cost-effective and easiest to use option in the marketplace,” said Robert Finn, vice president of marketing and product management at Labelmaster.
“With the final resolution of the updated regulations and standards perhaps years away, this product provides all segments of industry – airlines, cargo companies, recyclers, manufacturers and retailers – an avenue to be forward-thinking and plan astutely,” he said. “Yet, when one considers that 30 percent of lithium batteries are shipped by air, such a mindset will be significantly beneficial for those responsible for lithium battery shipments.”
“PA² became involved in this important initiative when a global air cargo company approached our research partner, Nochar, Inc., for help with the challenge to create a packaging product different from current options that are overly complicated and not economical to use,” said James Kennedy, president of PA². “Our mission is to develop a technology that would cost-effectively allow for prevention of thermal runaway of lithium ion and metal batteries.”
According to Kennedy, the Obexion packaging formats have passed stringent testing and were extremely well received when presented at the IATA lithium battery annual meeting, ICAO’s hazardous goods annual meeting, and before other regulatory agencies, air cargo companies and battery manufacturers. The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a Special Permit authorizing the use of Obexion packaging for the transport in commerce of damaged, defective or recalled lithium batteries and equipment containing these batteries.
As product development progressed, PA² sought a firm with broad dangerous goods transport expertise to serve as the sales and distribution arm and reached out to Labelmaster.
“As we developed the technology, we became familiar with Labelmaster and determined it would be an ideal partner,” said Kennedy, whose team experience includes work with NASA on the space shuttle and space station. “Labelmaster provides capabilities that go well beyond just selling a box, and will provide training, technical support and customer service to clients worldwide, the kind of backing customers will want.”
Finn added, “PA² has developed the best technology related to lithium battery packaging. This product represents a terrific opportunity to effectively ‘get ahead of the curve’ as the ICAO regulations approach.
“So many of our customers and others have been frustrated with the issues of shipping lithium batteries today, whether it’s moving damaged or recalled lithium batteries by ground or an OEM unable to directly ship to some 140 countries because of the commercial airline ban, and many other challenges,” he said. “This product will provide a simple, cost-effective and practical solution to help many organizations keep their supply chains moving and their own customers satisfied.”