The antistatic stretch film is marked with printed red lightning bolts. (Image: BASF)
Stretch Film for EX Zones
19.04.2022 - Special rules apply for packaging in environments with dangerous goods. The focus here is not only on the safety of the material to be packaged, but especially on the safety of employees. This is why conventional packaging materials can only be used in rare cases for packaging in potentially explosive atmospheres.
The new Duo Ex-Tra film developed by the film manufacturer Duo Plast AG from Lauterbach, Germany, features the polymer Elastostat, which can conduct and dissipate static electricity. According to the manufacturer, this is the first stretch film that is suitable for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (EX zones). The newly developed film prevents static electricity from becoming an ignition source, meaning that pallet units covered in stretch film no longer pose an explosion hazard.
Collaboration began in 2017
The effort involved in packing and unpacking incoming and outgoing goods with conventional stretch film is significant. This is why the stretch film with Elastostat is particularly suitable for companies in the chemical industry and their suppliers, who can receive direct deliveries of goods to EX zones in future. It makes the process of packaging material delivery more efficient, improves sustainability and also saves costs. In this way, BASF itself is not only the raw materials supplier, but also the recipient and user of the novel packaging film.
Since 2017, BASF’s development team, which consists of packaging consulting, safety engineering, product development and polyurethane sales in Lemförde, Germany, had been working to meet the long-standing demand for a dissipative film. The solution: Elastostat, a dissipative polymer based on TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) from BASF Polyurethanes GmbH in Lemförde, Germany.
„Combining our additive with the film to increase conductivity was not feasible straight away. We had to both achieve the required surface resistance and maintain elasticity while at the same time considering the extreme thinness of the film“
Anja Oltmanns, TPU Sales, BASF.
Fully secure and sustainable packaging
The film is marked with red lightning bolts so that pallets wrapped in it can be clearly identified and their suitability for the relevant areas can be ensured. The protective film is currently available in a 500-millimetre-wide version with a film thickness of 23 micrometres.
„The blown film produced in cooperation with BASF is unique worldwide, as until now, there was no stretch film on the market that was approved for EX zones. Consequently, the film can be used for packaging conductive earthed containers in potentially explosive atmospheres (zones 1 and 2). Removing the film is also permitted in the aforementioned zones“
Nina Schnitzler, Key Account Manager at Duo Plast AG
In addition, the Duo Ex-Tra film is equipped with the patented Duo Double Edge which has enormous holding forces. The net structure created during processing enables optimum load unit stability with minimal material consumption.