PETROCHEMICALS: Innovative Packaging Meets Supply Challenge
Recent Western Cape Business News
ENGEN, the African marketer of petroleum and petrochemical products, has launched the Innovative Packaging Solution (IPS) for safe, guaranteed quality, environmentally-friendly supply of lubricants in bulk in rural Africa.
Anton Allner, industrial lubricants strategy manager for Engen, which has operations in 20 African and Indian Ocean Island countries, says poor logistics solutions and infrastructure in Africa has necessitated the supply of lubes in bulk, but this has presented new safety, environment and quality challenges.
“The IPS is ideally suited for safe, untainted storage, transport and dispensing of lubes of all applications,” he says.
The packaging system is designed to overcome the transit and storage challenges that come with large-scale supply (versus supply in drums or rental IBC’s) of lubricants, grease and transformer oils, and features unique dispensing equipment designs to deal with the increased mass of product while also meeting quality standards.
“We can dispense product direct from pack in a closed system without contamination, provide safe outside storage thanks to UV-resistant packaging exteriors, and transport product of greatly increased mass thanks to our use of rugged materials,” says Allner.
The 900-litre bulk lube bags feature inner containers made of a choice between aluminium foil, high-density polyethylene with specifications dictated by the application in question. “Whether we seek to preserve food-grade oil quality, offer grease resistance, prevent water ingress or bar oxygen or other gases, we have the bag design for the job, transport and dispensing of the oils in question,” says Allner.
Where possible, Engen’s partner Fluid-Bag of FInland will use HDPE, as it offers the most environmentally-friendly disposal possible, containing carbons and hydrogen.
Allner says product performance is measured and verified according to international norms of safety (ISO 9001:2000 including ISO 15161:2001) and the environment (ISO 14001:2004, including ISO 15161:2001), and accredited by SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden.
On-site dispensing systems for the new format can easily be tied into existing dispensing configurations, says Allner. Different dispensing designs cater for fixed and mobile installations, and stock control metering is an option.
As for distribution and warehousing, Engen will use specialised solutions to accommodate the new packaging. Bags are sealed and each unit has a unique serial number linked back to Fluid-Bag’s quality system. This is due to fact that each bag is leak tested with nitrogen and quality checked prior to shipping to Engen in Durban.
The IPS lube bag packaging system offers the following benefits and advantages:
• Cost-effective – it is single-use, meaning no return freight, cleaning or maintenance costs.
• Convenient – one pack holds over four drums’ worth of lubricant, for more lubricant on tap in less space (900L).
• Clean and safe – it’s sealed, so contaminants don’t get in.
• It’s environmentally friendly – made from non-toxic materials, the unit is entirely recyclable and reusable to transport used lubes.
• The solution reduces the capital expenditure for bulk and dispensing equipment by 70%.
• Logistic optimisation.
• Light weight container (packaging total weight empty is below 38kg) – some 60% lighter than conventional IBC’s.
“There are many more advantages and opportunities to this new solution in the areas of the environment, logistics, cost, industry-specific issues and more. Getting our customers’ favourite lubricant to them in difficult-to-access rural African areas need not be a compromise,” Allner says.
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