August 1995, reprinted from Packaging World®
Desiccants in stretch-wrapped pallets solved a condensation problem in overseas shipments of dog food bags by the Iams Co.
The Iams Co., a leading manufacturer of premium pet food based in Dayton, OH, knew it had to take action when it received some isolated complaints about the condition of products being exported to the Far East. The high humidity in this region, coupled with damp storage conditions in warehouses and lengthy travel overseas, resulted in condensation and moisture damage to the multiwall bags in some shipments.
After trying different methods to remedy the problem, Iams began using Container Dri desiccant bags from United Desiccants (Louisville, KY) for shipments to problem areas in the Far East, particularly to Guam and Singapore. Now the product arrives ready to hit the shelves in mint condition. And the reduction in costs associated with damaged packages has forged stronger relationships with distributors.
“The pet food itself wasn’t damaged during shipping, but the condition of the package was not the high quality that the Iams Company and its distributors would put on the shelf,” says Ron Wyss, supervisor of international operations. “We really needed to fix the problem quickly, not only to eliminate damaged shipment claims, but to avoid jeopardizing relationships with our distributors.”
The use of desiccants was not Iams’ first attempt at solving its problem with moisture-damaged packages,adds Wyss. “At one point we removed the stretch wrap from the pallets and replaced it with netting,” he says. “While this did help to alleviate some of the moisture problems, it required extra time and manpower, and the netting was scuffing and tearing the packaging.”
The company also tried slitting the stretch wrap so moisture could escape. But this only proved marginally helpful. Finally Wyss came across an article about how Container Dri had helped another company prevent moisture-related product damage during shipping. “I went straight to United Desiccants, explained our problem, and have been completely satisfied ever since,” says Wyss.
Container Dri adsorbs moisture vapor before it reaches the pet food package, preventing package saturation. The overseas shipments are made up of 18 to 20 pallets per sea container. Each pallet holds anywhere from 48 to 140 bags of product, and each pallet gets 4 1-lb bags of Container Dri. The bags are placed between the planking of the wood pallets.
“Our distributors are very happy with the Container Dri,” says Wyss. “I’ve even had some ask if they could purchase the bags for their warehouses to help control moisture.”
Wyss declines comment on what the desiccant bags add to his packaging costs. But he makes it clear that whatever the cost, it’s a good investment when you consider how expensive it is to issue credits to distributors in the Far East.