Fire Containment Systems & Packaging Solutions

January 18, 2024

The global shipping industry is responsible for moving an estimated 90% of all goods. Ensuring the safe transportation of products susceptible to thermal events has become imperative. Every year flammable goods like oxygen canisters and lithium-ion batteries and their associated products are transported all over the globe, with each of them vulnerable to a variety of factors that can result in damage and thermal runaway events. That’s why packaging solutions with built-in fire containment systems are considered the guardians of supply chain integrity. These packaging solutions have managed to address the risks through intelligent design that delivers safety, superior performance, and regulatory compliance.

As industries increasingly focus on comprehensive risk mitigation, fire safety has become a top priority. Through the integration of fire containment solutions in storage and transportation containers, the supply chain has a solution to preemptively combat one of the biggest risks in the industry today: thermal runaway events. In this article, we’ll dive into the intricacies of fire containment packaging, compare it to fire suppressant measures, and look at the journey high-value and hazmat goods go through in our increasingly interconnected world.

What is a Fire Containment System & How Does it Work?

Imagine a scenario where a fire erupts unexpectedly during the transportation of a lithium-ion battery. In such cases, a fire containment system can be a lifesaver because this technology is designed to keep the fire contained  within the battery shipping container, keeping it from spreading and mitigating its destructive potential.

Fire containment is different from fire suppression. Unlike fire containment that’s designed to keep the fire within the container to keep it from spreading,  a fire suppression system’s goal is to actually suppress, or put out, the fire. However, there is something of a false presumption that the suppression system will work without fault. There are a number of reasons why a fire suppression system could fail, including damage or deactivation to the electrical or mechanical triggers designed to address a fire if or when it breaks out. Rather than risk extensive damage from relying on a suppression system that may or may not work, Americase engineers its packaging solutions with a focus on fire containment, which is put through rigorous testing in our in-house labs to ensure performance and regulatory compliance.

The mechanics behind a fire containment system are intricate yet efficient. Fire containment is a passive design infrastructure that will allow a package to contain potentially hazardous material throughout even the most disastrous of thermal events, requiring no outside monitoring or human intervention to prevent further damage.

What Can Fire Containment Packaging Solutions Provide?

Packaging solutions designed for fire containment allow for the safe transportation of products susceptible to thermal events caused by temperature fluctuations, physical damage, and other factors. These innovative solutions are not limited to a specific industry; they are applicable across a broad spectrum, including aerospace, consumer electronics, data centers, automotive, power tools, micromobility devices, and military. At the center of fire containment packaging are innovative materials and mechanisms designed to maintain a consistent temperature range and safe positioning, regardless of external conditions. Insulation materials with high thermal resistance form the first line of defense, minimizing the heat exchange between the inside and outside of the packaging.

Phase Change Materials (PCMs) come into play as latent heat storage units, absorbing or releasing heat to regulate the internal temperature and keep a thermal event contained within the packaging rather than letting it escape. The result is a controlled environment that safeguards goods from temperature extremes and protects everyone else during the transportation process.

Fire Containment Systems in the Aerospace Industry

The aerospace industry is a prime example of the need for fire containment systems in shipping containers. While air transportation has drastically decreased the average shipping time, the fluctuating altitudes and temperature changes can pose a problem in shipping hazmat goods like oxygen canisters. That is why fire containment considerations in storage cases and shipping containers are essential in preventing catastrophic incidents. These systems protect cargo and safeguard the aircraft, ensuring the safety of passengers, crew, and valuable resources.

Risks of Shipping Susceptible Goods

Maintaining proper temperature control when transporting dangerous, high-value goods poses a significant challenge to our modern supply chain. Now, it’s crucial to ensure the quality and efficacy of shipments as they travel through different environments. Here are some of the unique vulnerabilities faced by industries reliant on fire containment systems in transportation:

In Aviation

  • Altitude-Induced Fluctuations: High-altitude flights subject cargo to extreme temperature shifts, endangering cargo lacking proper insulation.
  • Precise Temperature Tolerance: Lithium batteries transported by air require strict temperature control to ensure safety in shipping and proper operation upon delivery.
  • Strict Regulations: The packaging used to ship goods susceptible to thermal events must adhere to aviation and government safety regulations to prevent potential hazards.
  • Operational Disruptions: Temperature deviations and thermal incidents can disrupt supply chains, leading to critical delays and loss of revenue.

In Consumer Electronics

  • Thermal Stress: Rapid temperature changes during transit can stress electronic components, causing premature failure and/or increase the risk of fire.
  • Risk of Overheating: Inadequate packaging exposes electronics to overheating and potential fire hazards.
  • Thermal Event Hazards: Electronics with lithium-ion batteries pose fire risks, necessitating fire containment integration in the packaging.
  • Customer Dissatisfaction: Damaged or defective product leads to negative customer experiences, impacting brand reputation.
  • Supply Chain Disruption: Global electronics supply chains are vulnerable to temperature-related disruptions, affecting operations.

Ensure Shipping Safety with Advanced Storage Solutions by Americase

In the constantly evolving logistics industry, incorporating additional measures to mitigate the risk of safety events has become vital to the day-to-day of many global industries. With our commitment to solving complex challenges, Americase offers custom protective container design solutions that go above and beyond simply adhering to regulations. From safeguarding high-value goods to addressing the specific demands of potentially hazardous cargo, our tailored approach ensures your products’ journey with ultimate protection and efficiency.

Whether it’s developing containers that excel in ensuring the secure shipping or storage of lithium battery products or becoming a pioneer in fire containment systems that ensure safe operations, Americase delivers innovative solutions that redefine safety and quality standards. Contact the Americase team to learn more about how we can elevate your fire containment storage and shipping capabilities today.

WordPress Lightbox