At Baltimore, we are always very happy to help you with any questions that you might have; therefore if you want to look up a particular term of reference, or if you want to do some general background reading, then we provide our FAQs “Frequently Asked Questions” section below.
- Where can I find a Product Datasheet / Technical Data Sheet?
- Where can I find an MSDS / Health and Safety datasheet?
- What are Desiccants?
Desiccants are materials that have a drying effect on the materials and or environment around them. Desiccants are typically used to remove water vapour (humidity) from the air.
- What are the common forms of Desiccant?
Common forms of desiccants include: silica gel, molecular sieves, activated alumina, etc. in many shape and formats.
- Why do people use Desiccants?
Desiccants are commonly used to prevent moisture damaging sensitive products during storage and distribution.
- What is the difference between a ‘Desiccant’ and an ‘Absorbent’ ?
Technically speaking, both a desiccant and an absorbent soak-up water. However, in industrial terms the term ‘desiccant’ is typically used to describe a product that adsorbs water when it is in vapour state (i.e. when it is invisible ‘humidity’), and the term ‘absorbent’ is typically used to describe a product that soaks-up water when the water is in a visible liquid state (e.g. a fluid that has been spilt on the floor).
- What are Silica Gels?
Silica Gels are a form of beaded or granular desiccant that is used for drying or dehumidifying sealed environments. Most people will have seen these gels where they are sealed in small white ‘sachets’ and are included in the packaging of medicines or electronic equipment. However, in industry, they are also used in massive quantities, as bulk free-fill media for air dryers and desiccant breathers.
- What are “Indicating Silica Gels”?
Indicating silica gels are small round beads of crystalline alumino-silicate that function as a desiccant or drying agent, just like normal silica gel does. However, they differ from regular silica gel in that they change colour from Orange (when they are dry) to Dark Green (when they are wet), so not only desiccate but also indicate.
- What are Molecular Sieves?
Molecular Sieves are zeolites crystals, made from synthetic alumino-silicates. They are available with different pore sizes. These pore sizes dictate the size and type of molecules that they can absorb. By using different forms of these zeolites, with different pore sizes, you can thus sieve out various molecules based on their molecular diameter. You can think of this process as being exactly the same as the sieving and grading of industrial rocks/aggregates, but just done on a molecular level. At Baltimore, we specialise in 3A and 4A zeolites, They can actually remove very small molecules such as water and thus they function as desiccants.
- What are Barrier Foils, and why are they used with Desiccants?
Barrier foils are a flexible sheet material, made-up of a thin aluminium foil layer, combined with 2 or 3 layers of polymer films, all laminated together to form one single sheet of material. They provide an excellent barrier to moisture, and it is used to form a hermetically sealed pouch in which a desiccant can then work.
- What are Humidity Indicator Cards (HICs)?
HICs are small paper cards with coloured ink-spots on them. They are designed to measure the relative humidity within a packaged environment. The humidity level is indicated by a colour change of the dots, from blue (when dry) to pink (when saturated).
- What is SUPERDRYSIM?
SUPERDRYSIMTM is our advanced software for modelling moisture-behaviour within a sealed package. We use it to help manufacturers optimise their packaging in response to specific temperature and relative humidity conditions, and decreases the lead-time required to achieve product stability compared to more traditional techniques. In this way, manufacturers are guaranteed precise packaging solution at the minimum cost.
- What is a PRONTOPACKERTM?
PRONTOPACKER™ is an advanced and reliable desiccant dispenser, designed to insert accurately desiccant sachets into automated high-speed production lines. This machine takes continuous-strip desiccants, cuts them into individual sachets, and then places them into your packaging, whether that be a bottle (on a high-speed bottling line) or a pouch (produced on an automated flow-wrapper).
- What are HUMIBALANCE™ sachets?
HUMIBALANCE™ sachets are our cutting-edge technology regarding desiccation, designed to maintain a specific humidity level, rather than reducing it to zero. If in-pack humidity is too high, then they adsorb moisture and if it is too low, they release moisture. The overall effect is humidity maintenance at a specific level that is suitable for your product.
- What are our Consultation Services?
In addition to a range of physical products we also offer our expert advice through our Consultancy. We offer this consultancy work to all of our customers. It is particularly useful for start-up companies who don’t have a large R&D Department that can answer their packaging questions for them. It is also very useful for larger companies who are either working against a tight deadline, and need answers quickly, and/or established companies who are launching a new product into a new market sector where they previously have very little experience.
- Can I re-activate my Silica Gel?
It is possible to regenerate silica gel by re-heating it, but we do NOT recommend this, for three main reasons:
1. With every heat-and-saturation cycle the crystal structure within the silica gel becomes more and more damaged (it’s just like photo-copying a photo-copy), and with every re-heating cycle the product’s quality decreases, and total adsorption capacity decreases.
2. In Europe and the USA, the cost of energy for heating the silica gel, is actually more than the cost of buying a brand new silica gel sachet. So it costs you more to regenerate these bags yourself.
3. In almost all cases, the temperature at which you need to heat the Silica Gel is higher than the burning temperature of the sachet or plastic housing that contains the Silica Gel. Therefore, you have a choice of: [a] heating the silica effectively and setting fire to the sachet/housing, or [b] not setting fire to the exterior sachet, and in doing so, not drying the silica beads to a level required to regenerate them.
For all of these reasons, we do NOT recommend re-generating your silica gel.
Note also that if you are using a standard white packet of white silica gel, then it’s not easy to tell when the silica has been saturated, and when it needs replacing. For this reason, we have developed a range of indicating silica gels, which clearly shows (via a colour change) when the silica has become saturated, and when you need to replace the sachet.
If you require further information or assistance, or if you simply prefer to speak or write to us with a more specific requirement, please feel free to contact us at any time.