In the bag

Louise Davis

Sustainable bagging of carbon black for the electromobility revolution.

Messy and difficult to handle, but crucial for many industries: carbon black is a necessity for the production of manufactured goods such as tyres or lithium-ion batteries – and is therefore also particularly important for future industries such as electromobility. But this ultra-light powder is a huge pain for manufacturers since it is a potential workplace hazard and too expensive to waste. The innovative VeloVac vacuum packers from Greif-Velox ensure dust-free, clean and safe bagging of this difficult-to-handle product.

Bagging of carbon black: a dirty business

The characteristics of carbon black cause problems when using conventional bagging methods (especially pump packers): heavy contamination of the plant environment bringing with it high cleaning costs, high logistics and complaint costs due to contaminated bags and increased risk for employees’ inhaling airborne dust. The bags and pallets themselves can also be contaminated, resulting in high cleaning and quality costs as well as damaging the brand’s reputation.

Dust-free and safe solution

Greif-Velox VeloVac technology elminates this problem by enclosing the process in a vacuum chamber, making the bagging of ultra-light powder entirely dust-free. Further features such as intelligent aspiration functions and the high performing, ultrasonic sealing unit ValvoSeal ensure a safe process and handling. In addition, a cut-off device in the system automatically separates valve overhangs that may still have product residue on them so that neither the bag nor the pallet is contaminated. This ensures a clean working environment for operators and prevents loss of product. All of the named features result in a high-purity product, which is essential for battery production, for example. This is because metallic impurities and moisture can lead to undesirable side reactions and negatively affect the performance and durability of the battery.

Saving space and logistics costs

Unlike conventional methods that involve dirty and bulky bags (filled with a lot of air), operators can safely stack twice as many layers. Thanks to the dust-free vacuum process, the bags are highly compacted and clean, saving up to 75% on storage and logistics costs. Due to their brick-like, stable positioning, transport is safer and cheaper – and thus enables a significantly lower CO2 footprint.

With VeloVac XL, users can now also fill FIBCs (“Big Bags”) with the vacuum method and benefit from the same advantages as with the VeloVac system for smaller containers: efficiency, cleanliness, employee safety, reduced storage, logistics and quality costs. Plus: while the capacity for carbon black in valve bags is 7.5kg, an FIBC holds 200 to 230kg – up to almost 70 times more. End users can process and empty larger bags faster, using up to 30% less packaging material.

Providing carbon black for the electromobility revolution

The optimised filling and packaging process of carbon black using a vacuum method ensures that a high-quality material such as carbon black is made available to the end customer in more significant quantities faster, and in high-quality packaging. The process reduces the CO2 footprint for battery production, for example, and thus provides sustainable support for the electromobility revolution.

Carbon black is a type of paracrystalline carbon characterised by its elevated ratio of surface area to volume. It has a grain diameter of 60 to 110 nanometres, as well as a low bulk density and high air-holding capacity – but its range of application is very wide: the primary application, constituting 70% of carbon black utilisation, involves its role as both a pigment and a reinforcing agent in automotive tires. Carbon black serves the additional function of dissipating heat from the tyre’s tread and belt section, thereby reducing thermal damage and extending the lifespan of the tyre. Its cost-effectiveness has established it as a prevalent inclusion in cathodes and anodes, serving as a secure alternative to lithium metal in lithium-ion batteries.

Recent Issues