“It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.”
That familiar phrase is apropos for those tasked to clean, treat, or deodorize an industrial workspace, be it a meat packing plant, a facility’s HVAC/air handling system, or even an ambulance, a shipboard container, or surfaces containing biohazards, Ebola or anthrax.
For those who used solid-phase chemical/gas release systems from ICA Tri Nova, LLC to address such dirty cleaning jobs, their task is even more challenging because they have to pour granular impregnates from separate packages into a breathable sachet to mix, activate and release vapors as necessary to be effective.
That’s about to change thanks to a new multi-chamber flexible pack supplied in cut-and-stacked form from Marsupial Innovative Packaging, LLC. Marsupial is known primarily as a developer and distributor of unique packaging, particularly dual-chamber packaging aimed at serving specific customer needs.
For ICA Tri Nova, Marsupial provides a dual-chamber flexible pouch that separates two types of granular impregnates (or media, as ICA Tri Nova refers to them), via a frangible (breakable) seal. The media mix within the pouch once the seals are broken, utilizing exterior pull tabs, stimulating chemical gas-producing reactions. The resulting gas/vapor is then released through the pouch’s perforated/breathable film. The pouch structure has growing uses for increasing shelf life of produce in storage facilities, in transportation and in processing facilities. The pouch is also being promoted commercially for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) coil cleaning, and first responder/military decontamination applications.
David DiLiberto, Marsupial’s Managing Director, notes the media systems and packaging in use at ICA Tri Nova are proprietary. To accommodate these materials he says the film lamination was designed to offer chemical resistance to oxidizing and acidic conditions. The pouch design could also maintain a liquid and a solid, although ICA Tri Nova’s medias are typically granular, similar in consistency to course sand. DiLiberto also highlights the pouch is not only a vehicle for containment and mixing but also active with respect to designed film perforation, allowing controlled gas release.
Atlanta-based ICA Tri Nova’s Technical Director, Dr. William Ernst, explains the impregnates remain in the package during activation and use. This greatly simplifies the definition of products as users no longer need to measure and handle impregnates.
“The new package keeps both medias separated until the user breaks—or pulls apart—the frangible seal. That allows the two medias to be mixed together to initiate the gas generation,” he says.“The package is made with a breathable, perforated film that allows the gas to migrate out.The package can be placed in the area where treatment is desired.”
Ernst says, “Having all our product in one premeasured type of package like this is going to open up other applications. An example would be a shipboard container, where you want to treat the fruits and vegetables in transit and you need to use a few of these bags on the container.” Food processing, military, and healthcare applications are also likely usage targets for the Marsupial pouch.
“We serve in the decontamination space as well,” Ernst notes. “These can sometimes include exotic-type applications where we treat bio-threats like anthrax, or HIV and Ebola. This could be in a small room or even in an ambulance.”
The two companies envision developing different product designs, e.g., sizes, to accommodate different chemical reactions and rates of release to address different market applications. Bag sizes could be made to handle media in ranges from smaller than 50g to larger than 500 g and measuring up to about 12 in. x 12 in. in size, or larger, depending on contents or application.
Various printing options could deliver branding benefits for ICA Tri Nova as well as provide usage instructions. DiLiberto notes that the preformed pouches sent to IC Tri Nova will be sent in an “H” style to allow the Atlanta firm to fill and seal it.
Says Ernst, “Until now we’ve been filling different bags manually and hand-applying a little sticker to the bags. The medias then need to be mixed together into another bag by our customers. This pouch addresses that.
“The new Marsupial dual-chamber pouch will also allow printing on one side, which is really attractive and will allow us to to maintain branding and actually provide some information about what the product is, who makes it, that sort of thing.”
“Our goal is to work toward the next step, which is wider commercialization, where we could move from hand filling to something automated as the product gains acceptance. We’d begin with off-the-shelf equipment as a starting point.”