Fighting Humidity with Desiccants

Drugs and devices can be protected from moisture in a variety of ways.

Shipping and storage can damage pharmaceuticals and medical devices. That's where desiccants come in. Available in a variety of forms, these moisture-grabbing elements can be anchored to closures and trays, tucked between packages in shipping containers, and even used to package the products themselves.

Tablets made from desiccant powder can be customized to fit into almost any medical diagnostic kit. Dritabs have the same capacity and performance of the original desiccant yet are easier to handle during automated assembly. The Dritabs are commonly formed from a molecular sieve desiccant but can be supplied in other types. Thompson and Capper Ltd., Cheshire, UK.

Silica gel­based static desiccants come in continuous strips that are perforated for automated tear-off and insertion into any moisture-sensitive pharmaceutical package. DryGuard Gram Packs are available in a variety of sizes and can be supplied in drums or cardboard containers. Engelhard Corp., Iselin, NJ.

Microporous desiccant bags capture moisture, transform it into a gel, and prevent it from escaping. Container Dri II Bags are designed to be placed with pharmaceutical cargo as it is packaged for shipment. When used in conjunction with traditional desiccants, the bags prevent condensation from damaging products. During transport, the bags can absorb up to three times their weight in water for up to 40 days. United Desiccants, Belen, NM.

Sorbents are designed for use with medical diagnostic, pharmaceutical, and electronics packaging. Skavenger Multiform sorbents are available in tablet, rectangular, circular, and other shapes with molecular sieve, silica gel, indicating silica gel, or activated carbon desiccant media to meet specific needs. They can absorb up to 30% of their weight. Multisorb Technologies Inc., Buffalo, NY.

A manufacturer of desiccant products offers a chart to help medical device and pharmaceutical packagers determine the amount of desiccants necessary to keep shipments dry. The guide describes the firm's PillowPaks, which are compact packets available in Tyvek brand spunbonded olefin, paper, clear film, and custom substrates and in sizes ranging from 0.25 to 14 g. Also highlighted are continuous-strip PillowPaks that can be used with automated dispensing equipment for high-volume uses. Desiccare Inc., Santa Fe Springs, CA.

A packaging material provider uses a new down-gauged version of spunbonded olefin to create desiccant packaging. The firm seals the new Tyvek 1025B with its proprietary desiccant heat-seal coating and offers the coated material in printed or plain rollstock in a variety of widths. The material can then be used to produce desiccant pouches. Phoenix Health Care Products LLC, Milwaukee, WI.

Desiccant packs contain clay beads that absorb moisture inside containers during shipping. Packaged in crepe kraft paper bags, the packs can be placed into sealed shipping containers to protect moisture-sensitive electronics, chemicals, and other products. Associated Bag Co., Milwaukee, WI.

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