What Is the Liquid Quantity of Cleaner in a MicroCare Package? Why Is There Empty Space at the Top of the Pail?
Recently a customer called us and complained about our packaging. They had discovered the liquid quantity of a cubitainer was just about 4 liters. Did the container leak? Is MicroCare cheating on the quantities in the packages? Not at all. Here are the details:
Packing by Volume Not by Weight
As long as MicroCare cleaning fluids are stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and away from any source of ignition, they will pretty much last forever. In those situations, the shelf life of most MicroCare products is unlimited. That means they will remain safe and effective for years in storage.
But — and unlike water-based liquids — solvents expand and contract a great deal as the temperature changes. Some MicroCare chemicals expand as much as 22% from the cold of winter to a hot summer day. A liquid quantity of cleaning fluid packaged on a hot summer day in July would shrink and be a much more compact quantity of cleaning fluid when the customer opened the package in February, even though the weight would be exactly the same.
People just aren’t expecting this behavior. This is much more expansion and contraction than more familiar fluids like water, milk or whisky. But the truth is, if we filled the cans with one gallon on a hot summer day, the pail would contain far less than that when it was opened in February after a long, cold trip in the back of a truck to someplace. In fact, we have had pails actually collapse from the vacuum created when pails filled in warm weather were shipped to Minneapolis and used in the winter.
So, to resolve this, we always fill, price and sell based on the exact WEIGHT of the contents (net weight). This also means there is “head space” at the top of the pail to accommodate the ebb and flow of the fluid as it expands and contracts.
Any volume measurement is merely an approximate, convenient measure to communicate the general size of the package (“We’ll ship you five one-gallon pails…” and people know roughly how big that is and if they can lift it.) For example, the Alcohol-Enhanced Flux Remover – ProClean™ (#MCC-PRO) is 340 grams. A pail of the No-Clean Flux Remover – VeriClean™ (#MCC-DC1) is exactly 32 pounds/14.5 kilos. This is EXACT and does not change by the season of the year or temperature of the day. So, for precision, always look for the exact weight of any MicroCare chemical product.
Every MicroCare price list, spec sheet and web site will show the EXACT weight but it also will show the APPROXIMATE volume (“3.9 liters” or “55 gallons” and so on). The volume sizes are just for convenience. Remember those sizes are the size of the container, not quantity of solvent inside the container. If sometimes the container looks a little empty that’s because we have engineered the packaging to leave a little bit of space for the solvent to expand in the hot summer days. In the western U.S., where temperatures often go over 40°C and inside a truck it can be 70°C, we need to have room for the solvents to expand.