Guidelines for sending lithium accumulators and batteries
January 2013 Shipments exceeding the limits mentioned in these guidelines are governed by stricter ADR regulations,
and their sending must be agreed on separately with Itella. Likewise, Itella should be contacted when
planning the transportation of accumulators to be disposed of, since they are governed by separate
regulations. When necessary, Itella's safety adviser will provide help in identifying the applicable
regulations. The sender is responsible for correct categorization and the resulting packing, markings and documents
according to the applicable ADR laws.
Lithium accumulators and batteries (hereinafter referred to as "batteries") have become more common in
recent years. As an element, lithium is a metal, and when lithium reacts with water, explosive hydrogen gas
is created. Blows and short-circuits suffered by batteries have caused accidents and near misses.
In the new transport regulations, batteries are grouped into metal batteries and ion batteries, and they have
separate regulations due to their structure and safety measures.
Usually, lithium metal batteries (UN 3090) are not rechargeable. A lithium button cell battery
(watches, calculators) is a typical example. In case of fire, it is more difficult to extinguish metal batteries than ion batteries.
Lithium ion batteries (UN 3480) are usually rechargeable. A mobile phone battery is a typical
example. Larger batteries are used as the power sources of a wide range of equipment.
There are different regulations for sending batteries separately from the equipment, and for sending batteries as installed in the equipment.
For both aforementioned battery types, there are second UN numbers for situations where the
batteries are not sent alone (UN 3091 and UN 3481).
Packing with equipment is similar to when sending just batteries. If the battery is included in the device, the battery is usually well-protected, and the packing
Applicable legislation sets out exemptions that may be applied in sending consumer electronics, for example:
In the ADR legislation for land transport, said exemptions are specified under special regulation
Section II shipment method is referred to in air transport.
The transport must always observe applicable airline-specific and country-specific requirements.
The exemption may be applied when the energy in the battery is limited
A lithium metal cell or a lithium compound cell: the amount of lithium is 1 g maximum
A lithium metal battery or a lithium compound battery: the total amount of lithium is 2 g maximum
A lithium ion cell: nominal power 20 Wh
A lithium ion battery: total nominal power 100 Wh
Cells and batteries, excluding those installed in equipment, must be packed in an interior package that fully
protects the cell or battery. They must also be protected against short-circuit. Cells and batteries installed in equipment must be protected against damage and short-circuit, and
unintentional start-up of the device must be prevented.
All handling units, excluding units containing button cell batteries installed in equipment (including circuit
boards) or, units with a maximum of four cells installed in equipment or a maximum of two batteries
installed in equipment
, must be marked as follows:
A marking that the handling unit contains lithium metal cells or lithium ion cells, or lithium metal
A marking that the unit is to be handled with care, and that the unit is flammable in case of damage
A marking that special measures must be observed in case the unit is damaged, including
A telephone number for additional information
The allowed maximum gross mass of an individual handling unit is 30 kg, excluding batteries
installed in equipment and batteries packed with equipment.
A shipment comprising such handling units must include a transport document in Finnish, and the
document must provide the aforementioned information. It is recommended to place the transport document outside the handling unit in a plastic pocket so that it stays with the shipment.
There are no other requirements in force.
In practice, the above handling unit marking may look like this:
In domestic transport, the texts are in Finnish. If the transport is part of an international transport, the texts may be in English.
For example, an individual laptop computer with the battery inside needs no markings. In these cases, the Itella service used may be selected freely. If the battery is not installed in the equipment, the above regulations are to be observed. NOTICE: Until further notice, batteries, or equipment containing batteries, or equipment packed with batteries, cannot be transported as airmail from or in Finland even though the unit will not need any markings or transport documents. This is to be observed in international traffic and long domestic distances. It is possible that equipment containing batteries may be accepted for airmail. A Civil Aviation Authority approval is required. We will inform any changes regarding this. For more details, please contact customer service Consumers p. 0200 71000,Business p. 0200 77000 Sources: Body of laws; ADR 2013 Litium-akkujen uudet kuljetusmääräykset, Vantaa, March 22, 2012, DGM Finland Oy [New transport regulations for lithium batteries]
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