June 04, 2019

Urethane Shelf Life Expectancy

There is often confusion regarding the shelf life of Vettec products and the somewhat mysterious batch code used.  Customers ask why we don't put an expiration date on cartridge labels, or at least a "best used by" designation.  The answer is simple; there is no fixed expiration date.  Vettec materials are guaranteed to perform as designed for 12 months from the time they are made, however, they may be usable well beyond that timeframe.

The batch code is described as the Julian calendar, and is used in various forms on many perishable products.  Once you know how to decode the numbers, it's really pretty easy.

On the back side of the label (usually in the lower right corner) there are two number groups, one above the other (see picture).  They begin with 4 numbers, and often have a couple letters at the end of those 4 numbers, but the numbers are all you need to determine the product age.  The first number represents the year the product was made, so at present, 8's and 9's are common to represent 2018 and 2019.  The 3 numbers that follow the first number represent the day the cartridge was filled from 0 to 365, with 0 being Jan 1st, and 365 being Dec 31st.  The difference between the top and bottom number indicates the range of days it took to make the batch. 

Using the picture as an example, the cartridge was made between the 200th and 213th day of 2018...so around the end of July 2018, which means it should be usable until July of 2019.  The material should perform equally well whether it's one month old or twelve months old.  Beyond one year, the set time gradually increases but not dramatically, so it's best to dispense a small amount onto a piece of cardboard, and time the set.  If the set time is acceptable, and the material is mixed well, it should bond well and be very usable.  Eventually, the material will be un-dispensable.  Factors that might compromise, or shorten shelf life, include storage at high temperatures (over 80F), and storage at below freezing temperatures.  Ideally, storage at around room temperature is preferred for best shelf life.