Shelf Life of Magnaflux Chemical Consumables


Our chemical consumable products are guaranteed to perform correctly if stored under suitable conditions and used according to the instructions.  In particular, the products must be stored upright in closed containers at temperatures between +10°C and +30°C. They must also be kept dry and protected from sunlight.

Bulk materials (magnetic particle and penetrant products in bulk, and couplant)

Shelf life (unopened) is 5 years from the date of manufacture.*

The batch number consists of seven digits. The first two digits represent the year of manufacture and the third and fourth digits give the month of manufacture.

Aerosol products

Shelf life (unopened) is 3 years from the start date of manufacture.

The batch number together, with the ‘Best Before End’ and ‘Date of Manufacture’, is printed on the underside of the aerosol can.

Note: aerosols, due to slight propellant loss, may not spray as well after two years.

Aqueous ink concentrates

Shelf life (unopened) is 3 years from the date of manufacture.

The batch number consists of seven digits. The first two digits represent the year of manufacture and the third and fourth digits give the month of


Aqueous cleaners

Shelf life (unopened) is 3 years from the date of manufacture.


All unopened Magnaflux couplants have a shelf life of five (5) years starting from the date of manufacture. The date of manufacture is established from the batch number which is located on the product label for bulk materials.

The Magnaflux batch numbering system should be interpreted as follows: The first two numbers represent the year the product was manufactured, i.e., “19” = 2019. The third character, a letter, represents the month the product was manufactured. A= January, B = February, C = March, D = April, E = May, F = June, G = July, H = August, J = September, K = October, L = November, M = December.



* Except ZYGLO ZL-405; its shelf life is 12 months (unopened).

The shelf life is the period of storage time during which the material is determined to be fully functional. The shelf life is a guideline for the time for which Magnaflux has determined product quality during storage.

The expiry date is also included on the Batch Inspection Certificates and can be found on both our aerosol can and bulk chemical labels.  With these items the shelf life is referred to as ‘Best Before End’ date or BBE.

The information quoted above is quoted for Magnaflux products manufactured within Europe.


 What is meant by the term ‘Best Before End’ (BBE) date?

The ‘Best Before End’ (BBE) date is an indication of the recommended shelf life of our products. It is a guide to what Magnaflux EMEA recommends, provided that the customer has followed our storage guidelines.

In brief, products should be stored:

  • in their original containers, which should be kept upright and closed.
  • within the temperature range 10ºC to 30ºC and away from sources of ignition.
  • where they can be checked regularly for any signs of damage.
 Will I see any degradation of the product’s performance beyond its BBE date?

The BBE date is derived from the date where the product is manufactured. In general, we give a 5-year shelf life to bulk materials, and a 3-year shelf life to aerosol and aqueous ink concentrates. These time frames are derived from understanding the range of normal conditions that our products will be stored in. In reality:

Bulk products
We would not expect to see any deviation from the manufacturing specifications (AMS and ISO) on unopened products, so the shelf life should be regarded with a degree of common sense. We recommend carrying out basic quality control tests in-house to ensure acceptable appearance and performance BEFORE adding to in-use material. After that, your routine procedures should ensure no problems are experienced. Once a product enters use, then you can use a process check/comparison product (for example, test pieces/panels) or, alternatively, use the PeneCert Service for external laboratory assessment on penetrants.

Dry powder developers
These can be inspected yourself when they are first opened. If there are no visible signs of contamination, clumping, etc, a small off-line test using a test piece should give an indication as to whether or not the product is OK to use.

Aerosol products
By their very nature, aerosol cans are sealed containers that do not allow contamination to enter. However, it is important to note that the limiting factor which necessitates a BBE date is propellant loss – normally on account of poor storage or handling conditions which allow decompression of the can. If an aerosol works well after its BBE, then it is probably OK to use, but should be used as soon as possible. Experience also shows that developers are more likely to fail on account of the particulate content, which settles on standing. Failure to shake a can properly can lead to the nozzles blocking.

 What is the situation regarding ‘Best Before End’ dates in relation to an audit?

Clearly it is best practise to ensure that all in-use materials are within their BBE date. However, if in-house or PeneCert testing verifies that a product is OK for use, then this should meet the needs of an external auditor. If there is any doubt around the performance of a product, it should be withdrawn from use.

 What is the BBE date of an aerosol product when its manufacture spanned two consecutive months?

The production schedule for filling aerosol products may take several days to complete and run over one month into the start of the next month.

Therefore, it is important to note that the BBE date is 3 years from the start of manufacture, which can be found on the Batch Inspection Certificate. Below is a visual of the underside of the can to help with identifying the BBE date when the manufacture has spanned two consecutive months:

  • On the aerosol can, you will find the precise date of manufacture – for example, 01 AUG 2023 – and its BBE date – for example, JUL 2026.
  • On the Batch Inspection Certificate, you will find the period of manufacture – for example, 19/07/2023-01/08/2023. The BBE date is 07/2026.

For the purpose of any audit on internal procedure requirements, use the BBE date that matches up with the date of manufacture of your specific product.

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