Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) play an essential role in the transportation, storage, and handling of liquids and other bulk materials. Designed to safely transport various substances, from liquids and powdered chemicals to granulated solids, IBCs are highly versatile, making them beneficial for many industries and applications. Read on to learn about the different types of intermediate bulk containers.

Flexible IBCs

Flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs), often known as super sacks or bulk bags, are made from woven fabrics, typically polypropylene. These industrial containers are a good option for transporting and storing dry, flowable products like sand, fertilizers, or granules. With storage capacities of up to 3m3, their flexible design and integrated lifting loops make them easy to transport and load. Emptying FIBCs can be as simple as cutting the bottom open or utilizing a discharge valve, if applicable.

Rigid IBCs

In contrast to flexible IBCs, rigid IBC tanks provide a reusable, stackable, and reliable storage and transportation solution for liquids and chemicals. Typically made from heavy-duty plastic, carbon steel, or stainless steel, these containers feature an integrated pallet base that provides universal forklift and pallet jack maneuverability. As the most popular container for transporting hazardous and non-hazardous materials, rigid IBCs are often UN/DOT certified and IMDG approved for domestic and maritime transport. Additionally, these IBCs can be customized in terms of capacity and construction material, and if properly maintained, can be reused in support of a circular economy.

Composite IBCs

Composite IBCs, also referred to as caged IBC totes, consist of a rotationally molded polyethylene bottle encased and protected by a heavy-duty steel or aluminum cage. These totes are frequently used in industries like agriculture, food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals due to their chemical resistance and compatibility. Caged IBCs are commonly utilized as one-way containers, or for single-use applications, and are often unable to be reused, recycled, or properly disposed of.

Stainless Steel IBCs

Stainless steel IBC tanks are the pinnacle of durability, efficiency, and safety when it comes to intermediate bulk containers. These IBCs are ideal for applications involving flammable materials, exposure to high temperatures, or where cleanliness requirements are paramount. Constructed from 304 stainless steel, they also provide excellent corrosion resistance and are capable of withstanding harsh environments. As one of the most sustainable industrial container options on the market today, stainless-steel IBCs can be reused for 25 years or longer, providing an environmentally responsible alternative to single-use and one-way IBCs.

With this understanding of the different types of intermediate bulk containers, you should feel confident in selecting the right type of packaging solution for your chemical, liquid, and bulk storage and transportation needs.

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