Intermediate Bulk Containers
Intermediate Bulk Container Recycling
Intermediate bulk containers (IBC), (IBC tote, IBC tank or pallet tanks), are reusable, multi-use industrial containers that have been engineered for the mass handling, transport and storage of liquids, pastes or solids.
Intermediate bulk containers are stackable, reusable, versatile containers with an integrated pallet base mount that provides forklift and/or pallet jack maneuverability. IBCs have a volume range that is in-between that of standard shipping drums and inter-modal tank containers ; hence the title: “intermediate“ bulk containers . These containers can be made from metal, plastic or composite material.
General IBC tank capacities are generally 275 to 330 U.S. gallons. IBCs are shipping containers that have been UN / DOT certified for the shipping of hazardous and non-hazardous, packing group II and packing group III commodities. Intermediate bulk containers can be manufactured from various materials based on the requirements of the application or service the IBC will be used for. Traditional materials include:
- Plastic (High-Density Polyethylene)
- Composite: Galvanized Steel & Plastic
- Carbon Steel
- Stainless Steel (304 & 316/316L SS grades)
The most widely utilized and known IBC is the limited re-use caged IBC. Caged totes are composite IBCs—a white/translucent plastic container (typically high-density polyethylene) contained and protected by a tubular galvanized steel grid. Caged IBC totes are commonly used due to their low cost, wide compatibility, and versatility.
In addition to the above materials, intermediate bulk containers can also be made of fiberboard, wood, aluminum, and folding plastic. Folding IBCs are also made of heavy plastic. Their sides fold inward when the unit is empty allowing the IBC to collapse into a much smaller package for return shipment or storage. Flexible intermediate bulk containers , made of woven polyethylene or polypropylene bags, are designed for storing or transporting dry, flowable products, such as sand, fertilizer, and plastic granules. Almost all rigid IBCs are designed so they can be stacked vertically one atop the other using a forklift. Most have a built-in tap (valve, spigot, or faucet) at the base of the container to which hoses can be attached, or through which the contents can be poured into smaller containers .
Most IBCs are cube-shaped and this cube-shaped engineering contributes to the packaging, stacking, storing, shipping, and overall space efficiency of intermediate bulk containers. When compared to palletized drums, IBC tanks are capable of carrying equivalent volumes in less shipping space and in significantly less steps, both manufacturing and logistic. One 275 gallon IBC is the volume and footprint equivalent to five 55-US-gallon (208 L; 46 imp gal) drums, and a single 330-gallon IBC is the equivalent to six 55 gallon drums while maintaining a single pallet’s dimensions. This is an increase in space utilization as:
- 4 Drums = 1 Pallet
- 1 IBC = 1 Pallet
- 1 275 Gallon IBC = 5 Drums
- 5 Drums = 1.25 Pallets
- 1 330 Gallon IBC = 6 Drums
- 6 Drums = 1.5 Pallets
Demonstrating an increase in shipping / packing efficiency, especially when considering use of multiple IBC tanks: four 330 gallon IBCs would be the equivalent of twenty-four 55-gallon drums and six pallets. IBCs can be manufactured to a customer’s exact requirements in terms of capacity, dimensions, and material. The length and width of an IBC are usually dependent on the pallet dimension standard of a given country.
Do You Know?
- Where your container came from?
- What was in the container before you got it?
- Was the prior product toxic? A Pesticide? A herbicide? Dye?
- How was it washed?
- Was it washed with dirty water (as a batch)?
- Was it just rinsed with a garden hose?
- Were the accessories (Valve, Lid, Bung) washed separately?
- Was the valve torqued to spec?
- Was it leak tested?
- If it meets DOT standards for hazmat?
Consider how these factors impact contamination or loss of your valuable products.
Don’t wonder about your used container.
Count on Quality with PCS!