Tote Talk Blog

UN/DOT Requirements for Stainless Steel IBCs

When shipping regulated products, as determined by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT),  it is necessary to select a container that is certified to transport regulated materials. A common solution is to ship regulated products using stainless steel tote tanks. Stainless steel totes are compatible with many different types of products, and are often designed to be compliant with DOT requirements. Three key features of UN/DOT certified IBCs are totes with current test dates, a fusible vent installed in the top, and a secondary closure on the outlet. 


UN/DOT 30-month and 60-month Tests


leakproofness test

Stainless steel tote tanks that are certified to UN/DOT standards are required to be tested every 30 months. A proper 30-month inspection will include a complete leakproofness test and an extensive visual inspection of the tank. A metal thickness test is required every 60 months. To maintain UN/DOT compliance, companies using totes to transport regulated products should follow a regular inspection program and carefully document all testing procedures and the associated results. It is good practice to obtain the current test certificate from the facility doing the inspection. An IBC without a valid test certificate cannot be used for the transportation of regulated products.

Fusible Vents for UN/DOT Rated IBCs

Drum Cover with vent and bungThe 3” fusible vent typically found in the center of the lid of a stainless steel tote is an important feature for complying with DOT regulations. The Department of Transportation regulations state in section DOT CFR 178.705 (2)(i) that "IBCs must be capable of releasing a sufficient amount of vapor in the event of fire engulfment to ensure that no rupture of the body will occur due to pressure build-up."

Manufacturers of IBCs have determined that using a fusible vent is the best method available for safely releasing excess vapor in emergency situations. When the intermediate bulk container is exposed to excessive heat, the fusible vent is designed to melt away to allow the inner core to fall into the tank, allowing the vapors to be released. This alleviates the intense pressure build up inside the stainless steel IBC and significantly reduces the likelihood of explosion. (It is important to note that the vents are designed to alleviate pressure in emergency situations only and do not function as a relief vent for common pressure buildup.)

Secondary Closure for Outlet on UN/DOT Rated IBCs

dust cap, 316ssStainless steel IBCs typically come equipped with an outlet valve on the bottom for draining the tote. To meet DOT requirements, all IBCs must also be equipped with a secondary closure. Often, this is simply a plug that is screwed into the outlet valve. If the totes come with an adapter, then it should come with a dust cap as the secondary closure. When using the totes for over the road transportation, always check to ensure the tote has either a plug or dust cap installed as a secondary closure. 

When using stainless steel totes for over the road transportation it is important to pay attention to and abide by DOT regulations. Regularly testing the IBCs, having a fusible vent installed, and ensuring the outlet has a secondary closure are all necessary for meeting DOT regulations. To get all your intermediate bulk container questions answered, send us an email, or call us at 1-800-634-4128.

drums vs ibcs

Topics: IBC totes

We welcome your comments


Subscribe to Email Updates