Tote Talk Blog

Benefits of Using Poly Composite IBCs for Bulk Liquid Storage

poly composite IBCPoly composite IBCs have become essential to the shipping of intermediate bulk liquids throughout the US.  As a replacement for 55 gallon drums, one 275 gallon IBC can take the place of five drums.  In addition to the larger size, there are many features to poly composite IBCs that make them an advantageous storage solution.

Lifespan of Poly Composite IBCs

There are many reasons to use poly composite IBCs to ship liquids.  Not needing to worry about maintenance is one of the many benefits of using poly composite IBCs.  Poly composite totes have a relatively short life span, so maintenance of the containers is not a concern.  Often referred to as “one-way totes”, poly composite totes are cheap enough that they are often used a single time before being replaced.  If the totes are being filled and shipped to a customer or another plant location, it is often cheaper to buy new totes rather than pay for the return freight (and you get a clean tote, too!).  There are no maintenance costs, and because they are lightweight, shipping is significantly cheaper compared to steel containers. 

Although they are called “one-way totes”, this does not mean that the IBCs need to be disposed of after a single use.  A benefit of poly composite IBCs is that used totes can be sold to reconditioning companies.  There are plenty of companies that will buy used, sometimes referred to as “raw”, totes and recondition the bottles so that they can be used again.  When you are done using the tote you do not need to worry about the disposing of the IBCs, it is often possible to find a company nearby that will buy the totes and take them off your hands!

reconditioned poly composite IBCThis recycling of the totes presents another benefit of poly composite IBCs.  Instead of buying totes with new bottles, significant savings can be realized by buying reconditioned IBCs.  A reputable reconditioner will do an excellent job cleaning the bottles, and it can often be hard to tell a new bottle from a reconditioned one.  Many products can be reliably shipped in reconditioned IBCs, resulting in huge cost savings! 

Safe Use and Transport of Composite IBCs

Certain liquid classifications should not be received or stored in composite IBCs, especially those that have a flash point below 100 degrees.  Poly composite IBCs are rated for packaging groups II and III.  Therefore, refer to the liquid's safety data sheet or material data sheet when using composite IBCs to transport potentially hazardous or flammable liquids.

The floor or surface where IBCs will be stored should be flat and in good condition to ensure the IBCs are stable.  A clean warehouse space without items that would risk puncturing the plastic containers should be considered.  If IBCs are to be racked, the racking system should be strong enough to support the weight of the IBCs and their contents.  Mechanical handling equipment should be properly maintained and appropriate for the specific IBC size and weight to prevent damage.  Forklifts are often an effective piece of equipment for moving and lifting IBCs. 

Safe Handling Practices

The manufacturer's instructions should always be followed regarding the safe handling of composite IBCs. Composite filling must be done at atmospheric pressure, and according to the design specifications of the IBC.  Make sure the outlet valve is always closed during the filling procedure and the inner receptacle is sufficiently vented to prevent pressure build up, which may deform the container.

IBC safe handling practices

Composite IBCs should not be filled or discharged under pressure, and an inspection before filling is recommended.  Always tighten the screw cap into its proper place before storage or transport.  When lifting a composite IBC, the lift truck forks should be fully engaged underneath the pallet and the IBC should be protected from impact.  IBC accidents can be avoided by securing the load to prevent movement or bouncing during transportation.  Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the legal requirements for the safe transport of liquids in poly composite IBCs.

To get all your intermediate bulk container questions answered, send us an email, or give us a call at 1-800-634-4128 .

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Topics: Poly Composite IBC

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