Pharmaceutical intermediates is an industry that relies heavily on industrial packaging, as companies in this sector often need to store large amounts of liquid material. Beyond just storing a large volume of liquids, they also need flexibility in their storage solution, as they are often dealing with many different products, and may need to transport the chemicals to various locations across the country. Many companies are turning to IBCs as their main storage solution. An industry analysis by Smithers found that, "Drums and IBCs together accounted for just under a third of the [industrial packaging] market in 2013, but are forecast to represent 36% of total usage by 2020, with the strongest growth expected in IBCs". Let’s look at several key benefits to IBCs that make them such an attractive option for companies storing pharmaceutical intermediates.
In a highly competitive landscape with tight margins, there is constant pressure to reduce costs. IBCs are an excellent storage solution for companies looking to keep costs down. The large capacity allows for more material to be stored in a single container than in a standard drum. One 350-gallon IBC can hold as much liquid as six 55-gallon drums, while only taking up as much space as four drums. As Smithers found, the rectangular shape of the IBC is key to reducing wasted space. "Rectangular-shaped rigid IBCs that enable containers to be packed closer together with less void space will increasingly be used by large companies. This will manifest itself in greater volume usage for containers and ultimately improved trailer transportation efficiencies". Whether shipping the chemicals on a truck, or storing the containers in your warehouse, it is always profitable to minimize wasted space. Further, stainless steel IBCs can be reused for years, even decades, if maintained properly. A one-time investment in a stainless steel IBC will provide you with a storage solution for many years.
Another benefit of stainless steel IBCs is the flexibility they offer. It is relatively easy to move an IBC with a pallet jack or forklift. IBCs are also DOT approved, and therefore can be loaded onto a trailer and shipped anywhere in the country. Having a small fleet of IBCs is ideal if you have multiple products that need to be stored, as they can be easily labeled, making it simple to keep track of your various pharmaceutical intermediates. If you need to change the chemical you are storing in the IBC, stainless steel IBCs can be cleaned to ‘like new’ condition. A reputable IBC cleaner can wash out any residue from the previous product so that the IBC can be used again with a new product with no fear of cross contamination. In addition to the cost savings, cleaning an IBC instead of having to buy a new container is a great way to reduce waste and help your company go green!