The concept of the IBC, intermediate bulk container, tote was first purposed in 1992 as a replacement for large cylinder containers that were used to move liquids, chemicals, food, and granulated products. The cylinders were bulky, heavy, and difficult to transport and move. Shipping companies searched for a replacement for the cylinders and were presented with the IBC tote, which is less expensive, lighter, and comes in a variety of sizes to fit any shipping need.
What is an IBC Tote?
IBC totes are cube shaped containers that easily fit on pallets. They can be moved by a pallet jack or forklift for positioning in trucks, racking, or railroad cars. The term intermediate indicates that IBC totes are sized between drums and large tanks. They range in size from 120 gallons up to 550 gallons and can be adapted to ship hazardous or non-hazardous liquids and chemicals.
The tank of an IBC tote can be made of durable high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, which may be translucent or white. The tote is enclosed in a galvanized metal cage that is attached to a pallet for ease of movement and transport.
Though there are IBC totes designed for one time use, the majority of them are reusable. The deciding factor for the term of their use is dependent how they have been used and what materials they contained.
The versatility of intermediate bulk containers is another feature that has made them a popular shipping choice. They are made from a wide variety of materials aside from the choice of several sizes. Some types are collapsible for easy storage when not in use.
Materials Used to Make IBC Totes
The type of material used to produce a tote depends a great deal on its purpose since the types of substances that can be shipped in them include chemicals, adhesives, detergents, food syrups, powders, granulated food ingredients, and various types of paint.
Though HDPE plastic is the most common form of IBC Tote, they can also be made from wood, steel, aluminum, and fiberglass. The varieties of materials allow producers to customize the tote to fit a customer’s shipping needs. If the standard sizes are not adequate, producers are able to customize a tote to perfectly fit a customer’s specifications.
Benefits of IBC Totes
The main reason for the develop of intermediate bulk containers is their flexibility and adaptability. They can be configured to meet the requirements of any shipping need with spouts, drains, and valves that are perfectly fitted for the materials to be shipped. Their development has served as a means of avoiding the use of huge containers for medium sized quantities.
Since totes come in a variety of sizes, they can be made to fit any form of shipping from trucks and trains to planes and transports. This single feature has been the essence of their popularity and use.