Bulk Bags & FIBC’s
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Things to consider when looking to use bulk bags
Bulk Bags can be manufactured to many different designs and specifications to adhere with the filling, storage, transport and discharge of your products.
Critical factors to consider when deciding on the right bulk packaging for your products are:
- The weight and volume of product that you wish to carry
- The type of filling and discharging mechanism required for the product being carried
- The environment in which the product is being filled or discharged, particularly if there is a risk of electrostatic discharge
- How will the material flow?
- Will the bulk bag be filled several times?
- How is the bag to be lifted?
- Does the bulk bag need to be produced from a coated fabric to prevent product seepage or water ingress through the fabric?
- Does the bag require sift proofing to prevent product seepage through the seams?
- Is the product being carried classified as a dangerous or hazardous material?
- Is the product being carried foodstuff?
What is a bulk bag and how is it made?
How much weight can a bulk bag carry?
Bulk bags can be certified to carry product weighing anything from 50kg up to 2000kg, the heavier the product being carried the heavier the grade of fabric required to manufacture the bag to conform to the safe working load. A bulk bag can carry up to 1000 times its own weight.
Bulk bags are predominantly made from polypropylene (PP) a high strength thermoplastic that is very strong yet flexible.
The polypropylene is extruded in tubular form which is then sliced into threads and woven together (warp and weft) to form a very strong and durable fabric.
From this fabric, the body of the bulk bag is produced
There are several ways to produce the body of a bulk bag
U+2 Panel Bulk Bags
This type of bag construction involves using a single piece of fabric to form 2 sides and the base of the bag in a U shape. The two remaining sides are then sewn on to the U to form the bag body.
Four Panel Bulk Bags
As the name suggests this type of bulk bag is produced from 4 separate body panels that are individually sewn to each other. The base and top are then attached. This type of bag tends to hold its shape batter and is more stable when stacking.
Circular Woven Bulk Bags
The fabric for this bulk bag is produced in a tubular manner which is left uncut to form the body of the bulk bag. The base and top are then sewn on to the tubular fabric.
The benefit of this type of production is that there is no sewing required to form the bag sides, producing essentially a stronger and more cost effective bag.
The downside to a circular woven bag is that the sides of the bag tend to bow in a circular manner meaning the bags can overhang pallets and produce inefficiencies in transport costs.
How many times can I use a bulk bag?
Bulk bags can be made for either a single trip use or multi-trip use and this information is displayed on the safety label attached to the bag.
A safety factor of 5:1 indicates that the bulk bag is for single trip use only, which means the bag can be filled only once but lifted several times on its journey.
A safety factor of 6:1 indicates the bulk bag is for multi-trip use and can be emptied and refilled several times, making this bag more economical and environmentally friendly.
The safety label will also display the safe working load that the bag can carry for example, 1000kg. The label will also display details of the test house, certificate number and certificate date together with the bag manufacture date and batch number. All this information demonstrates the bag is tested to perform to a safe standard as well as providing full manufacture traceability about the production of the bulk bag.
Open Top Bulk Bags
The most basic form for filling a bulk bag is using a fully open top which is ideal for products like sand and aggregate, where the product can flow easily into the bag and it does not need to be protected from the elements.
Top Filling Spout Bulk Bags
Bulk bags can have a filling spout which can be attached and tied to a machine or hopper feeder pipe, this allows the product to be filled directly into the bag and tied off once complete.
The benefit of this method is that there is no spillage during filling or transport and your product is protected from the elements, contamination and dust.
Skirt / Duffle Top Bulk Bags
Skirt or duffle tops are an ideal way to fill bulk bags from a free flowing conveyor feed. The bag is effectively fully open on the top allowing maximum opportunity for materials to free fall and fill the bag.
The skirt is made from a lighter grade of fabric to the main body of the bulk bag and can be easily drawn together and bunch tied to stop the product from spilling during transportation and also to protect it from the elements and contamination.