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FIBC stands for Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container. They are more commonly known as bulk bags. The packages are classified as intermediate containers because of their size; typically having filled weights between about 500 and 4000 pounds. Bulk bags are not small enough to be moved easily by hand, howevernot large enough to be classified as a full bulk container, such as a truckload or railcar. FIBCs were originally developed in Europe in the 1970’s, but were widely adopted thereafter in the Americas and other developing industrial nations. Use of FIBCs today permeates nearly all industries, wheredry bulk solids are handled including food, chemicals, and even pharmaceuticals.
Ohter names for FIBCs are bulk bags, totes, tote bags, super sacks, jumbo bags, big bags, ton bags, or FIBC bag.
The most common material used in FIBC construction is 100% virgin polypropylene, petroleum based product which is a tough relatively inert thermoplastic.
Woven polypropylene is made from extruded polypropylene resin, which is made from petroleum feedstock.
Yes, many types of polyethylene bulk bag liners are used to line the interior of an FIBC. Other more exotic materials include polyamide (nylon), various metallic foils, carbon infused plastics, polyester, and more.
Bulk bags come in many different sizes and styles,and can be customized into almost any 3 dimensional size possible for your product. There are limits to the sizes, but a standard bulk bag base dimension is 35" x 35”, while the height of a bulk bag can range up to 96” plus inches tall. Again, the size and dimensions of bulk bags are determined by safety, functionality, and usability by the customer.
SWL is an abbreviation for safe working load. A bulk bag's safe working load is the amount of weight that the bag is rated and tested to hold safely.
A standard bulk bag is rated at a 5:1 Safety Factor Ratio as per ISO 21898 norms, which means that the bag is specified to hold 5 times the amount of the bags safe working load. A 5:1 Safety Ratio is for single use or single trip bags. Bags that are designed for multi-use or multi-trip bags are made with an increased SF ratio. The SF for a multi-trip bag is 6:1.
UVI stands for Ultraviolet Inhibitor, which is an additive that is added to the resin during the extrusion process. Itassists in protecting the bulk bag from the harmful effects of UV rays, protecting it from degrading and becoming unstable and unsafe.
Yes, however, bulk bags will degrade as a result of UV exposure. A standard bulk bag has a UV inhibitor added into the fabric at the manufacturing level. Manufacturers add enough UV inhibitor to resist UV rays for approximately 1600 hours. Although this is dependent upon where the actual bag is located and what type of weather conditions, sometimes extreme, can happen in this region.UV rays vary in strength and degree in different parts of the world.Therefore, storing bulk bags outside is not recommended, but we do realize that it happens.
There are many common types of FIBCs available in the market place. The most commonly used bulk bags are constructed in the U Panel or Circular configuration and might incorporate a simple PE liner or no liner at all. Much of how bulk bags are referred to has to do with their construction, i.e., 4 Panel, U Panel, Circular, or their application, such as Type B, or Baffle Bags.
By Fabric Electrostatic Classification
A U-Panel bag requires 2 seams along 2 opposite sides to create 2 panels and a "U" Panel shape. This style of bulk bag has become the industry standard in the United States.
Circular bags are made from fabric that has been woven on a circular loom. The fabric is woven into a continuous tube of fabric and then cut to the correct size height. The tubular body design is ideal as a linerless option for fine materials. It is also an excellent alternative to the original four panel bag construction. Capacity is up to 4000 lbs.
A four panel bag is the original polypropylene design. This design requires seams along four separate pieces of fabric sewn to create a four panel bag. Capacity is up to 4400 lbs.
Baffles are pieces of fabric that are sewn to the inside corners of a bag to maintain its cube shape after filling. The baffles have holes that allow the product to flow freely through them. The baffles also prevent the bag from bulging, which makes the bag stand up straight and in turn allows the bags to be more efficient in their use of space. Net and tie baffles are another type of baffle option, but not as common.
UN Certification is a testing certification done by an independent testing facility that put the specified bulk bag through a set of rigorous test, i.e. drop test, topple test, and top lift test.
Usually 1 year from testing, but certain test houses will certify a bag for up to 3 years.
Our UN certified bulk bag stock is stored primarily fora fewof our customers. These bulk bags are tested by a certified third party testing facility. If the bag passes the test requirements, it is issued a specific UN Certification number, which is associated specifically to that bag. The UN number is specific to that particular bag being filled with a specific product, and tested for a specific packing group. The UN number has an expiration date, giving the bag a shelf life for usage.
FIBC's can be used more than once if you have a bag with a 6:1 SF. Some users reuse a FIBC with a 5:1 SF but this is not recommended! If you reuse a FIBC with a 5:1 SF you have to take into consideration that the fabric might be worn down or the loops could be breaking down, etc. If you plan on using a bag more than once it is recommended that you custom order it with a 6:1 SF.
Yes, bulk bags can be reused. This requires a multi-trip bulk bag, which is made with a 6:1 Safety Factor. This type of bag is designed to be used for a specific amount of uses. Some users reuse bulk bags with a 5:1 safety factor. In fact it is a common occurrence. We do not recommend this practice, as reusability must also take into consideration the reality that the bag may be worn, have a small hole in the fabric, the loops could be unstable, etc. Reuse of a 5:1 SF bulk bag, which covers the majority of bulk bags seen in the market, is NOT recommended. Global-Pak, Inc. does not guarantee a certain number of uses for a 6:1 safety factor multi-trip bulk bag. We recommend inspection in between uses and retiring a bag with any tears, rips, abrasions, etc. An additional bag tag is included for tracking usage if a bag is approved for further use after inspection. Global-Pak does not recommend using any bag more than 10 times.
Yes, new bulk bags are made from 100% virgin polypropylene. See our FIBC recycling program page.
A type "A" bag is constructed from non-treated insulating fabric. No requirements are specified for type "A" bulk bag as they are not intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. No static protection.
A type "B" bag is constructed from insulating fabric but has a breakdown voltage less than 6kV. This provision prevents the risk of energetic propagating brush discharges which can ignite dust-air mixture. Type "B" bags may be used in the presence of the combustible dusts with MIE of greater than 3mj but in the absence of flammable vapors of gases. Low breakdown voltage.
A type "C" bag is constructed from fabrics having inter-connected conductive threads. The bag must be electrically grounded during filling and emptying.
A type "D" bag is constructed from antistatic fabric that includes static dissipative, like Crohmiq type bulk bag. This type of bulk bag does not require grounding.
Crohmiq is a brand name of a static dissipative fabric patented by Texene Packaging Fabrics. Only a few bulk bag manufacturers in the world have the ability to produce this type of Crohmiq fabric. Ask your Global-Pak representative for a quote today.
A standard fill spout is a spout with a 14" diameter opening in the top (center) of the bag and is usually 18" long. It's designed to allow the user to fill the bag, minimizing dust occurrences as the bag is being filled. The length of a standard fill spout is 18" long. Spouts can be customized to fit any individual application.
A duffel top is typically a 30" high "skirt" sewn to the top of a bulk bag. The duffel usually comes with a tie allowing the user to secure the duffel closed and at the same time allowing the user full access to the product.
The main difference between the duffel top and open top is the duffel itself. An open top bag is simply a bulk bag without a top closure, keeping the product exposed.
A variation of an inlet, where the top is a pyramid shape to allow over filling of the bulk bag. This is also called a conical top.
Bulk bags are lifted byone of several types of lifting applications. Some examples are standard 10" lift loops, lifting sleeves, single point crane lift, and stevedore straps. There are other designs that are made to lift bulk bags as well. Lifting options can vary and are all custom-tailored, i.e. 15" lift loops.
Lift loops are the means by which a forklift raises the bag with its forks. In other words, woven polypropylene and multifilament yarn loops attached to the 4 top corners of the bulk bag to enable a fork truck operator to put the fork in and lift the bag. Standard lift loops are 10" but can be customized to any workable size.
A lifting sleeve is a tube of polypropylene fabric used as a lifting application, designed to allow the forks of a forklift to fit into the sleeves and lift the bag.
Yes, however you must use a special lifting device or loops specifically designed for a crane lift. You must follow the correct manufacturer recommendations when lifting a bulk bag.
It is a belt connecting either two adjacent lift loops, or two adjacent belt sewn portions, used for single point lifting. A belt or strap is usually flat, while a rope is braided.
The measure of the fabric weight in ounces or GSM
Fabric weights are directly related to the amount of product that the bulk bag will be holding or the safe working load (SWL) of the bulk bag. The higher SWL bag will in most cases have a heavier fabric weight.
U.S. scale used to measure fabric weight in ounces per square yard.
GSM is a commonly used scale for fabric weight used internationally. It stands for grams per square meter.
1 oz. is equal to 34 GSM
The weight of yarn in grams per 9000 meters.
A fold and sew, or glue/tape operation, which prevents fraying of cut fabric and will add lift strength and seam strength to each bag. This also provides a clean finish to the FIBC. It may be either towards the inside or outside of the bag.
A sew line made by the attachment/assembly of two or more components.
There are several styles of stitching used when sewing a bulk bag. Chain (safety) and over lock stitching are two of the most common styles used. Chain style stitching is series of looped stitches forming a chain-like pattern. Over lock style stitching sews over the edge of two pieces of fabric. Many manufacturers use this style of stitching to assure a tight seam, which assists in reducing sift, occurrences. Global-Pak's standard style of stitching is this chain and over lock or sometimes referred to as safety and over lock stitching.
Typically a polypropylene material used in manufacturing sift-resistant FIBCs. A rope or braided yarn like cord that is sewn into a seam to help prevent the escape of fine dusts and powders.
Sift proofing is designed to prevent product from leaking out of the bag. Since a bulk bag (FIBC) is a woven product, sewn together, there is the possibility of product leaking out of seams and areas where the bag has been sewn. Sift proofing or anti-sift sewing is a method of using a felt or a spongy type yarn in the sewing process. The sewing operator feeds the sift cord along the seam of the bulk bag while sewing. The sift cord fills in the areas near the needle hole in the seam. When using felt as a sift resistant material, the felt is sewn either along with the threaded seam or in between the fabric panels. There are many ways to utilize sift proofing, these are some of the ways that sift proofing has been used to prevent product from sifting out of the seams.
Woven polypropylene is breathable. Air and water will flow through an uncoated bulk bag. For applications that require a great deal of breathability, some use a ventilated bulk bag.
No, because a bulk bag's fabric is made from a woven material, so the bag is not technically "water proof", but it can be water resistant by adding a moisture barrier component. Users generally want a coating or lamination as a moisture barrier from condensation or a light amount of water. The use of an internal polyethylene liner works best in many applications, but is still not 100% water proof. Liners and lamination are designed to keep water away from the product. The difference between using a bulk bag with coating/lamination or using a bulk bag with PE liner is in the amount of moisture that you are trying to keep out of the product. For more specific requirements, such as oxygen barrier, co-extruded, or liquid liners, we suggest a specialized liner.
A common type of "coating" would be a 1 mil. (30 GSM) lamination of heated semi-clear polypropylene, which is bonded to the fabric. Interior coating is most common in U-Panel style of bags, while circular/tubular bulk bags most commonly have exterior coating.
Yes, liners can be inserted loosely or attached to the bag as well. There are different types of liners for different applications, but the main two are tube liners and form fit liners.
Yes, we can supply you with several types of liners. Form fit liners, tabbed liners, oxygen/moisture barrier liners, liquid liners, foil liners, and more.
Designed to take the exact shape of the bulk bag. Form fitted liners will allow improved filling and complete discharging of product. Unlike a basic “tube liner”, these form fit liners offer a flat top and bottom and incorporate a spout diameter and length to best compliment the FIBCs fill and discharge spouts. These spouts can also be heat sealed closed for added sanitation and protection. Form fit liners are available in a variety of standard and co-extruded polyethylene’s, including barrier and anti-static features. Form fit liners can be affixed permanently to the FIBC by gluing or sewn tabs or can be designed to be easily removed from the FIBC with ties on the tabs.
Bulk bags are usually emptied by a discharge spout, which is a woven tube that is attached to the bottom of the bulk bag. Usually the discharge spout is tucked inside a closure on the bottom of the bag. There are two main style of closures referred to as star or pajama; the most common and recommended being a pajama closure. The closure is designed to protect the spout and to prevent the product from sifting out of the discharge before its intended discharge. Discharge spouts can be customized with specific sizes and closures.
A B-Lock is a spout accessory designed to assist in the closure to the spout. It is a quick and easy way to close a spout, manually regulating the flow of product. The device locks quickly and easily, and replaces the normal tie usually sewn to a spout. A B-Lock with remote release can be added to a bulk bag so it can be emptied at a safe distance in certain circumstances.
A closure device to hold the rope or cord in place on the spout. This type of closure device is typically used on the discharge spout. They come in a variety of sizes and eliminate the need for hand tied knots.
A conical discharge many times is designed to help in the flow of discharge of the product in a bulk bag. Many times, depending on the type of product being filled into a bulk bag, the product does not flow well when discharging and the product tends to pile up in the corners of the bag which creates issues for the person discharging. Sometimes the user has to shake or tap the bag to assist in the flow. The conical discharge is a design that tapers the bottom of the bag into a discharge, which essentially eliminates a bottom panel of the bulk bag. When the bulk bag is lifted, all of the product flows into the cone and makes the product flow easily.
A perimeter band is a band sewn around the outside perimeter of the top of a bag, which is designed to give extra strength to loops when lifting.
Typically documents are attached by use of a document pouch, which is usually a 12” x 12” polyethylene bag sewn to the top seam of the bulk bag. A document pouch can have zip lock opening, or a standard opening and can be sewn where the users prefers.
Yes, bulk bags can be printed. Usually the printing is on the side panels of the bag. Print colors are usually one, two, or three colors, but we have the capability to print with more colors. We can also print custom logos.
The standard fabric color is white; however, we can make specific colored fabric. Colored fabric is considered a special order and has minimum requirements.
In order to accurately determine the correct size, you will need to consider some of the following items: bulk density of a product, filling and discharging spatial requirements, shipping and storage requirements.
Bulk density is the property of the product that you are filling into the bulk bag. It is the mass of the product divided by the volume it occupies. The volume includes the space between particles as well as the space inside the pores of individual particles.
Cubic measurements take all three dimensions into consideration - width, length, and height. This will tell you the volume of a given area. To calculate the number of cubic feet in a given space, multiply the length by the width by the height.
No, you must also consider the expansion or stretch of the bulk bag fabric when bag is filled.
Click to download the GLOBAL-PAK CUBIC FOOT CAPACITY CALCULATOR
Download a list of materials and their bulk densities, particle size, moisture content, flowability, and abrasiveness. Or, click to view the bulk densities, particle size, moisture content, flowability, and abrasiveness list on our website.
Determine your desired total weight and divide by the bulk density of your product to calculate cubic foot capacity needed.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, or HAACP, is a systematic preventive guideline to food safety. HACCP is used in the food industry to identify potential food safety hazards, where actions, known as Critical Control Points (CCP's) can be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk of the hazards occurring. Our manufacturers have HACCP plans in place for manufacturing bulk bags.
No, our company is not ISO certified, as an importer and distributor of bulk bags we do not have an ISO certificate, however, our manufacturer that makes the bulk bags is ISO certified. ISO 9001:2000
A bulk bag in and of itself is not certified by ISO; however, the manufacturing factory has been audited and achieved an ISO certification.
International Organization for Standardization, which are international standards and specifications for quality assurance.
Bulk bags are traceable by lot numbers given at the time of manufacturing. Each bag has a specific lot number associated with its manufacturing date and lot.
Bulk Bag costs vary and are dependent on a variety of design and specification requirements. Since the product is made from polypropylene resin, which is made from petroleum, the price fluctuates with the crude oil market. As polymer prices rise and fall so do the prices of bulk bags.
That depends on several different factors including, but not limited to availability, production, and transit times. For stock bags, we can ship the same day depending on what time the order is placed. In most cases if the order is placed before noon the order can be shipped the same day. Likewise, if the order is placed in the afternoon, then the bags will ship the following day. For custom made bags that are imported from overseas, the lead times are usually 10-12 weeks. Bags made in North America the lead times are usually 6-8 weeks. Lead times can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Since we are importers, we try to give the best estimate and we do everything we can to expedite the process.
Patching a bulk bag is possible, but not recommended, and solely at the users discretion and risk.
We cannot provide a MSDS for a bulk bag, but we can provide an MSDS for the resin used to make the fabric of a bulk bag.
Typically, FIBCs are filled from the top through an inlet spout, duffel top or open top. Discharging typically occurs through the bottom of the bag via outlet spout, full bottom discharge, or the bag is cut open. Fill and discharge processes can range from simple manual operations to fully automated systems. Please consult with an experienced FIBC expert when designing a new process or if you feel you need help in this area. We have a very experienced sales and technical team to advise you, as well as contacts in the industry who can further assist with getting the right equipment for your operation.
Empty FIBCs are usually stored on pallets and may be covered with a simple poly cover and stretch wrap, for example. FIBC pallets from Global-Pak Inc. can usually be stacked at least two high, but are best stored on space saving racking systems off of the ground. Steps should be taken to ensure they are kept dry and protected from other harsh elements, chemical environments, or other areas where they may be cut or damaged. Depending on bulk density and flow characteristics of the product, some bags may stack easily after filling. We recommend using the pyramid stacking technique to decrease stress on the bottom bags which can prevent seams from splitting, leaking, etc. Other products having light bulk densities may not stack well. It may be important to consider the environment in which the bags are stored and possibilities of moisture transferring into your product. Please consult with our team if you have any questions about storage of your filled bulk bags.
Depending on their contents, bulk bags can be transported by most normal means of industrial transportation including truck (enclosed or sometimes open trailer), rail, ship, or even air. With almost any bulk bag application, it is important to consider all of the final characteristics of the filled package including weight, shape, bulk density, and package design. In most cases, it is highly beneficial to ensure that the bag is filled to maximum possible capacity (ideally greater than 90%) before transporting the package, and as much air as possible is removed from the bag through a vibration or similar mechanism. A bag that is not properly “densified” contains a higher amount of air and is more unstable, thus creating a high risk of material shift and possibly package failure, which can be very dangerous. Again, please consult with an expert if you have any questions.
Most common designs of FIBCs have a very long shelf life of more than five years. However, the common construction materials used in the production of FIBCs do have the potential to exhibit creep or stress relaxation over time. This means that the packages may not act as originally designed if stored for very long times or if they are exposed to more harsh storage environments with elevated temperatures, humidity swings, etc. Some FIBCs, such as those that contain special chemical coatings, may in fact have relatively short shelf lives due to the chemical breakdown of that coating. This includes some designs of antistatic liners and even the FIBC fabrics themselves. It is important to ask the shelf life question if you are considering using antistatic packages or have electro statically sensitive environments.
The short answer is yes. Some FIBCs are designed to be used in these environments. These bags are called Type C or Type D and they differ in how they protect against dangerous static discharges. Please consult other information on this site or with a trusted expert in the area for a more thorough explanation.
Call Global-Pak, Inc. at 1(888)225-9828 and talk to a customer service or sales representative to determine which of the following best suits your needs for your product:
There are a number of things that we would recommend you consider when evaluating an FIBC supplier. Below is just a list to get you started.