How clean do you need your IBC’s to be?

Food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and speciality chemicals manufacturing and packaging businesses use our IBC containers and liquid liners as bag-in-box system. A safer, cleaner and more cost effective way to store or deliver their products.

Discharging Viscous Products - The TPS IBC Container Sump Base

The Unifold™ 1000 is designed for heavy, thick liquids, viscous products that are difficult to discharge in conventional IBC containers.

The conic bottom which is sloping by 166 degrees for optimum discharge.

This IBC can be easily and quickly assembled by just one person and it packs flat for return transport and storage.

Stacking IBC Containers - when not in use or for return transport

A folding IBC like the Unifold 1000 can be stacked 12 high when empty and 5 high when full.

That's a 6:1 ratio compared with a rigid IBC when folded and 5:1 ratio when full.

The Unifold 1000 is designed to be more robust in order to carry the weight when stacked full of product.

Why use a folding IBC?

Rigid containers are by far the most popular IBC's, mainly because they are UN approved for hazardous goods. A major advantage if this applies to your products.

Folding IBC containers offer the benefit of being easier and safer to stack and store. Whether full or empty. They can also be transported in larger quantities when folded than in comparison with a rigid IBC.

The performance of a Rigid IBC Container when compared with a folding IBC Container will depend on the use or application.

Folding IBC's are used with liquid and dry goods. Raw materials, parts, components and finished products can be moved in these IBC's.

250 litre IBC's

The growth of IBC containers has been dramatic over the last 20 years. Today they are used in most industries.

The most popular size by far is the 1000 litre container, followed in much smaller quantities by the 500 and 250 litre versions of a similar product.

For many manufacturers 1000 litres is greater than they need. So times are changing and the smaller sizes are becoming increasingly popular. Some produce high value products in smaller quantities than 1000 litres. Space and access can also be issues where a 250 litre container is more suitable.

A popular reason for switching from other types of containers to 250 Litre IBC's is safety. They are simply easier to move safely than most other types of container that are not designed to perform as an IBC, whether using a powered forklift or hand pushed or stacker forklift.

Combining a 250 litre IBC container with a bag-in-box liquid liner means that they are easier to clean, to ensure product integrity and minimise product residue.

They are available in steel and plastic. A credible alternative to drums.

Filling and Discharging

IBC Containers can be filled from the top or bottom - with the liner bag being discharged at the bottom.

The best method of controlled discharging will depend upon the contents and how thick or viscous it is.

The image to the left demonstrates the TPS Rental Systems Wringer tool.

This hand powered device is turned by the operator to squeeze the liner as the contents are discharged from the bottom of the liquid liner bag and container.

Sump Base IBC Container

Another alternative that has been developed for a controlled discharge includes the Sump Base Container.

The sump base container is sloping by 166 degrees for optimum discharge. It can be easily and quickly assembled by just one person and it packs flat for return transport and storage.

Viscous Products a New Way of Discharging IBC Containers

Some products can be highly viscous and difficult to discharge. This can lead to expensive product waste.

The TPS Easiflow System safely discharges more of the product in a bag-in-box liner. Using a Unifold 1000 litre IBC container it is easy to operate.

The Easiflow can be used for many different types of viscous products and has the potential to deliver substantial cost and efficiency savings for valuable ingredients and finished products.

Bag-in-box Liquid Liners

Using a liquid liner to protect your product and keep your containers clean and ready for reuse, will save you time and money.

TPS Rental Systems liner bags are manufactured using a range of different films to suit the purpose and ingredients being stored within the IBC Container. Benefits of using a bag-in-box system include:

  • Reducing IBC Container cleaning costs
  • Filling and discharging to achieve maximum yield
  • Protecting the finished product or ingredients against oxygen, moisture and cross-contamination

Cleaning containers using chemicals and water is an expensive way of using an IBC. Liquid liners ensure that the product is held within clean and sterile packaging every time the container is used. Aseptic liners in a variety of sizes are used for food products, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and speciality chemicals. These liners must be combined with the correct filling and discharge valves, glands and accessories. More information is available from the TPS website by clicking here.

Intermediate Bulk Containers

IBC’s are primarily reusable containers, designed for the storage and transportation of liquids, ingredients or components in volume. For example; Coatings & Adhesives, Cosmetics and Toiletries, Dairy Products, Drinks, Food Additives, Food Ingredients and Flavourings, Hazardous and Non-hazardous Chemicals, Ink, Oils and Paints, Medical and Pharmaceutical Products and Water.

IBC Containers are also used to ship components, ingredients and finished products internationally.

Companies like TPS Rental Systems have the ability to provide a complete shipping, storage and return service, with digitised tracking systems for monitoring the containers.

The range of IBC Containers on the market include:

  • Bag-in-box containers using a liquid liner
  • Cardboard or One Trip Containers, palletised containers
  • Diesel storage UN approved IBC's
  • Folding containers made from steel, stainless steel or plastic
  • Rigid (bottle in a cage) containers
  • Rigid stainless steel containers or vessels

Other names for the Intermediate Bulk Container include IBC Tote, IBC Box, Pallet Containers, Pallecons, Pallet Tanks and Unifold.

Using IBC Containers

IBC’s are designed to be a more cost effective, safer and easier to use alternative to smaller containers, buckets, pails, totes or drums.

A single person can move one ton of product using a forklift jack to lift and carry the IBC.

This can be extremely beneficial within the manufacturing environment or when moving containers in a supply chain.

Storing and Stacking IBC Containers

Both folding and rigid containers can be stacked whether they are full or empty. The number of containers that can be stacked does vary, depending on the IBC specifications and construction. For example the Unifold 1000 IBC Container can be stacked 12 high when folded and 5 high when erected.

When space is at a premium having the option to fold or stack more containers when full can be an advantage.

The Unifold 1000 IBC 1000 litre IBC Container has for example a maximum static load capacity of 10 tonnes. The Unifold 500 litre IBC Container has a static load capacity of 5 tonnes. This IBC can also be stacked 5 high when full and 12 high when folded and empty.

IBC Container Sizes

1000 litre (265 gallon) IBC’s are by far the most popular size, replacing the equivalent of 4 drums and many pails, smaller containers or bottles.

Other sizes include 1250L, 1040L as well as smaller 500L and 250 litre containers. Some companies offer bespoke sizes that are designed for high value contents or to operate within manufacturing environments with limited space.

The 500 litre Slim IBC Container is a good example of this. This one piece IBC Container is ideal for when there is limited space within a processing area.

Smaller IBC’s are also becoming more popular. Available in sizes as small as 250 litres, having the same forklift pockets as the larger versions makes these containers easier and safer to manoeuvre into position than drums.

For some processors, 1000 litres is too large for what is required. 500 litre, 250 litre steel, plastic or stainless steel IBC’s offer a flexible alternative.

Sustainability and The Environment - IBC Containers

Cleaning and water use, product residue and waste is becoming more of an issue and focus.

Increasingly industrial and logistics companies are looking for more cost efficient and sustainable forms of packaging and container.

Reusable packaging combining IBC Containers and liner bags can also reduce operational costs.

The best type of container will be the one that is most suited to your application.

Folding containers are not suitable for use with hazardous chemicals. Whether you should use a rigid or folding IBC will depend on your environment and requirements.

Comparing both systems, the ease of use, safety, sustainability, operational, cleaning and residual waste with lifetime costs will demonstrate the best solution for your needs.

IBC Containers and Liquid Liners

Bag-in-box systems combine a folding IBC container with a liquid liner. The benefits of these products include:

  • Saving money through how the container is used
  • Reducing the risk of product contamination and subsequent losses
  • Increasing product yield when discharging the contents
  • Cleaning and waste cost reductions
  • Providing end users, the container recipient with a more flexible and efficient way of discharging and using the liquid or finished product inside the container

Some companies also provide containers with security fixings that show when a container has been tampered with or damaged in some way. This can be particularly relevant if the ingredients are being used within the food, pharmaceutical or cosmetics industries. High value ingredients may also require additional security and protection.

Heated IBC Containers

The integrity of a product can be maintained within an IBC through heating as the image below demonstrates.

Some IBC’s use a heated jacket or base plate, for example the heater mat system offered by TPS Rental Systems. The TPS IBC heating system consists of two main components, a silicone rubber heater mat and an electronic temperature control system.

Micro Breweries

Many micro breweries are moving to bag-in-box container systems to help free up mixing and blending vessels for other products.

Safely use and reuse these containers by adding an affordable, disposable TPS liquid liner.

Combining high performance liners and IBCs as a bag-in box system will increase your supply chain efficiencies and reduce your costs.

The container can also be used to ship finished goods direct to bottling plants if required, with the containers being collected by TPS after use eliminating handling issues.

Free up your blending vessels for other types of products by using TPS containers to store on site or keep semi finished products until bottling is needed.

Benefits of using a bag-in-box system include:

  • Protection against oxygen, moisture and cross-contamination
  • Saving on all freight and storage costs
  • Saving on water, cleaning and disposal costs
  • Using clean and sterile liners every time
  • Easy filling and discharging

TPS provide over 50 different liner bag-in-box variations, steel IBC's in 250ltr, 500ltr and 1000ltr capacities.

Find out how IBC containers and liquid liners can add value to your brewery.


Jason Thurbon
TPS Rental Systems Ltd
Mobile: 07967652229
Telephoine: 01299 253535.
skype - jason.thurbon.tps