The Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) tote has become the common term for the containers used in many different industries, both in America and now worldwide. IBC totes are portable bulk containers meeting the transportation and handling needs of many users of standard and custom chemicals, including corrosive and flammable solutions, a wide range of food and beverages, lubricants and dry solids including pharmaceuticals of various kinds, and even parts and sub-assemblies. These containers allow synthesis, transportation and storage in a safe and cost effective manner. IBC totes come in a wide range of sizes, but the most common size in use is the 275 gallon capacity, or in metric terms, the size of 1000 liters. As a close second, the 330 gallon size (1200 liters) is also used.
IBC totes are manufactured in a range of materials to cater for the particular requirements of myriad processes; from simple innocuous solution mixing and transportation or storage to chemically hazardous or flammable product, including shielding to preclude electromagnetic (EMI) or radio frequency interference (RFI). Available containers are manufactured from materials such as steel, either as sheet or wire, aluminum, a variety of plastics and stainless steel. The sheet steel types are strong, but have a tendency to corrode, whereas aluminum tends to damage easily with dents and so forth. Aluminum is resistant to oxidation, and, as with plastic, is lighter than the steels. Clearly wire totes tend to corrosion if not protectively coated but are extremely light to handle for appropriate applications like part storage or shipment. Finally, there are cardboard and wood totes that clearly offer lightness and ease of handling but there durability is questionable and may be used for once-off applications with an understood short life-span.
Plastic totes deserve a separate mention because of the differing characteristics they offer. For instance, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) offers a rigidity to the tote, giving dimensional stability and heat capability, but polypropylene (PP) gives much better resistance to the weathering and cracking from outside storage. Polyvinyl chloride is a great alternative to stainless steel in offering a chemically inert container that is also corrosion resistant. There are a considerable range of sizes available, though if cost is a consideration, then it would be better to work with the common size of 275 gallons, available more readily as new or even possibly re-usable ones. In fact, these and the smaller varieties are ideal for shipping or transportation, and are also stackable for efficient handling and storage.
Similarly, with the wide range of possible applications where IBC totes may be used, they can be fitted with various types of equipment and facilities including ball valves for controlled filling, taps for controlled discharge, different material linings for particular chemical solutions or mixes; even simply adaptations such as hinged lids for ease of access. Clearly, IBC totes can be employed in the main stream process or batch, and also for possible storage or containment of by- or waste-products from the process, ultimately allowing transportation for disposal in an ecological and environmentally friendly way. One can also find IBC totes that are specifically made to allow mechanical handling, and fitted with handles for human handling.
Often times IBC which are used to store liquids, will need agitation and blending to provide bulk mixing or resuspension of solids that settle to the bottom of the container.
For an overview visit our tote mixer page. and if you need help choosing the right mixer for the job you can visit our Mixer Selection Center.
Some of the more common mixing application we see for IBC Totes is polymer make up and blending, biodiesel mixing, blending of coatings and inks, mixing paint in containers, mix the solids off the tote bottom, and simple blending of liquids prior to packaging to assure uniformity.