As a bulk bag manufacturer and supplier that deals with a variety of customers, each having their own combination of products, processes and handling variables, it’s inevitable that we have experience investigating bulk bag failures. At times, the issue comes down to factors beyond our control and sometimes beyond our customers' control. Oftentimes, handling plays a major factor in bulk bag failure either directly or indirectly and it can be very difficult to pin down the root cause. Regardless of the scenario for your bulk bag failure, we’ve streamlined 8 key steps that will help you and your supplier get to the bottom of the issue quickly and efficiently to determine if it is, in fact, a quality issue and if so, how to gather the right information to expeditiously resolve the issue.
#1. Snap the Tag
First, and most importantly, snap a photo of the front and back of the bulk bag tag. This tag is should be sewn at the top of your bulk bag panel and should have the name of the supplying company, date of manufacture, country of origin, and other information such as item number, order number, project number, inspection data and other relevant quality information. Be sure to get both sides of this tag because an inspection stamp may appear lighter than the normal printed data so look closely for information you and your supplier will need. Close-up photos of key data will help narrow down the lot/batch, etc.
If you have secondary suppliers, or perhaps bought some bulk bags you found on clearance to tide you over until your next order came in, verifying the information on the tag will help ensure that you contact the supplier who provided you the FIBC. If your bulk bag has been going strong without issue but suddenly begins having FIBC failures, that may be an indicator that there could be a different bulk bag that may have gotten mixed in so check those tags carefully.
#2. Snap the Bag
Snap some high-quality pictures of the bulk bag failure as well as some full bag photos to allow for orientation. Get a close-up shot of the area where the bulk bag material was compromised or failed. Zoom in on any broken seams or webbing. Does the photograph capture discoloration, marks or other unexplained irregularities visible to the naked eye?
If bulk bag failure is a repeating issue, use your smartphone to take a video of your bulk bag in use throughout the filling and handling process and invite the supplier to your plant to observe the issue first-hand.
#3. Grab the bag!
Don’t throw the damaged bulk bag away! Hold on to the FIBC until you have sent your supplier a photo of the bulk bag label (from step 1) and they have confirmed that the bag came from them or their supply chain. Then, send the bag back to your supplier for testing and analysis. They can test the fabric weight and check the threading, sewing methods, and make various other observations to hone in on any deficiencies in the design, quality of the material used or the bulk bag’s manufacturing process.
#4. Photograph the Environment
If possible, take a photo of the bag at the time of damage or failure. Be sure to capture the surroundings. This step allows you and your supplier to observe any potential hazards that may have inadvertently caused damage to the FIBC. Again, taking a video of the filling and handling process could be very useful in this step.
#5. Grab Your Clipboard
Interview the material handlers, the production staff, the line operators and anyone who came in contact with the bulk bag during its use. Take notes and send this to your supplier.
Download our handy Bulk Bag Failure Reconnaissance Guide to help in this process:
#6. Handling & Storage Matter!
Take a photo of where and how your bulk bags are stored before and after filling. Are your filled bags being stored outside before sending to your end customer? If so, did they pick up moisture or additional weight that may compromise the bulk bag?
Verify that line operators and warehouse staff are handling your bulk bags per the instructions provided on the label and per FIBCA’s safe handling guidelines.
#7. Check Your Specs
Check the FIBC tag to ensure that you are using the correct bulk bag for the product being filled. Your tag won’t show all of the specifications, but should at least indicate the safe working load rated for your bulk bag as well as the dimensions of your FIBC. Did someone accidentally grab the wrong size bulk bag during production? It happens.
Once again, this is where saving the faulty bag is useful. If the problem isn’t obvious, your bulk bag supplier can check the bulk bag against its specifications more expertly and thoroughly.
#8. Protect Your Bag
Ensure your bulk bags are protected from possible rips, tears, or other snags from your production environment or the pallets you use. You can use protective sheets made from plastic, fabric, or corrugated material between stacked bags and especially between the bulk bag and pallet. Or, better yet, use special pallets designed specifically for stacking bulk bags to avoid damage from forklifts or tipping.
Learn more about our Firmaload bulk bag pallet here: https://www.conitex.com/bulk-bag-pallets
Nothing is better than observing and documenting a bulk bag failure issue in person. Photographs only tell part of the story. If you are working with a reputable supplier, they will very likely want to come to your plant or to your customer’s to do their own audit. Invite your bulk bag supplier to visit you or your customer to analyze the issue. They may not only uncover the issue related to the bag failure, but they may also offer design changes to improve efficiencies for the way your bag is handled, filled, discharged or stored. Read our blog about The Importance of Site Visits to Bulk Bag Design to understand more.
Tags: Flexible Packaging