When you’re evaluating a bulk bag and how it works for your company, what are some of your expectations?
On some level, they may be relatively basic:
- You want your bulk bag to hold things effectively, of course.
- It will need to stack neatly together with other bags of the same specs. Preferably, the bulk bag should provide your product with some protection from the elements.
- And, ideally, you don’t want that bag to release all of its contents when it’s toppled over (as sometimes happens during the course of their being handled and transported).
If your company works with hazardous materials—for example, if you work in the chemical industry—this may be a requirement. To help you feel completely sure that your bulk bags will perform as required, you can choose to purchase bags that are UN certified.
This certification means, among other things, that a bulk bag has passed a series of tests. These include the tear test, the drop test, the righting test, and the vibration test.
Today, we’re shining a spotlight on one of the more difficult trials a bulk bag undergoes to achieve UN certification: the topple test.
Evaluating the safety and efficacy of UN-certified bulk bags: What’s the topple test?
The topple test is one evaluation used to determine how effectively a bulk bag contains a potentially hazardous material during a fall that can happen in everyday use (e.g., a topple). The test itself is quite simple: The bag is filled to maximum safe capacity, placed on a platform, and toppled over.
There are a few specific considerations that determine the specific testing conditions and environment, such as the height of the platform, but the general gist is simple. If the bag doesn’t burst or leak, it passes the test.
If there is slight discharge from stitch holes or closures upon impact, that’s not usually considered a failure of the topple test; what testing facilitators are looking for is a significant breach of the bag.
How to Help Bulk Bags Pass the Topple Test
When FIBC bulk bag manufacturers design bags meant for UN certification, they make sure the bag is ready to undergo all requisite testing. To prepare a bag for the topple test (or to update a bag that may require retesting), manufacturers can increase the fabric weight of the top of the bag.
In the packaging industry, this is often referred to as increasing the top fabric GSM or increasing the grams per square meter of the fabric lining the top. This strengthens both the fabric and the seams along the top of the bag, preventing rips as the bag moves and settles during a fall.
There are other ways to help a bag pass the topple test if needed. For example, in some circumstances, manufacturers may include a band around the top perimeter of the bulk bag for added structural support. However, strengthening the top fabric is effective and is usually a sufficient step.
Get the facts you need to fuel confidence in your bulk bags.
The topple test is just one of several tests required for UN certification, and, thinking larger than that, it’s only one part of a much bigger picture. Creating high-quality certified bags at scale requires keen attention to detail and specific expertise.
If you’re ready to partner with a packaging company that can supply you with reliable, precisely engineered bulk bags, you need to prioritize working with a manufacturer who knows what they’re doing.
Asking the right questions of your prospective manufacturer up front can save you trouble later! When you’re interviewing bulk bag manufacturers, ask about:
- Their testing procedures
- Their certifications
- The documentation they have surrounding testing
A bulk bag manufacturer with transparent processes and trusted documentation can give you a steady supply of great bags and complete certainty that you’re getting the right product for your needs!
Sonoco provides trusted, durable, and topple-ready bulk bags when you need them.
A significant amount of testing, thought, and technical prowess goes into making sure that your bulk bags are strong and completely ready for rigorous use.
When you’re sourcing smart, sustainable bulk bags uniquely suited to and certified for your specific application, it’s key to know that your manufacturer is completing all of the right tests to get you performance-ready bulk bags.
Sonoco’s team of materials scientists and packaging experts is ready to get you the information you need to feel confident in your packaging strategy. Connect with our team to learn more about what we can do for you, and, in the meantime, subscribe to our blog for timely insights and relevant information.