It’s a fact - when choosing the right FIBC bulk bag for your product, it’s important to consider the fine details. Along with the size of the bags, you have to identify the right fabric type and weight, coated or uncoated, liner perhaps, and extra accessories before moving forward with a bulk bag order. We understand that all of these customization options can be overwhelming. That’s why we put this article together; to help you learn how to pick the best FIBC bulk bags for your business.
Size Matters in Bulk Bags
The first consideration when choosing the right bulk bag is the dimensions. However, you need more than just the length or width of your product. For selecting an FIBC bulk bag, here’s what you’ll need to know:
- Product weight per cubic foot
- Pallet size for storing and transporting the bulk bags
To determine the right size for your bulk bag, start with the bulk weight per cubic foot of the product you are packaging. For example, let’s say you have a feed product. If your feed weighs 40 pounds per cubic foot, and want to ship or store 2,000 pounds of feed in bulk bags, you will divide 2,000 by 40. That would tell you that you need a 50 cubic ft. capacity bulk bag.
Next, you would look at your pallet size to determine the footprint and the height of the bulk bag. Let’s look back at our feed example - you need a 50 cubic ft. capacity to hold 2,000 pounds of feed. With a 42 by 42” pallet, you would need a 35 by 35” footprint bulk bag, and the height should be 56” tall. This can feel daunting to determine without help from the professionals, so make sure to work with your bulk bag provider for assistance.
Choosing a Fabric Type and Weight
There are essentially four fabric types - Type A, B, C, and D. Type A bulk bags are composed of calcium carbonate, polypropylene, and a UV additive. These are the standard bulk bag, but cannot be used for combustible materials.
Type B bulk bags are also made from polypropylene. The difference is in how they prevent sparks. The reason they do not spark is because of a thin coating on the fabric.
Type C fabric bags are comprised of carbon filament. Due to the material, these bags have to be grounded when filling or moving them. Unlike Type A bags, these bulk bags can be used to transport flammable powders.
And finally, there are Type D bulk bags. These bags are made with an antistatic fabric and don’t require grounding.
On top of picking a fabric type for your bulk bag, you’ll also need to consider the fabric weight. There are three standard weights - 5 oz., 6 oz., and 8 oz. Depending on the weight the bulk bag needs to hold will dictate the fabric weight needed. A knowledgeable bulk bag supplier can help you make the right choice.
Filling and Emptying the Bulk Bag
Now that you’ve determined the size, think about how you are going to fill your bulk bags. Will the bulk bags need to be hooked up to a machine to be filled? If so, what shape and size does the spout need to be? There are multiple styles for the top of bulk bags to accommodate your filling need, including:
- Standard fill spout
- Cone top with fill spout
- Duffel top
- Open top
Once you have a better understanding of your top design style needs, you’ll also need to think about how the bulk bag will be emptied. Will the product be discharged into consumer packaging? Or will the product be used for further processing? Some bottom design options include:
- Spout bottom
- Flat bottom
- Tie-open bottom
Not sure which top or bottom design to go with? Check out the diagram on our FIBC Bulk Bags page under “Top Design Options” and “Bottom Design Options”. Keep in mind - along with better serving your customer with optimal packaging, you also need to ensure that your product will be shippable and easily transferable into consumer packaging.
Coating and Lining Materials
The product you are packaging will determine whether you need a fabric that is uncoated or coated. Uncoated fabrics allow for air and moisture (and some fine powders) to pass through the weave of the fabric.
If you are concerned with the use of uncoated fabric and the exposure to air or moisture for your product, rest easy. Our coated bulk bags feature a woven polypropylene with lamination on the inside. This lamination prevents moisture or powders from leaking through the fabric.
Some products may require a liner to be incorporated into the bulk bag as a moisture vapor barrier. A liner works to retain oil or moisture in the FIBC—or to block moisture out. There are many styles and types of liners depending on the needs of your product. An FIBC supplier with technical expertise can help you determine the best option to protect your product during transport.
Additional Bulk Bag Features
There are multiple added features and accessories you can include with your bulk bag selections. Features can include, but are not limited to:
- Color-coded lift loops
- Document pouches
- Logo printing
- Various locks
Color-coded lift loops are a great way to identify product lines, features, or items for specific clients. Document pouches are another way to identify the products being transported in the bulk bags, as well as display any other pertinent information, such as shipping details, required documentation for safety, etc.
Another customization option to consider for your bulk bags is whether or not you would like them to be printed with a logo or product information. The printing can be either on one side or two sides, depending on your needs.
One other accessory that you may want to include are locks. There are multiple varieties, such as B-locks, side lock closures, and discharge chutes with plastic locks. A bulk bag representative can point you in the right direction if you aren’t sure whether or not you require this accessory.
Ready to Purchase the Right Bulk Bag for Your Business?
It’s true - there are other bulk bag distributors in the world but at Conitex Sonoco, we are a manufacturer too. With our expert material science engineering team and our technical field sales staff, we take pride in our ability to offer a variety of options for our customers and provide the best bulk bags for each individual product and application. Plus, we also keep numerous bulk bags in stock. Since our stocked inventory ships same day, we can supply bulk bags with very little lead time for customers on a tighter time frame.
Looking for more details about FIBC bulk bags? Grab your copy of our Ultimate Guide to FIBC Safety.
Tags: Flexible Packaging