This guide is intended to assist buyers and users in selecting the right FIBC and using it safely. We want to ensure your bulk bags are a fit for your industry, are filled and discharged properly, handled correctly, and stored and transported the right way.
What are FIBCs?
An FIBC (Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container) is commonly referred to as a 'bulk bag.' These are intermediate bulk containers with a body made of a flexible woven material typically made from polypropylene, or PP, that can be coated or uncoated. A coated bag incorporates an interior or exterior layer of the PP that is laminated to the woven PP to reduce moisture intrusion or sifting of the contents. The uncoated FIBC has no PP coating.
Filling and Discharging
To make sure your bag is appropriate for your filling and emptying environment, refer to the static protective guidelines and bulk bag options on the following pages - especially if you are using your bags in flammable or explosive environments.
Always check with your FIBC manufacturer that your static protective FIBC is fitted with the correct anti-static liner before handling. The chart below is only a general guideline. Always reference the current IEC standard for all of the requirements.
Combinations that are permissible and not permissible in hazardous explosive atmospheres
|Type L1||Type L1c||Type L2||Type L3|
|Type B||Not Permissable||Not Permissable||Permissable||Permissable|
|Type C||Permissable||Permissable||Permissable||Not Permissable|
|Type D||Not Permissable||Not Permissable||Permissable||Not Permissable|
Each type of bag relates to the type of product you are transporting and how you plan on filling the bag. For example, if you need a bag to accommodate dust when it’s being filled, let your manufacturer know. There are solutions specifically for filling dust heavy materials without making a mess in your facility. In this instance, you need a more narrow spout like a standard fill spout or cone spout. If you’re using a shovel instead of a bulk bag filler, there’s a solution just for those needs too. Look for options like the full opening duffel or open top.
Type A bulk bags are made of polypropylene, calcium carbonate, and a UV additive to protect against and prevent erosion if they are stored outside. If you ask for a standard bag you're going to get Type A. These bags are used to transport non-flammable products and have no static protection or special electrostatic safety features. Because of this, these bags should not be used to transport combustible materials or in flammable or combustible environments.
Type B bags are made from standard polypropylene material like Type A bags. Type B bags are different because they prevent sparks. Type A bags can develop a static charge when someone brushes against it in a dusty environment creating a spark. A spark in the wrong environments leads to an explosion. Type B bags don't spark. These bags have a dissipate or anti-static coating to prevent a disaster like an explosion.
Type C bags, or conductor bags, are woven carbon filament that you have to ground whenever you're filling or moving the bag. The bag must be grounded in order for it to be used safely. Type C bags are used to safely transport flammable powders and when flammable solvents or gases are present around the bag. Type C FIBC bags are used to transport is highly flammable material.
Type D bulk bags, or antistatic bulk bags, are made from antistatic fabric that prevents sparks that don't require grounding. The fabric used in these bags is a complete static dissipator, meaning it automatically dissipates that static charge in the atmosphere. These can be used to transport flammable powders and around flammable solvents or gases. Do not use on surfaces that have water or grease on it.
A static protective FIBC is a bag that incorporates design features to protect against the hazards created by static electricity. An evaluation of the materials used, machinery, and process is required to determine the static discharge hazard and the level of static protection required.
A static dissipative FIBC is a type of static protective bulk bag made from fabric that allows static electricity to discharge safely. Static electricity may be dissipated to ground via conduction through a grounding cable, or may be dissipated into the atmosphere via a process called air ionization or corona, without the need for grounding.
The term “antistatic FIBC” is sometimes used as a synonym for static protective FIBC. It is also used to describe FIBCs that offer some protection against static electrical hazards, but do not incorporate the charge dissipation mechanisms found in bulk bags that offer full static protection.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Always ensure that the FIBCs are tested and labeled in accordance with IEC 61340-4-4 Ed. 2.0 and that the type of static protective FIBC being used is appropriate for the flammable or explosive environment.
There are primarily three types of bulk bags for controlling the static charge associated with handling processes:
A type "B" bulk bag is constructed from insulating fabric with a breakdown voltage of less than 6kV. This provision prevents the risk of energetic sparks and propagating brush discharges which can ignite dust-air mixtures and flammable gases and solvent vapors. Type "B" bags may be used in the presence of the combustible dust with MIE greater than 3mJ, but only in the absence of flammable vapors of gases. Type "B" bulk bags are sometimes called antistatic bags, but it should be noted that type "B" bags only provide limited protection against static electricity and they do not provide any mechanism for dissipating static charge.
A type "C" bulk bag is constructed from fabrics having inter-connected conductive threads and designed to prevent the occurrence of incendiary sparks, brush discharges and propagating brush discharges. The bag must be electrically grounded during filling and emptying.
A type "D" bag is constructed from the static protective fabric that includes interwoven static dissipative threads and designed to prevent the occurrence of incendiary sparks, brush discharges and propagating brush discharges. Type D FIBC's do not require grounding.
Use a forklift truck, crane or hoist with a rated capacity sufficient to support your filled FIBC. Devices used to handle FIBCs must be designed for FIBCs, have safety latches, be rated for the capacity of the filled FIBC and adhere to approved handling methods.
Storage & Transportation
Bulk bags are made to store your materials safely and effectively. This section details how to accomplish both goals without negatively impacting your storage and transportation processes.
FirmaLoad™pallets are designed and constructed with stability in mind for safely stacking even the heaviest bulk bags.
These bulk bag pallets are lightweight, reducing shipping costs and lifting-related injuries. Their compact size saves inventory space and shipping costs
FirmaLoad™bulk bag pallets are easier to load and lighter to move with more than enough strength to support the heaviest of bulk bags.
FirmaLoad™ pallets are ISPM 15 exempt, saving you the cost of chemical or heat treatment and import/export compliance costs.
Work with a knowledgeable supplier who understands your requirements and your product process.
BulkSak® by Conitex Sonoco offers a broad selection of FIBC products along with a domestic and world-wide manufacturing network. Our domestic and international production facilities have served over 1,000 customers in more than 50 countries over the last three decades. We staff in-country sourcing managers to better meet customer expectations for quality, specifications and cost. The only thing more dependable and trustworthy than our products is our company. With a global network of manufacturers and warehousing facilities, we ensure the highest quality materials, strict compliance to customer specifications, and on-time delivery, all at a very competitive cost. We also offer technical design and development expertise to enhance your existing products or develop new products to meet your business goals