Liquid intermediate bulk containers (IBCs, totes) are mid capacity storage containers designed specifically for use with free flowing to viscous fluids. They are made to handle various liquid commodities from water, chemicals, wastes, solvents and paints, to foods, beverages and their ingredients. Liquid IBC totes are engineered to specialize in on-site handling, mobile transport, product distribution, process integration and direct material use.
Liquid IBCs are cube-shaped cargo containers that feature built-in pallet type and pallet-sized base platforms with fork movement channels. They have top located inlet ports with screw caps or clamp lids that promote loading of liquid cargos. Liquid totes have drain outlet valves that are suitable for direct access to contents and making plumbing attachments for distribution. All IBCs can be stacked and many come with alignment lugs or grooves that increase their stacking stability and security.
Liquid totes are available from 110 gallons up to 550 gallons with 793 gallon steel models available on request. Costs range from $180 to $3600 per tote. Liquid IBC sizes are 48″L x 42″W x 20″H up to 57″L x 49″W x 90.25″H, with a total area of 23.3 cubic feet to 145.9 cubic feet. Top inlet ports range from 6” inches up to 22.5” inches. Liquid tote outlets are 2” inch ball valve types with camlock quick connect options available.
Liquid totes are employed across a wide range of scenarios due to their versatility, mobility and compatibility with fluid materials. They are used in manufacturing, industrial sectors, local operations, small business, commercial markets as well as residential applications within rainwater harvesting and aquaponics.
Liquid IBCs are frequently used for all types of water handling, from potable, process, to waste water. They are used in the energy sector for oil and gas scenarios that involve basic resources, refining and distribution of products and byproducts such as petroleum, naptha, distillates, and mineral oils.
Liquid totes are used for the handling, production and delivery of various chemicals, acids, solvents, bases and intermediates. Common chemical used in IBCs include hydrochloric acid, HCl, sodium hydroxide NaOH, acetone, sulfuric acid, H2SO4, and hydrogen peroxide. For companies in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage industries, liquid IBCs are used to store, produce batches, mix and deliver ingredients and raw materials such as medicines, vitamins, syrups, oils, wines and spirits. Liquid IBCs are also used in physical type work operations to hold and transport the materials often needed for construction, road work, painting, washing and spraying applications.
Liquid IBCs have been engineered to increase the overall effectiveness and efficiency of company fluid handling applications. They are designed to improve on the problems frequently experienced by many other common liquid handling containers. Examples of such problems can include: containers are hard to handle, especially when full; unsafe or unstable in transit; difficult to organize; difficult to stack or cannot be; work intensive to load on pallets or into trucks, and/or; are generally hard to fill and distribute product.
Liquid IBC containers come in four (4) distinct types based on their fabrication material and engineering design. The four types are: composite, rigid all plastic, carbon steel and stainless steel. All liquid totes are approved for transit and permitted via UN / DOT label requirements. Totes are manufactured according to Title 49 CFR. Food grade totes also meet Title 21 CFR standards for materials in contact with consumables. Carbon and stainless steel IBCs are approved by the NFPA for Class I, II and III flammable, combustible materials. Composite and all poly IBCs are NFPA approved for Class II to Class III materials.
Composite type liquid IBCs are commonly known as caged IBC totes and are the most common IBC type. Caged totes are blow molded HDPE containers within a galvanized steel frame. The HDPE used is FDA food grade virgin polyethylene that is ANSI NSF 61 approved for drinkable, potable water.
Caged IBCs come in 275 and 330 gallon capacities with 6” vented screw caps, 2” outlet ball valves, and 4-way forklift channels. Models include new, rebottled and reconditioned where only new and rebottled IBCs are approved for food contact and potable water. Composite reconditioned totes are the cheapest IBC model and feature a previously used cage and container that are approved for reuse.
Rigid all plastic liquid IBCs are 100% manufactured from HDPE (high density polyethylene) and do not feature any metal parts or components. The polyethylene used is food grade and ANSI/NSF 61 certified HDPE. These IBCs are rotational mold manufactured up to 1/2″ thick tank sidewalls with specific gravity ratings for 1.35 SG to 1.9 SG liquids where most are 1.9 SG. Rigid plastic IBCs come in capacity from 110 gallons up to 550 gallons. Inlet cap sizes vary on model and are either 6”, 6.5”, 7”, 18”, 20”, and 22.5”.
Carbon steel liquid IBC totes are manufactured from 10 gauge steel with an electropolish finish. They come with 2” stainless steel ball valves, 22.5” bolted and gasketed manways, 3 way forklift channels in capacities from 110 up to 550 gallon. Metal IBCs feature combination lifting lugs that double for hoist movement and stacking support.
Stainless steel liquid IBCs are made from 304 / 316 stainless steel with an electropolish finish. The top performance liquid IBC model, stainless steel totes feature 2” stainless steel ball valves, 22.5” bolted gasketed manways, and 3 way forklift channels. Capacities range from 110 up to 550 gallon with 793 gallon supertainers available on request. Stainless steel totes have integrated combination lifting lugs to assist in vertical lift and stacking alignment.
IBC Tanks is a leading U.S. authority and source on liquid tote products and information. Backed by North America’s top container manufacturer Snyder, Inc., IBC Tanks specializes in IBCs to provide the industry’s best products, resources and prices. We offer the ability to custom fabricate IBCs by color, logo, design, fitting types and placement.
For frequent questions and answers on IBCs, visit our FAQ Page or review our IBC Specifications Resource that covers many IBC tote details in-depth.
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