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Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs)

Intermediate Bulk Containers

Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) are the go-to choice for storing and transporting many products and materials. Whether used to store water, fuel, dry powders and granules, syrups, or even hazardous and corrosive materials, IBCs offer a versatile and efficient solution. 

At McManus Drum Company, Inc. we’re a distributor of plastic, steel, and fiber drums. As part of our offerings, we can provide IBCs in 275 and 330-gallon fill capacities. Featuring a rigid, welded galvanized tubular steel cage, our IBCs are an ideal choice for transporting and storing various chemicals and food-grade products. 

What Are IBCs Made of?

IBCs are constructed from a variety of materials depending on their intended use. Specified materials must be rated for the contents, whether that is consumable, corrosive, caustic, flammable, or UV-sensitive. They hold industrial-size volumes and often range between 275 and 350-gallon capacity, so they must be sturdy and durable to withstand physical and chemical stress. 

Most IBCs have a similar basic shape and size and can be stacked. They are rectangular prisms with the length and width matching the dimensions of a standard shipping pallet. Most are constructed with a built-in pallet made of plastic or metal for compatibility with forklifts. This enables efficient loading, unloading, and storage. 

The most common materials for IBCs are:

  • Plastic. IBCs are often made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) polymer materials, which provide chemical and corrosion protection and various degrees of opacity for UV protection. They can be configured as a plastic container enclosed in a metal cage or an all-in-one rigid container made entirely from plastic.
  • Bottled/composite construction. This is a plastic container, or “bottle,” enclosed in a welded metal cage, usually of galvanized steel, for added support and protection.
  • Carbon Steel. These are highly resistant to damage and durable; however, they are typically far heavier than plastic-based IBCs. They are often used for combustible and hazardous materials. 
  • Stainless Steel. Heavy and durable, stainless steel IBCs can be used for food products as well as some combustible and hazardous materials. 
  • Flexible Polymers. IBCs can be fabricated from woven polyethylene, polypropylene, and other denser polymers that are sewn to make a large, square or rectangular bag. These containers are used to hold granulated plastic, fertilizer, sand, and other dry or flowable materials.

What Are the Different Types of IBCs?

The primary types of IBCs include:

  • Rebottled IBCs. In this option for reusing an IBC, the plastic tank or “bottle” is replaced with a new one, and the outer metal cage is refurbished. This design features four-way forklift access, a six-inch lid, and a two-inch ball valve. Camlock or threaded connections are also available.
  • Reconditioned IBCs. IBCs may be reconditioned for reuse. All reconditioned units are inspected, cleaned, tested for leaks, and certified for continued safe use in new applications.
  • Rigid IBCs. Made from HDPE, these plastic containers may be enclosed in a protective metal cage or may be entirely self-supporting. Depending on the plastic used, some example applications may include:
    • Potable or non-potable water
    • Petroleum products and wastes
    • Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF)
    • Fertilizers
    • Syrups, powders, and granulated foods
  • Flexible IBCs: Flexible IBCs are made of woven polymer material that can be sewn into a bag shape. They are suitable for dry materials that can be poured.
  • Metal IBCs: These are usually made from carbon steel or stainless steel. Food-grade containers are generally constructed from 304 and 316/316L stainless steel. 

What Are the Benefits of Using IBCs?

IBCs offer benefits for many different applications including:

  • Versatility. IBCs are used to contain everything from solids and liquids to granules and powders. They can also be manufactured to safely hold inert or hazardous materials.
  • Durability. HDPE and steel are both very durable materials that resist leaks, dents, corrosion, and other damage so they can protect their contents.
  • Ease of Use. All units include separate inlet and outlet ports for filling, emptying, and cleaning. The uniform shape and size of most IBCs make it easy to predict logistical and storage needs. 
  • Portability. Built-in pallets allow for forklift access from multiple sides of the container.
  • Stackability. IBCs are stackable for efficient transportation and storage.
  • Cost-effectiveness. The space efficiency of IBCs saves money on logistics and warehousing. Depending on your application, rebottled or reconditioned units may be a suitable alternative to new ones. 

IBCs from McManus Drum Co., Inc.

At McManus Drum Co., Inc. we offer a variety of IBCs as well as fiber, plastic, and steel drums in many shapes and sizes. New and reconditioned units are available. 

Since 1965 we have been a family-owned and operated business and are committed to environmental responsibility.

Contact us for more information about our products, or request a quote to find the right solution today.