Handling And Storing Bulk Chemicals: 3 Features To Look For In Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs)

Posted on: 28 June 2016


Chemical producers in the U.S. are taking advantage of continued low natural gas prices to expand methane-based projects. In fact, U.S. will become a major net exporter of methanol by 2018, which is why it's a good idea to start reaching out to these companies if you own and operate storage warehouses. Bulk chemicals require different storage containers, so to adapt your storage warehouse's operations for bulk chemicals, you'll need to invest in intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), which are basically cubic tanks that are easy to stack and can hold up to 600 gallons of liquid. IBCs come in many different styles and designs. Here are 3 features that you'll likely want and need.

Form Fit Liners to Reduce Messes

Storage warehouses expecting to handle large operations will need to reduce labor costs and time as much as possible in order to handle and deliver bulk chemicals in a timely manner. While IBCs are reusable, the time that it takes to clean them is not. Easily reduce messes by fitting the inside of the IBCs with form fit liners made from polyethylene materials. Look for manufacturers that produce form fit liners specifically for the IBCs you'll be purchasing. If you purchase form fit liners from a separate manufacturer, the fit may not be perfect.

As form fit liners will match the interior dimensions of the IBCs closely, each IBC can be completely filled without any additional monitoring required. As a result, the IBCs can be reused instantly without being cleaned. This will streamline overall operations.

Built-In Ball Valves to Pour Contents into Smaller Containers

If handling bulk chemicals means that you'll be responsible for delivering different volumes of chemicals to various suppliers and buyers, you'll need IBCs with built-in ball valves. This will allow you to easily pour the contents within one IBC to another with ease. All you need is a connecting hose.

While there are many different valves, faucets and spigots available, IBCs with built-in ball valves are generally most suitable and appropriate for handling bulk chemicals. Ball valves are inexpensive, will turn regardless of the internal pressures within the IBCs and offer a good seal to eliminate drips.

Foldable Wheels for Easy Transportation

A completely full IBC will be rather heavy. Most of the time, the IBCs will be stacked on each other and will be moved from one side of the warehouse to the other with the help of pallet racks; however, if you'll need to handle or move a single IBC, you'll benefit from getting IBCs with foldable wheels at the bottom. This way, each IBC can be manually pushed to the right place. Moving individual IBCs with built-in, foldable wheels will also be a lot more convenient. You won't have to rely on pallet jacks all the time.

Look for foldable wheels that can be locked. This will prevent the wheels from collapsing and will prevent the IBC from moving when it is left unattended. Steel caster wheels are usually most appropriate for storage warehouses, as they are ideal for concrete floors and also are resistant to chemicals.


The type of IBCs that you invest in can have a huge influence on the overall productivity of your warehouse's operations. With the right IBCs, you'll be able to handle large volumes of bulk chemicals without having to worry about messes. The right IBCs will reduce labor costs and allow your storage warehouse to handle more clients. With a rise in bulk chemical exportation in the U.S., investing in equipment and supplies like bulk bins needed to cater to these clients can help your business grow and flourish to heights you've never imagined before.