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Bulk bags are designed with the end-user in mind to ensure maximum efficiency and safety. While these bags are durable and can withstand heavy-duty processes, there are several factors and guidelines to keep in mind to maintain the integrity of the products and the safety of the operators. In our experience, the mishandling of bulk bags is one of the leading causes of bag breakages and can be easily mitigated with proper knowledge and experience.

Bulk Bags General Guidelines:

Before getting started, here are some general guidelines to adhere by:

  1. Make sure you have the right FIBC – while all FIBCs may look the same at first glance, there are many differences tailored for specific applications. Some of these include the fabric material and strength, special coatings or liners, as well as additional features such as filling/discharge options and various lifting loop styles. To ensure you have the right bag for your operation, Bagwell is happy to offer our expertise and consultation.
  2. Different products (e.g. food products, dangerous/hazardous goods, pharmaceuticals) have different regulatory requirements for packaging. Make sure that the FIBC you choose is approved for and compatible with your products.
  3. For safety reasons, it is strongly recommended that you do not use any bulk bags that have been damaged. If this is unavoidable, please consult a member of the Bagwell staff first to ensure that it is safe to do so.
  4. Follow all the instructions outlined on the Safe Handling Tag, which can be found on the top edge of all Bagwell bulk bags. Most notably, please note the Safe Working Load, which must not be exceeded under any circumstances.
  5. Lastly, follow the applicable regulatory and safety requirements outlined by regional and federal governing bodies.

Getting Started:

First, make sure that your lifting device, whether that’s a forklift, crane, or hoist, is designed to handle bulk bags and is rated for the maximum weight of the filled FIBC. If you are unsure whether your lifting device is appropriate, please reach out to the Bagwell team for assistance.

Always use all lifting loops provided – in most cases, bulk bags have 4 lifting loops, one on each corner. Do not gather all 4 loops and lift from a single point, unless the bag has been specifically designed to do so. When lifting from a crane or hoist with a single hook, we recommend that you use a crane adapter. A crane adapter allows for the bag to be lifted vertically on all the loops, as opposed to from a single point, which allows the force on the bag to be evenly distributed.

In addition, conduct a thorough inspection of the forklift tines, crane hooks, bars or other handling devices to make sure there are no sharp edges or protrusions that can damage the loops. The edges of the forklift tines should be sufficiently rounded or have a protective covering if the edges are sharp. If you’re working with pallets, also do an inspection of the pallet for protruding nails or splinters. Adjust the width of the forks accordingly to allow for a seamless vertical lift and to avoid applying lateral forces on the bag.

 

Carrying a Filled Bulk Bag Using a Forklift

Now that you’ve done your checks and made the proper adjustments, you are ready to get started on the forklift. Be mindful to not make sudden stops or lifts while carrying the bulk bag. Make sure the bag is clear of the ground to prevent dragging and contact with the forklift wheels. Keep the mast slightly tilted upwards with the bag close to the mast to keep it from falling off the forks. Most importantly, make sure that the positioning of the bag does not obstruct the forklift operator’s field of vision. Keep speed moderate, as the added weight can cause instability especially when making sharp turns.

The above picture shows the correct way to carry a bulk bag with a forklift. The bag is elevated sufficiently off the ground while not obstructing the operator’s field of vision. The forks are tilted slightly upward.

Filling Up a Bulk Bag

Lay the bulk bag’s base flat on a flat platform or pallet, and if the bag has a discharge bottom, ensure that it is closed before filling. Use available support devices to hold the bag in place, or if needed have workers hold the loops if it is safe to do so. In some cases, it may help to inflate the bag with air prior to filling so that it is filled more evenly. Depending on the product filled, the height of the bag should be less than 2.5 times the width of the bag; however, for dangerous goods/hazardous substances, the filled bag’s height should not be more than 2 times the width of the bag. This is a good rule of thumb to quickly determine if your bag has been evenly filled.

Once the bulk bag has been filled, take the time to ensure that the top is properly secured if it is not an open-top bag.

Each bulk bag’s Safe Working Load (SWL) can be found written on the bag. For Bagwell bags, this is found on the Safety Handling Tag, which is attached to the top edge of the bag (see below for a sample). Do not exceed this under any circumstances.

Bagwell FIBC Handling Tag – Sample

Discharging Bulk Bags

Bagwell’s bulk bags have a variety of discharge options. For bags that have a flat bottom, discharge the bag by making a cut across the bottom of the bag. Make sure to exercise caution and do not stand directly under the bag. For bags with discharge spouts, gradually open the closure, allowing the material to flow out at a steady stream.

 

Do not stand under suspended bulk bags and keep all appendages clear of the space between the bag and the ground.

For more information see the FIBC Safe Handling Guidelines

Slip Sheets, otherwise known as linerboards or pallet liners, are placed on top of the pallet, underneath the product being stored or transported. Slip sheets help stabilize products on a pallet and helps prevent product damage from broken boards, splinters or protruding nails. Additionally, we offer waterproof sheets that provide added durability and are especially useful when working with wet pallets or wet floors as they help prevent moisture/water from damaging your product.

To ensure optimal handling of bulk bags and the safety of your workers, we recommend using a forklift or crane adapter. The use of a lifting adapter ensures that the bulk bag is lifted by its straps vertically, evenly distributing the force across the bag. This practice is essential for operational safety and greatly reduces the risk of a bag’s strength being compromised.

Our stock adapters are rated for 2,000Kg with a safety ratio of 10:1, and are suitable for bulk bag sizes ranging from 32”x32” to 38”x38”. Custom-made adapters for smaller or larger bulk bag sizes as well as for low overhead clearance are available.

Pallet Covers keep your products safe from dust, grease, water, and any other foreign contaminants.  They also protect your products from damage or contamination during transportation. When products need to be stored outdoors, our pallet covers provide much needed protection from the weather, moisture, rains, UV rays, and a variety of external contaminants. We stock a variety of polypropylene or polyethylene pallet covers, which many of our customers in the food, agriculture, chemical, and mining industries employ.

Our Industrial Liners are often used with our bulk bags for added product protection but can also be used to line various other packaging products such as drums or rigid containers. Our polyethylene liners provide a moisture barrier that will keep your wet products wet and your dry products dry. They are the best solution to prevent product leakage and contamination, while also shielding your products from water.

Our sturdy, UV-treated Sandbags can hold up to 30 kg and are a great solution for packaging sands and gravels to be used as flood barriers, temporary dams, erosion protectors, and road traction enhancers during winter.

Common sizes: 12”x30” and 14”x26”

Also available:

  • Sandbag Wire Ties
  • Sandbag Tying Tools

Paper Poly Bags have the same look and feel of traditional paper bags but are reinforced with polypropylene fabric for added durability. The bag consists of an outer layer of paper and an interior layer of polypropylene. These bags are ideal for lower volume packaging of animal nutrition, fertilizer, building materials, and frozen goods. We have various bag styles available including flat tube, gusseted, and valve bags. Custom printing is available.

Polywoven Bags are a low-cost form of packaging and are perfect for lower volume packaging of feeds, grains, fire logs and sands. The textile is made up of thin strips of polypropylene that are tightly woven together to create an industrial-grade fabric that is resistant to tears and punctures. We have various bag styles available including flat tube, gusseted, and valve bags. Custom printing is available.

Heli/Crane Bags are designed specifically to be handled by helicopter or crane. The bulk bags are optimally sized and come with reinforced materials and longer lifting loops to allow for more efficient and safer handling.

Our Heli/Crane Bags are frequently used to fly products in and out of remote job sites and for lifting construction tools and materials up to an elevated area or a high-rise building.

  • Available sizes in stock: 30”x30”x32”, 34”x34”x36”, 35”x35”x42”
  • Safe working loads ranged from 1,000Kg to 1,500Kg
  • Safety factor 6:1

Our Containment Bulk Bag is specifically designed and engineered for two applications:

  • Repackaging or containing spilled materials to minimize loss of product
  • Containing wastes or residuals with high water or liquid content

Our UN-Rated bulk bags comply with the United Nations’ International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code as well as regulations of the United States Department of Transportation, and Transport Canada for the safe handling and transportation of dangerous goods. For over 20 years, our UN rated bulk bags have been trusted to package PG II and III hazardous materials across a variety of industries. We regularly perform in-house and third-party testing to ensure our UN-Rated bulk bags fulfill the latest regulatory requirements.

Key applications of UN-Rated bulk bags include:

  • Packaging and transportation of dangerous chemicals and hazardous substances around the globe
  • Containment of environmentally hazardous materials or waste
  • Contaminated soils removal
  • Asbestos containment and removal

Our most popular product, the bulk bag, is a very versatile packaging solution that can be used for a wide array of applications across many industries. We stock a large variety of bulk bags with safe working loads ranging from 1,000Kg to 2,000Kg. Some of our stock bags also come with additional features such as anti-static properties (Type B / Type C), UN compliance, food-grade liners, and many more that suit a wide range of bagging needs. In addition to the various bulk bags we have in stock, we offer full customization on bulk bags to ensure our customers are using bags optimally designed for their specific operations.

We carry a large variety of bulk bags including Type A, B and C bags, both unlined and bags with food-grade liners, and bags with safe working loads of 1,000 to 2,000 kg, as well as many more features to suit a wide range of bagging needs.

Some examples of the many uses of bulk bags include:

  • Effective means of packaging dry or semi-dry solid granular products
  • Packaging food products for wholesale / export
  • Packaging dangerous chemicals and hazardous substances for storage and transportation
  • Disposal of waste or hazardous materials
  • Suitable to filled with sand/gravel for flood prevention and water diversion

Dewatering bags are a safe and cost-effective solution for your filtration needs. The material allows for liquid to quickly drain out while retaining solids as small as 250 microns.

Some of the applications include:

  • Packaging residual mud from production processes
  • Dewatering sand & gravel
  • Coarse filtration of chemicals
  • Tank and sump cleaning
  • Cleaning contaminated tools or materials
  • Separating grease/oil from materials
  • Available size in stock: 35”x35”x40” (1 cubic meter). Custom sizes are available.

Boxbags are a type of bulk bag with rigid panels, allowing the bag to stand on its own. It is a versatile product that is often used in food process industries, construction, and for hazardous waste containment.

The advantages of the BoxBag include:

  • Lightweight, compact & collapsible
  • Easily double stacked
  • Forklift friendly
  • Water & UV resistant
  • UN-rated version available
  • Available sizes in stock: 35”x35”x35”, 35”x35”x40”, 35”x35”x42”, 39”x39”x39”, 48”x48”x50”
  • Safe working loads ranging from 1,000Kg to 1,500Kg

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