IBC Tank use in the Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Industry

IBC Tank Use in the Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Industry

IBC tanks are used in a wide variety of industries and for many purposes. In order to fully understand what IBC tanks are used for it is important to explore this broad topic on many different levels. On this page, we will focus specifically on how IBC tanks are used within the pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors. 

IBC tank use in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry-1

Brief Background on IBCs in these Industries

IBCs are not a product that has been around for all that long. The first official IBC patent was issued in 1992 to inventor Olivier J. L. D’Hollander. Since then, the level of customization and overall quality of IBC packaging systems has skyrocketed. Some of the portions in the global economy that commonly use IBC systems are the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. 

How They Entered the Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Sector

For a long period of time, pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies have been working with raw materials such as active ingredients in pharmaceutical drugs that can be difficult to store and transport. Then, there are problems such as the risk of spoiling, contamination, and so on. It wasn’t until IBCs came around that companies like these could finally control more factors such as these during the production and transportation process.

Why Are IBCs Used in the Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Industries?

Just as IBCs are a common element in various other global industries, the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries are in need of high-quality packaging and storing systems like what an IBC offers. Therefore, it is no wonder that companies working with raw liquid materials such as these types of corporations will universally use IBCs.

There Are Regulations on Many of These Products

For starters, those who work in these types of industries are often working with chemicals and hazardous materials. Whether it be the UN or local authorities, there are many tight regulations that exist when it comes to the transportation of various products. Therefore, using the right IBCs is a practical way to align with local laws and regulations. 

Many of These Products Need to Stay at Particular Temperatures

There are many raw materials processed by the pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies that can spoil if they reach a particular temperature. When working with materials like these, manufacturers can now choose an IBC system that contains temperature-regulation. This way, they can ensure that all of their products remain fresh and ready for use when they are eventually processed and shipped out to stores.

Raw Materials Are Often Stored for Long Periods of Time

Raw materials are not always processed into a product that is shipped and sold on the shelves right away. In many instances, these raw materials will actually sit on the shelves of the factory for a great deal of time. In order to preserve their fresh state, they must be placed in an IBC container that is certified by authorities to be built for effective preservation.

Raw Materials Need to Sometimes be Transported

Transporting raw materials can easily become dangerous. Especially if they are hazardous chemicals that can cause damage to the environment when leaked out. This is one of the many reasons that getting an IBC that is certified for transporting cosmetic and pharmaceutical raw materials is so important. They make it so that manufacturers can work with potentially-dangerous raw materials in a manner that minimizes any sort of risk.

IBCs Help Keep Products Organized

Many manufacturers have a collection of IBCs that sit around in the factories and production facilities. When working with a high number of IBCs, there is the benefit of easily stacking and making efficient use out of your existing storage space. IBCs come with pallets that make them easily stored and stacked on top of each other with the help of a forklift.

Examples of Products Held in IBCs by Cosmetic Companies

Cosmetic companies work with a wide variety of different raw materials. It isn’t quite simple to summarize their purposes since there are many different reasons that people use cosmetics and purposes for the raw materials. Keeping this in mind, let’s break down some of the common products that are held in IBCs by cosmetic companies. 

Liquid Coloring & Dyes

Liquid coloring and dyes are one of the most common raw materials that you will find inside a cosmetic product of any sort. These sorts of materials can be used in a wide variety of products such as facial makeup, creams, and so on. Anytime a company wants to add color to their finished cosmetic product, they will need liquid coloring or dyes.

Essential Oils & Wax

Essential oils and wax-based materials will often sit around in a warehouse for a long period of time before they are packaged and sold on shelves. During this process, they need an IBC to serve as their home. This will help them to remain fresh and ready for use when the time comes.

Esters & Ester Oils

Esters and ester oils are one of the most common materials that we will find in products such as perfumes and cologne. They are best known for having attractive odors that can be used in these sorts of products. Without an IBC including a permeation barrier, they can easily lose their effectiveness during production and transportation.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is one of the primary ingredients used in making facial foundation in the cosmetic industry. This is eventually processed into powder form in order to provide a brighter look to the skin. During the transportation process, it is often in liquid form. An IBC is able to preserve in its pure form during all of the steps leading to the eventual sale of foundation.

Organic Sea Products

Organic sea products such are often processed into liquid form before they are packaged into an IBC system. Algae, for example, is used in many cosmetic products. This is due to its ability to protect your skin from becoming overly dry, for anti-aging purposes, and various other possible practical uses. Of course, this is only one of many different organic sea products stored and transported by IBCs.

Plant Extracts

Plants contain many of the most effective cosmetic ingredients. Best of all, they are completely replaceable and can be grown at will. When used for cosmetics, they are generally broken down into a liquid form that contains the desired raw chemical ingredient. When they reach this point, they need an IBC to be safely stored and transported to their final destination.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a powerful chemical that when, in its pure form, can burn through skin and be very difficult to have sitting around in a factory warehouse. Before it is eventually mixed with other chemicals for use in fighting acne, it needs to be placed in an IBC that keeps it pure and free of contamination.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is another common cosmetic ingredient that is used to fight acne. Like salicylic acid, it is also very potentially harmful in its purest form. Therefore, an IBC is always used for mass storage and transportation of benzoyl peroxide before it is converted into its final product.


Surfactants are perhaps best known for their degreasing properties. When used on the skin, it can help clear out pores and make it cleaner. Before put into its final packaging, manufacturers will transport and store surfactants in an IBC.

Creams, Lotions & Gels

Creams, lotions, and gels are some of the most common cosmetic products. They are purchased almost equally by men and women and make up many different products. Things such as shampoo, body lotion, hair gel, and so on are all cosmetic products that can be shipped and stored in bulk amounts using an IBC.

IBC tank use in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry-2

Examples of Products Held in IBCs by Pharmaceutical Companies

Pharmaceutical companies need IBCs for their own share of reasons. They use different raw materials than cosmetic companies in many instances. However, we can break down their raw materials into three categories. Active pharmaceutical ingredients, excipients, and raw packaging materials. Below, we will break down these categories into greater detail.

1. Raw Materials Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API)

The first major category of raw materials used by pharmaceutical companies are active pharmaceutical ingredients (or APIs). These are the ingredients that actually bring about the desired result of your medicine. The APIs in pain medication, for example, are what actually work to lessen the sensations of pain that you experience.


Penicillin is one of the most popular antibiotics that exist on the market. It has a long history dating all the way back to 1928. Today, it is widely used all over the world for treating infections and killing bacteria. When processed into liquid form, you will always see penicillin shipped and stored in an IBC. 


Acetaminophen can either come in liquid or powder form when it is at its purest. This is a powerful chemical that is used in medicines for analgesic purposes. Some of the most effective pain killers on the planet use acetaminophen for this reason. During production and transportation, it needs to have the safe storage that an IBC provides.

Dextromethorphan HBr

Dextromethorphan HBr is a common active ingredient that is used for cold and flu medicine. Since it is an effective cough suppressant that is made into a pure liquid form, it needs a packaging system that will keep it pure and ready for use. This is where the right IBC comes into play!

2. Raw Materials of Excipients

The excipients are the non-active ingredients that are included in pharmaceutical products. Although they don’t actually have active effects in the medicine itself, they are a necessary component of the production and packaging process. They are what help transmit the medicine into your body.


Capsules are made with gelatin, plant materials, or some sort of placebo that is safe to ingest. During the production, storage, and transportation processes of these raw materials, they are also very delicate and in need of proper protection. Otherwise, they could potentially put unwanted materials into the medicine that the capsules are eventually used for.


From the plastic that is liquified and used for the construction of the inhaler itself, to some of the inactive gas excipients that can be placed in inhalers, IBCs are necessary. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to transport and store raw materials like these for a long period of time without becoming spoiled and contaminated.

Oral Liquids

Oral liquids that are put into drugs but are not active ingredients are another one of the common products you will find in IBCs. When a pharmaceutical company needs to transport oral liquids, using an IBC is the best way to ensure that they don’t risk any sort of contamination, permeation, and so on. Oral liquids need to remain pure in order to be effectively used in medicine.

Raw Materials of Packaging

In addition to the raw materials actually used within the products themselves, pharmaceutical companies are also often responsible for making their own packaging. Therefore, they will often use IBCs for storing and transporting the raw materials that are later used for the packaging.

Plastics for Packaging

One of the common raw materials that are used in the packaging of pharmaceutical products is plastic. Then, there are various other materials that can be used in packaging that come in liquid or near-liquid form. These are all common materials to use an IBC during the storage and transportation processes.

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