What are IBC tanks used for?

IBC Tanks: What Are They Used For?

Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) are used in numerous industries. However, some might wonder why they are needed and what benefits they bring to consumers. In other words, what do companies need IBCs for? Some might be surprised to learn that IBC tanks often prove to be critical to the success of many businesses as they work to safely contain and transport various types of items, such as perfume, wine, and gasoline. These containers also come with many other benefits for companies, such as preventing pollution and being cost-effective. Below, there is more information behind what IBC tanks are and some trades that heavily rely on them.

What are IBC tanks used for ?-1

What are Intermediate Bulk Containers?

IBCs are tanks that are used by a handful of industries to hold and transport items. The tanks can store both solid and liquid products and are made with a variety of different features, such as built-in handles, wheels, and valves. Many IBCs are also reusable and can be washed out and recycled when no longer needed.

What Are IBCs Made Of?

These containers are constructed out of four materials: plastic, stainless steel, carbon steel, and composite materials.


Plastic IBCs are designed out of high-density polyethylene pieces that are surrounded by a thick steel grid. This grid helps to keep the container level and prevent items from scratching the tank’s exterior. Plastic IBCs are used to mainly hold liquids, such as wine or fuel, but are very versatile and can hold solid items as well. This type of IBC is one of the most affordable options and can be safely used in most industries.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel IBCs are ideal for industries that want something durable to hold their products. Stainless steel tanks are also corrosion-resistant which helps to ensure that contents are not contaminated by rust. This material can be washed allowing companies to reuse the tanks. In fact, most stainless steel IBCs can last anywhere from five to ten years. The tanks can also be customized with features such as specific types of valves, gaskets, and adapters.

Carbon Steel

This material is extremely durable and shock-resistant. In addition to this, carbon steel is lightweight thanks to the tank’s walls being cut thin. Despite its thin walls, it can safely hold hazardous and flammable contents and is less prone to scratches and dents. Carbon steel is an eco-friendly option and can be recycled when no longer needed. However, clients will find that their carbon steel tanks will last them for many years thanks to their long-lasting design.

Composite Materials

Composite IBCs are usually a mixture of plastic and steel combining the benefits of both these materials together. This affordable material is ideal for shipping liquids and is typically encased in a steel grid like traditional plastic tanks are. Many composite tanks are also food-grade and can safely hold edible items without causing contamination. Composite IBCs are ideal for high-bay warehousing as they can be stacked on top of each other and secured thanks to special clamps on the bottom.

The Advantages of Using IBCs

Numerous industries depend on IBCs thanks to their many benefits, a few of which are listed below.

They are Ecological

One advantage of using these containers is that they are ecological. They are made of materials that can eventually be recycled and sometimes even be made into new tanks. Numerous IBC makers offer tank recycling services which allow companies to call them and request that they remove IBC tanks that are no longer needed. Many IBC companies also focus on producing their IBCs in eco-friendly warehouses that limit their CO2 emissions, something that drastically reduces air pollution.

Besides being produced in eco-friendly ways, the tanks encourage businesses to protect the environment. This includes shipping clean water without fear of pollution and preventing leaks from hazardous materials. Companies can also reuse these containers which not only cuts back on costs, but reduces unnecessary waste.

They Are Compact

Some storage options for businesses tend to be very bulky and take up a lot of space. However, IBCs are designed to be compact allowing companies to save space in their warehouses and vehicles. This not only conserves space, but helps with saving money as businesses do not have to keep investing in new containers and facilities to hold their items.

They Are Durable

These tanks are made to withstand heavy usage making them a very durable investment. They are made of materials, like plastic and steel, to ensure they can withstand hard tasks and other elements, such as sunlight and extreme temperatures. Due to this, many IBC tanks are made to have a lifespan of up to 20 years.

IBC tank owners will find that to make sure their tanks are still working correctly they must put them through testing every five years. This way, if there happens to be a problem, it can be quickly fixed so the container can be used again.

They Encourage Efficiency

Many industries turn to IBCs as they encourage impressive efficiency. The tanks allow companies to quickly fill them up with various items and then ship them to a new facility or put them away in storage. This prevents goods from sitting around for a long time which might otherwise cause logistical errors or damages.

They Can Be Customized

Another benefit of IBCs is that they can be customized. Many IBC manufacturers allow companies to send a sketch of their logo to their production facility that can then be etched into the sides of the tanks. In addition to this, IBC tanks can be customized to have different shapes, more valves, and a mixture of pallets depending on the client’s preferences.

They Prevent Contamination

IBCs can significantly reduce products from being polluted as they are designed to safely hold and transport numerous types of products. Because their exterior is composed of thick walls and constructed to withstand dents and scratches, the tanks prevent foreign substances from sneaking into the tanks and spoiling the item. The valves built into tanks are also built with unique gaskets that completely seal the area around them to prevent even the smallest trace of liquid from dripping out. To provide even more security, some models come with IBC tank liners which are made of resin and add an extra level of protection around the tank.

IBC Tanks for Industrial Use

Industrial IBC tanks are built to withstand heavy usage and are made of various materials, particularly plastic and stainless steel, to ensure the contents are safely secured. In fact, IBC tanks for industrial use are made to hold various types of liquids, including toxic ones. These include solvents, gases, oils, lubricants, and hydraulic fluids. In addition to this, companies in this industry, such as those in construction, can use IBCs to store equipment pieces and washing solutions. Companies can also use IBC tanks to ship goods to different locations without it being an expensive hassle.

The automotive industry will also find that these containers can store fuel, paint, and oil without them releasing dangerous fumes or leaking. These tanks can be stored inside the garages or warehouses where mechanics and engineers can easily access them.

IBC Tanks for Storage

Many businesses also turn to IBC tanks as a way to store items such as food and paint. The tanks are designed to be able to hold these products for long periods of time without causing them to spoil or leak. This is beneficial for many industries that might need to store certain items away for a few weeks or months.

IBC tanks for storage not only help companies to save money, but prevent waste as they allow brands to keep products that they would otherwise need to dispose of. In addition to this, IBC tanks can be stacked on top of each other when put into storage, something which helps companies to save space in their warehouses.

What are IBC tanks used for ?-2

IBC Tanks for Food Use

The food industry often relies on IBC tanks as a way to help preserve items and easily transport them. A handful of different food companies use these tanks to ship and store their goods, such as fruit/vegetable growers, winemakers, and bakers.

Food IBC Tank Materials

IBC tanks for food are usually made of either plastic or stainless steel as they are easy to wash and can be quickly sanitized. Below is more about these two types of materials and how they benefit the food industry.


Plastic is an affordable option that can be used to hold water and other liquids, like juice. They can also store solid items, such as bread and eggs. Many food IBC tanks are made with a UV-protective coating that prevents these harmful sun rays from heating the IBC tank and possibly contaminating the items inside.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is ideal to hold contents like molasses or milk as it keeps them from sticking to the walls of the tank and can later be washed out once the contents have been removed.

Food-Grade IBCs: What Are They?

Customers will find that there are specific food-grade IBCs that should be used to store edible items. IBCs for food must meet specific regulations, including those by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This way, clients can be confident that the contents they put inside will not be contaminated. Food-grade IBCs must also be easy to wash to remove particles from previous shipments to prevent new items from getting mixed into an old batch. These tanks can be clean by spraying them down with a bleach solution and water.

IBC Tanks in the Chemical Industry

Consumers will also find that the chemical industry needs to use IBC tanks for a handful of different reasons. This includes keeping flammable and hazardous materials from leaking or causing pollution. Some chemicals that can be poured into an IBC include ethanol, benzene, and methanol.

All IBC tanks for the chemical industry have certifications to prove they are safe to use. These include FDA and DOT regulations that work to ensure that the contents are secure and will not cause harm as they are being moved or stored. The chemical industry tanks are usually made of stainless steel as this material does not absorb the liquids and can be washed out. These tanks often have valves on the bottom that users can turn on when they need to remove chemicals from inside the IBC.

IBC tanks for the chemical industry are also designed with other features in mind, such as protection from extreme temperatures and sometimes built-in ventilation systems if necessary. To help with safely moving full IBCs around, they have pallets on the bottom that allow a machine, such as a forklift, to carefully carry it to where it is needed. For those who need to store the IBCs, chemical tanks have grooves on the top and bottom to help them click in place when stacked on top of each other.

IBC Tanks in the Agricultural Industry

The agricultural industry uses IBCs to transport items grown on farms and needed for farm work. For edible items, this industry can pack the tanks up with the goods and ship them without the items going stale or bad. IBC tanks for agriculture can also ship pesticides and fertilizers without them leaking or contaminating items near them. These tanks tend to be made with cooling chambers that can prevent items inside from becoming too hot due to excessive amounts of heat, something which could otherwise ruin them. The agricultural industry relies heavily on these tanks to transport their goods year-round as they help to cut common logistical costs and can be reused.

IBC Tanks in the Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Industry

IBC tanks used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry help to control various types of solids and liquids that might otherwise cause contamination or health hazards. For instance, IBC tanks in this industry allow pharmacists and cosmeticians to safely store pills, powders, and liquids that could be a health or an environmental concern. All materials can be used to make pharmaceutical and cosmetic tanks as each has its own unique properties and can store various goods. For instance, plastic can easily hold powders while stainless steel is ideal for liquids created by this industry, such as medications. These tanks also have valves on the bottom that allow users to remove the contents without causing spills.

These tanks have rounded edges which makes cleaning them easy to do. This is because the curved design allows washing solutions to easily reach into crevices and fully remove any residue that might be remaining. Due to this, these IBC tanks can be reused allowing customers to save a significant amount of money.

IBC tanks are used in numerous industries and serve a different purpose for each. They not only help prevent contamination but can work to control the flow of dangerous liquids. IBC tanks also work to help industries quickly move products around which can encourage more sales and better logistics. Because of this, IBC tanks prove to be a useful device for businesses to invest in.

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