Greif Products: An Analysis of Greif’s Products and Services
What began as a cooperage – a plant specialized for the production of wooden casks, barrels, and similar containers in post-Civil War America – has now expanded into the largest IBC producer in the world. Greif, Inc. offers a wide variety of products and services aimed at the storage and packaging of chemicals, raw materials, and other industrial components. In the 140 years and more since its founding, the company now known as Greif has gravitated away from cooperage production and now expanded fully into these industrial-grade containers.
The changes began with expanding into steel and fiber drums when wooden storage solutions just proved unable to keep up with the evolving demands of a rebuilding nation. Today, the company specializes primarily in the production of industrial-grade IBCs – intermediate bulk containers, the large and durable containers used to store and transport chemicals and other valuable resources.
Although Greif is best known for its IBCs, the company has a substantial variety of related products and services. This article will examine the variety of Greif’s offerings in great detail, as well as the usage of each product and service.
Intermediate Bulk Containers
Greif’s most well-known products are intermediate bulk containers or IBCs. These are typically large multi-purpose containers, often built with an integrated pallet base mount to enable the manipulation of the container within industrial environments. IBCs come in multiple forms, discussed in further detail below, and their construction is influenced by the type of material for which they will be used.
IBCs are used for the storage and transport of chemicals and materials: liquids, solids, pastes, and intermediate forms. The containers see use in a wide variety of industries because of their versatile nature and typically durable construction, allowing Greif to offer its services to a range of companies worldwide.
Flexible IBCs are made of heavy plastic, or alternately aluminum, fiberboard, and even wood. Unlike the more rigid varieties (described below), flexible IBCs (also referred to simply as “FIBCs”) are much more collapsible, affording them greater ease in storage or transport. Unlike the rigid IBCs, flexible IBCs are designed for storing and transporting dry goods, including flowable materials, such as gravel, plastic granules, fertilizer, sand, and similar materials. In form, these FIBCs resemble large bulk bags (and are sometimes referred to as such) and typically store up to one ton of material, although specialty FIBCs exist for the transport of greater material volumes.
FIBCs do offer several advantages over the rigid containers. They are much easier to transport and considerably less massive, with a 1000-kg-ready FIBC weighing scant pounds when completely empty. They can be collapsed and shipped as with any large bag, although they are less durable by nature than the rigid IBCs.
The term “intermediate bulk container” comes from the rigid IBC design, intended to hold more than traditional shipping drums but less than full-sized tankers. Most rigid IBCs are constructed from steel, plastic, or a composite of both, and hold several hundred gallons of material. Several different types of steel are used for IBCs, including stainless steel and carbon steel. Some varieties use special metal alloys specifically designed to store and transport hazardous materials (including those labeled as flammable).
Most rigid IBCs feature an integrated pallet base mount for use with forklifts, pallet jacks, and other maneuverability machine components.
Greif offers a wide variety of IBCs in both rigid and flexible forms. Their flexible options include 1-loop FIBCs (the loops being used for cranes and other lifting equipment), as well as up to 4-loop FIBCs and aggregates, for agricultural as well as construction purposes.
Greif’s rigid IBCs all favor the composite plastic cube variety, which is contained within a metal cage and is versatile enough to be used for different kinds of materials. These IBCs come with either wooden pallets, newer plastic pallets designed to better resist damage and industrial wear and tear, or a “hybrid” pallet designed to withstand stresses including static.
The company’s “IBC shield” container is designed with a stronger shield in mind for food and chemicals, protecting against gas permeation both into and out of the container. Similarly, Greif also offers a container designed to shield against electrostatic interferences.
Finally, Greif also produces an IBC designed for food storage, built-in compliance with all food packaging requirements and regulations. These bulk containers are produced in cleanroom environments, both produced and designed to reduce the risk of contamination.
EarthMinded Life Cycle Services
Related to their IBC production, Greif also offers IBC recovery and management through its EarthMinded services. The “Life Cycle” services are intended to recondition, remanufacture, and redistribute industrial packaging that no longer sees use. The company’s stated goal is to reintroduce industrial packaging back into the supply chain. These reintroduced containers are then offered at a discount compared to new containers.
Greif claims that its facilities and services in this area are unrivaled, and that their efforts exceed the regulations that govern reconditioning of industrial packaging. To support this endeavor, EarthMinded also offers customers verifiable reports about the benefits of recycling their industrial packaging this way. The service will also collect IBCs and drums from customers.
Expanded Horizons With Product Variation
While Greif is considered a global leader in IBCs, they also take a strong position with a multitude of different packaging products that span across numerous industries with a wide range of applications.
The company manufactures drums of steel, plastic, and fiber, each designed for different purposes. The drums come in small, intermediate (up to 42 gallons), and large sizes (52+ gallons). Body design comes in the traditional segments, as well as conical, with tight or open heads, and interiors plain or lacquered for the purposes of liquid storage. Some designs also contain agitators for built-in mixing functions, and Greif also makes bitumen drums (typically used to hold solidifying, cooled asphalt).
Plastic kegs and drums are typically used to transport liquids (both hazardous and non-hazardous), but also food products. Greif’s fiber drums are mostly used for loose or bagged contents, as well as wiring and tubing.
Greif produces jerrycans and bottles in a range of sizes. These polyethylene containers are used to hold liquid, most typically for agrochemical purposes.
Water jugs (of the type often seen in office-based water coolers) come in 10-20 liter capacities. The jugs are made of a polycarbonate or polyester resin.
Large shipping containers sometimes require woven liners to properly transport dry bulk materials. Greif produces these liners in different designs to improve the ease of loading and unloading the contents.
Corrugated Sheets and Specialty Products
Greif also offers corrugated packaging and coatings for transporting food products and specialty needs, including lamination and engineered coating solutions.
Greif’s containerboard is part of its Paper Mill Division’s products and comes in a variety of specialty products. The GreifGreenGuard is lined with a synthetic wax that makes it water-repellent and proof against degradation in storage. Greif also offers lightweight options.
The company produces sheets and rolls of recycled paperboard, coated to help protect and store consumer, food, and beverage products.
Tubes and Cores
Greif produces tubes and cores made from paperboard (recycled and non) for use in tape and film industries, as well as rolled turf products and specialty materials. Such specialty needs include rolled carpets, furniture moldings, and roofing.
For construction purposes, Greif manufactures tubes to protect concrete as it sets, as well as floor coverings meant to protect surfaces against elements.
Greif produces cartons, boxes, wraps, and foil treatments for consumer storage solutions, including food- and apparel-based industries.
Adhesives and Protective Packaging
Greif manufactures a substantial range of packaging adhesives. These include pastes, tapes, and winding adhesives, as well as carton adhesives for custom work.
The company also offers a selection of protective packaging, including roll headers and wraps, corner protectors, sleeves, and specialty coverings.
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