Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC)

Definition - What does Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) mean?

An intermediate bulk container (IBC) is a type of container that is used to transport liquids, pastes and solids. An intermediate bulk container can be made out of many different materials. It is termed “intermediate” because it is bigger than a drum, but smaller than a tank.

To prevent corrosion, a coating applicator may transport a coating substance in an intermediate bulk container prior to spraying.

Corrosionpedia explains Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC)

An intermediate bulk container can be used to move a wide range of materials. In the chemical industry, intermediate bulk containers may be used to transport different types of powders that are used as ingredients for a chemical compound, or they may be used to contain a liquid that acts as a catalyst to speed up chemical reactions. Intermediate bulk containers are used in the oil & gas industry to transport samples of a given well extraction or for emergency water for extremely remote jobs. They may be used at airports to contain and transport deicing chemicals. These are only a handful of applications for intermediate bulk containers.

The containers are made from a vast array of materials. Metals such as aluminum, steel and stainless steel are frequently used. For operations subject to high temperature or especially dangerous or corrosive liquids, even more costly metals may be used to make an intermediate bulk container. For less rigid and sometimes less costly containers, polymers are used as the construction material.

Designed to be transported, they are typically stackable or outfitted with slots for forklifts and other material handling devices. Some containers, especially those made of a polymer material, are manufactured to be flexible or foldable, allowing the owner to save shipping space when they are empty.

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