Bulk bags are used by a range of different industries to transport their goods safely, efficiently and without damage across the country or indeed internationally.
Food manufacturers, builders’ merchants, the farming industry, pet food makers and the chemical industry are just a few of the main users of this type of industrial packaging.
Bulk bags come in many shapes and sizes, but there are two main types: standard and baffle bags, or q-bags as they are sometimes called.
Standard bulk bags
The name implies that they are more common than other types and this is indeed true. They can come in a range of sizes, fabrics and styles. Some have loops attached, so they are easily transported and handled. Others have extra features for ease of use in different applications, such as funnels for filling or emptying, or even windows so that the contents can be inspected without opening.
What they all have in common is that they are constructed in the same basic manner; by being sewn together. Perfect for transporting a huge variety of materials from sand to dog food, they do, however, have one potential drawback.
Because they are made of a strong but soft material, standard bulk bags have a tendency to bulge out when full. Laden with sand, gravel, seed or fertiliser, for example, the standard bulk bag will naturally sag and become pear-shaped as the contents push on the bag walls.
While this is not normally a problem (no builder cares that their bulk bags look saggy on a customer’s driveway), in certain circumstances it can indeed create difficulties.
Standard bags are stackable for storage or shipping, but if they are bulging with contents they may not stack neatly and there is the possibility they may move or the contents may be damaged in some way. This is why baffle bags were invented.
These are constructed with internal baffles. These are extra panels fixed inside the bags which help the bag to keep its shape when filled. They are thus far more rigid, standing straight and erect even when filled with goods.
This type of industrial packaging is ideal for fine contents such as flour or pharmaceuticals. Baffle bags are easy to handle; they will stack and transport easily, and they prove to be more compact in storage, so can be packed more tightly into containers than the standard bags. This is important when shipping in bulk.
Their advantages over the standard bulk bag are clear. Because baffle bags can be stacked more efficiently, they attract lower transportation, storage and handling costs than standard bulk bags.
Their improved stability, which keeps the form unchanged even after filling, results in an improved payload of approximately 25%. And since they come in customer and environment-friendly packaging, there really are no losers.
Baffle bags were originally designed to ensure the user could hold the maximum volume of product within a given space such as a container for export, while keeping just within the size of a pallet to eliminate damage and, therefore, loss of product. They are arguably at the top of the tree in this area of industrial packaging.