Bulk bags are immensely popular, being used in a wide range of industries, and are an extremely efficient and easy to use industrial packaging for transporting and storing a huge number of bulky materials.
However, it is essential for anyone using bulk bags to understand not only the manner in which they should be stored, filled and emptied, but also how to lift and transport them safely, in order to minimise the risk of damage to the contents and injury to the handlers.
Naturally, the exact methods used are determined not only by what equipment is being used but also by the contents of the bag and the exact type of bag itself. If you want to know more than this basic guide, take a look at the guidelines issued by the Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association (FIBCA).
The most important piece of advice issued to those lifting and moving bulk bags is to always lift the bag by all of its lift loops. The loops have been specially designed to ensure that the weight of a filled bag is evenly distributed when all of the loops are used.
Using fewer than the total number of loops or sleeves the bag has been designed for will place an undue amount of stress on the material, and is likely to cause damage or even failure of the bag. This will make the load a potential hazard, which could cause an accident or result in the loss of your load.
If you are lifting a bag using a forklift, hoist or crane, there are a number of guidelines to follow. The most obvious one, of course, is that whichever equipment you are using must be suitable for the job – and that means it has the capacity to support a bulk bag filled to its limit.
In addition, it is essential that the crane hooks or forklift tines are checked to ensure they do not have any sharp edges which may tear or otherwise damage the bag. Hooks, bars and tines must be of the correct size to deal with the lifting and should have rounded edges.
Ensure the sleeves or lift loops are vertical and that they don’t have any overlaps, knots or twists in them which could cause damage during the operation. Naturally, any pallets used must be of the correct size for the bag.
If using a forklift or crane, it is important that the driver of the lifting vehicle has a clear view of the bag, and that everyone else is kept clear of the immediate area, to prevent any accidents. The driver should ensure the bag is kept close to the vehicle and transported as low as possible – if the bag is carried up too high, it can make a forklift unstable and cause it to tilt. it should go without saying that you should never drag a bulk bag because this will damage it.
If you store, fill, empty and lift your bulk bags in the correct way every time, this type of industrial packaging will last a long time and provide you with an economical, protective and safe way to store and transport all manner of goods.