Heavy duty UN-approved IBC for safe delivery of your chemicals
Today, Christophe Maricourt, our VARIBOX sales representative for the southern European markets, gives us some insight into the heavy-duty UN-approved IBC and the unique features offered by IBCs designed using the rotational moulding process. 1000 L IBCs are widely used in the distribution of chemical products, but are they all the same? You need an available IBC to deliver to a customer and your fleet is full of empty IBCs, which one should you choose?
Heavy-duty UN-approved IBC
The transport and ADR storage of hazardous liquids entail potential risks to health and the environment, and consequently high costs for companies in the event of an accident. IBC packaging containing chemicals must meet regulatory and structural criteria to guarantee safety and achieve logistical efficiency, optimizing resources. Below we explain in a little more detail why VARIBOX IBCs meet these compliance and safety criteria:
- 1. Compliance with regulations: each bulk container (IBC) placed on the market must comply with international and local regulations concerning the transport and storage of hazardous chemicals. In order to circulate freely on public roads, IBCs must be ADR-approved (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road). There are also national regulations specific to each country, such as the AWsV guidelines in Germany, PGS 31 and PGS 15 in the Netherlands, and APQ in Spain. VARIBOX IBCs comply with these requirements.
- 2. Raw material and manufacturing process: There are various techniques for converting plastic into packaging. The main processes used are thermoforming, injection moulding, blow moulding and rotational moulding. IBCs made from durable materials resistant to chemical attack, such as rotomoulded polyethylene, offer undeniable advantages in terms of resistance to intensive and repeated use. The high wall thicknesses of the inner container mean that IBCs can be fitted with high-quality, high-performance service equipment that is reliable over time, guaranteeing hermetic sealing and keeping hazardous liquids inside the containers. The heavy-duty UN-approved VARIBOX IBC is made from polyethylene using the rotational moulding process.
- 3. Service equipment: Gaskets, vents, and valves – we never get tired of talking about them! And with good reason, the quality and functionality of IBC service equipment are essential in preventing the risk of accidents in the workplace. Improperly used, poor-quality, or damaged equipment is often the source of spills that can lead to exposure to chemicals through inhalation or skin contact, directly affecting the health and safety of those handling them. IBCs must be fitted with an adequate ventilation system, depending on the chemical being packaged (vacuum vent, but sometimes also overpressure vent, particularly for sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide). It is essential to choose the right combination of seal material and chemical products. Which should you choose? Viton or EPDM? Asking the right questions also reduces the risk of accidents. Heavy-duty UN-approved VARIBOX IBC with automatic vents and robust valves. We can advise you on the choice of seals to use depending on your chemical product.
- 4. Colour code: We’re not often used to seeing a colourful IBC. In fact, it’s more usual to see it in a white inner bottle with a black palette! So why produce-coloured IBCs? What are the reasons or advantages of a blue, green, or yellow IBC? Is it a whim of the manufacturer or a desire to bring a little glamour to the chemical distribution industry? Anything is possible, but for the time being, the colour code does indeed have a safety-related function. Just like symbols, colours make things easier to understand. The different colours of the cover make it easy to identify an IBC. They also give you the option of choosing a colour according to the type of goods you carry or dedicating an IBC to a particular chemical product to avoid any incompatibility between the seal/vent and the packaged product. For example, an orange IBC for hydrochloric acid, and a blue one for sodium hypochlorite. The seals are also colour-coded. A green screw lid, a green valve handle, a green Safeline extractor tube, or a green coupler means that the IBC is equipped with Viton seals. If the colour of these elements is red, then it’s EPDM. At a glance, the operator can see and distinguish the configuration of his IBCs and choose the one best suited to packaging a particular chemical product. VARIBOX IBCs are available in a large range of colours.
- 5. Training: It is essential to follow good practice and raise the awareness of personnel involved in handling, loading, and unloading operations and maintenance of IBCs. Training operators help to anticipate errors and reduce incidents on-site or at customers’ premises. The aim is to define handling procedures and identify dangerous situations with IBCs. Know the storage and transport regulations that apply to IBCs. Know how to read the UN marking. Understand the difference between EPDM and Viton sealing materials and the different types of vents used. IBCs from different brands have similarities but also differences, and it is these differences that you need to master to prevent the risk of accidents. At VARIBOX, we provide training and assistance in the use of VARIBOX IBCs.
We stand together
We all stand to gain – manufacturers, distributors, and end-users – from bringing to market modern, innovative, safe, and durable heavy-duty UN-approved VARIBOX IBCs that meet your safety standards and are easy to use. The list of chemicals packaged in IBCs is extremely long, and their properties are often different, or even incompatible. Not all of them can be packaged in a single configuration IBC. As we have seen, there are PE chemical compatibilities, seals and vents to be taken into account, and specific regulations to be followed. The emphasis is on knowing the characteristics of IBCs and knowing how to differentiate between them in order to anticipate the potential risks of accidents during the handling and transport of your chemical products.