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How Much Weight Can FIBC/Bulk Bags Carry Safely?

How Much Weight Can FIBC/Bulk Bags Carry Safely - Qube UK

In this article we will be exploring how much weight FIBC bulk bags can safely carry.

Table of contents:

    Delving into the certain ways you can moderate your use of FIBC Bulk Bags.

    FIBC or bulk bags are an ideal way to move and store large quantities of material.

    They’re also referred to as flexitanks, big bags, or container bags.

    The maximum weight that these bags can safely transport varies based on the bag’s size and strength.

    The requirements for Occupational Health and Safety have evolved significantly during the last two centuries.

    Today’s employee enjoys a level of safety that was unimaginable just a few decades ago.

    Compared to what workers had to deal with at the start of the Industrial Revolution and prior.

    When a work-related major accident happens, it becomes national news.

    Even a minor mishap draws the attention of numerous government and commercial departments.

    They spring into action trying to identify where things went wrong.

    The goal of these organizations is to find out what went wrong, fix the mistakes that caused the accident, and communicate with all stakeholders.

    This is all part of the plan to prevent similar instances from occurring again.

    The consequences of a fatality at work are often much more severe.

    Every workplace procedure will be very closely examined.

    When it comes to bulk bags, the obvious hazard when handling and transporting such a heavy item is the product’s weight.

    A standard bulk bag can hold a weight of up to 1,000 kgs, or 2,205 pounds.

    Custom bulk bag designs can vary in weight capacities.

    When these tremendous weights are suspended in mid-air around employees and equipment, the importance of safety cannot be overstated.

    That’s where these FIBC (Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container) safety phrases come into play.

    Safe Working Load And Safety Factor

    The Safe Working Load (SWL) and Safety Factor (SF) are two concepts that often get confused.

    We’ll examine them separately so you can understand what they’re all about.

    These two phrases should be firmly in your vocabulary if you’re dealing with any quantity of bulk bags.

    The Safety Factor is sometimes known as the Safety Ratio since it is, after all, a ratio.

    The maximum safe weight lifting capacity of a bulk bag is its SWL (Safe Working Load).

    This implies that the bulk bag was created and built to meet those requirements.

    From the cloth’s thickness to the width of the lifting loops, everything was built to support that maximum weight.

    When you’re hauling around hundreds/ thousands of kilos, it’s not “just a bag”.

    Unsurprisingly, a 1,000-kg (2,205-lb) bulk bag should never be filled with any material greater than 1,000 kg.

    Safe Working Loads play a crucial role in allowing workers to calculate the total load their bags can safely lift.

    When a bag is forced to carry more weight than its SWL ability, it can result in significant workplace injuries or even fatalities.

    Knowing the SWL of your bags allows you to figure out how much product you can safely fill the bags with based on their bulk density.

    How Much Weight Can FIBC/Bulk Bags Carry Safely?

    When working on a large product with large amounts of material, the question ‘how much weight can a FIBC/ Bulk Carry Safely can prove to be very influential.

    Which is why it’s essential you get it right.

    Whether an employer or employee.

    The last thing you want, is to have played a part in a fatal incident that occurred due to poor judgement.

    Numbers never lie.

    How To Calculate A Safe Working Load

    The SWL of bulk bags is calculated as follows.

    You probably know that a yard contains 27 cubic feet.

    If you also know that wheat flour has a density of about 42 pounds per square foot, you can simply multiply 27 by 42 to get 1,134.

    1,134 is the total number of pounds that a cubic yard of wheat flour weighs.

    So a bag with a capacity of 2,200 pounds could safely contain a cubic yard of wheat flour.

    However, if you had 2 cubic yards of wheat flour, the combined weight would be 2,268 pounds.

    Despite the fact that 2,268 is only a little larger than 2,200, you should not put both cubic yards of flour into a single bag with an SWL of only 2,200.

    To guarantee the safety of your employees, you’ll need to separate the goods or utilize a bag with a higher rating.

    What Standards Establish Proper Safe Working Load and Safety Factor?

    The European Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association (EFIBCA) established Safety Factor standards for FIBCs in the 1980s.

    This was to help provide for safety in the workplace.

    More recently, the International Organisation for Standardisation’s cemented the criteria above to ensure quality, reliable bags and protect worker safety.

    How Safety Factor Is Determined

    To determine the safety and usability of a bag, manufacturers use what is known as the peak load test.

    During the peak load test, a bag with an SF of 5:1 should be able to endure five times the SWL after being used 30 times.

    If the bag fails at these conditions, it is not suitable for industrial or commercial usage.

    For example, say the SWL of a bag were 1000 lbs .

    If the bag could endure up to 5000 pounds of pressure, it would pass the test.

    Once the cyclic test was carried out with 2000 pounds of pressure 30 times.

    A bag with a SF of 6:1 should be able to withstand six times the SWL, implying that it will handle amounts ranging from 600 to 1,000 gallons.

    That’s after having been put through 70 cycles of three times the SWL.

    Because this test is more stringent, a bag that does not break before completing the test may be labeled as a multi-use bag.

    If the bag’s SWL were 1000 pounds, it would pass the 6:1 testing if it could withstand up to 6000 pounds of pressure.

    That’s after enduring the cyclic test at a pressure of 3000 pounds 70 times.

    Get In Touch

    When you need a safe, sturdy FIBC bag, Qube UK should be your first stop.

    Visit the Qube UK shop here.

    It’s our mission to make your bag buying experience easy, informative, and enjoyable.

    We also want to share our knowledge with you, so you can make the best purchasing decision for the company you represent.

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    FIBC Bags: 6 Frequently Asked Questions

    FIBC Bags: 6 Frequently Asked Questions by Qube UK

    In this article we answer the most frequently asked questions surrounding Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers/ FIBC Bags.

    With the constant development of the construction industry FIBC Bags are being more frequently used on a daily basis.

    FIBC Bags are typically used for materials that are too light to have enough weight to be handled by traditional conveyors.

    They can carry everything from granules and powdered products to super-lightweight powders.

    Manufactures make the bags in all standard sizes that are able to carry materials that won’t damage the FIBC bag.

    Bags are available with different types of valves for product discharge, dust extraction, sealing etc.

    Depending on where the source of the bags is from they can also be custom made to specific customer request.

    Table of contents:

      6 Frequently Asked Questions:

      Below is a list of the questions we commonly see on a regular basis that you too may also have.

      We hope they help you understand FIBC Bags a little better.

      Giving you enough insight to have FIBC Bag questions of your own answered too if it’s required.

      If you’re looking to purchase FIBC Bags visit the Qube UK shop here.

      1) Are Bulk Bags Recyclable?

      Simply said, FIBCs are composed of 100% polypropylene and can be recycled.

      One exception to the above is that most recyclers only accept large amounts of garbage.

      Often FIBCs are not accepted in your normal recycling containers.

      The bag may contain materials that cannot be recycled for reuse directly.

      However, they can still be ground up and used as filler material to create new FIBC bags.

      The scraps can also be melted down and used to create FIBCs under the new FIBC bag specifications.

      FIBC bags are sufficiently strong and can be cleaned.

      This means they can also be used for other shipping applications after their original use has been fulfilled.

      2) How Much Product Can a Bulk Bag Hold?

      Jumbo bags are designed to carry loads of up to 4,000 pounds.

      They’re made to have a Safe Working Load (SWL) meaning they can sustain between 1,000 to 4,000 pounds load.

      A few specialized bags can carry up to 5,000 pounds, but they are rare and difficult to come by.

      There are 2 main FIBC Bag specifications to consider for new FIBC Bag purchses

      The first specification is Strap Specification, or Strap Tear using the ISO 11992-1 standard.

      This specification is the means by which FIBC bags are tested for strap tear resistance.

      The second FIBC Bag Specification to consider is FIBC Dust Test.

      This allows us to know how much dust can pass through each FIBC bag.

      The dust test is conducted using the ISO 14688 standard.

      Bags that meet FIBC dust tests are usually suitable for bulk solid materials that produce a lot of dust when in transport or when in storage.

      3) Can FIBCs Be Reused?

      Bags may be reused under specific conditions.

      The bag must be intended and tested for multiple uses.

      This reuse certification varies based on specific conditions.

      The FIBC bags must be in good physical condition with no visible defects.

      Bags must have an SFR of 6:1 in order to be reused.

      For more information on FIBC Bags visit Qube UK here (

      4) What Is The Difference Between U-Panel, Circular, & 4-Panel bulk bags?

      U-Panel Bags

      U-panel bags are created using three body panels.

      One of the panels runs the full length of the bag.

      The bottom of the pouch is made out of two more pieces of fabric sewn into the larger piece, giving it four sides.

      When filled, the U-panel bags will preserve a rectangular form similar to other construction types.

      Especially a U-panel bag with baffles.

      U-panel bags are an industry standard.

      They’re the most common of their kind, with high safe working loads (SWLs) and long-lasting quality.

      Circular Bags

      Circular bags on the other hand adopt a slightly different design.

      They’re comprised of a tubular piece of fabric that wraps around all four sides of the bag for stitching only on the top and bottom.

      Although the fabric is tubular, when filled, the circular baffle bag has the shape similar to that of a square bag.

      When a circular bag is filled, there’s a widespread misconception about regarding it’s shape.

      They’re simply made out of a single piece of fabric that encloses all four sides of the bag.

      The fabric of a 4-panel bag is made from four separate pieces that are stitched together to form a square structure.

      4-Panel Bags

      A 4-panel bag will maintain its square form when filled, similar to that of other construction materials.

      4-panel bags tend to keep their form better than U-panel bags, and U-panel bags hold their form better than circular bags.

      The main disadvantage of 4-panel bags is their higher volume of stitching required to keep the bag together.

      This might allow for a larger number of bag components that are susceptible to failure.

      4-panel bags, on the other hand, are great for storage since they retain their form when packed.

      Each design comes with both its advantages and disadvantages.

      Depending on the job it’s essential to select the most suitable design for you.

      5) What is the Coating or Laminate on a Bulk Bag?

      The laminate is a second polypropylene film that serves as a coating.

      The film is applied to the bag’s fabric, filling in the tiny gaps in the poly weaves.

      This film may be applied on both the inside and outside of the bag.

      A sealant or laminate applied to the walls also functions as a moisture barrier.

      For some applications, a poly liner is a superior option for protecting the contents.

      The bag will not be completely waterproof regardless of whether it is coated or has a liner.

      6) What Does 5:1 and 6:1 SF Mean?

      All woven polypropylene bags are intended to be used only once.

      When single use bags are rated against the Safety Factor Ratio (SFR), they score a 5:1.

      This means that they can carry five times their rated safe working load (SWL).

      We advise against filling a bag above its safe operating load for safety reasons.

      For multiple uses, some woven polypropylene FIBCs are produced specifically.

      Multiple usage/multiple trip bags are designed to carry up to six times their safe working load and can sustain 6:1 safety factor ratio.

      As previously stated, we do not recommend filling a bag to its safe operating load due to safety reasons.

      To Summarise: FIBC Bags: 6 Frequently Asked Questions

      Having now come to the end of this article we hope we answered any questions you sought after before reading.

      We have covered a range of topics and talking points hopefully widening your knowledge.

      Thank you for reading FIBC Bags: 6 Frequently Asked Questions.

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