FIBC bags are a practical choice for many industries. These heavy-duty containers streamline everyday processes and can generate significant savings when handling, storing, and shipping materials. However, it’s important to consider manufacturer guidance when using a flexible intermediate bulk container.
What’s the difference between single-trip vs multi-trip bulk bags? If you’ve been using bulk bags for some time now, you’ll have no doubt noticed that some are marketed with the FIBC class “Single Trip”, while others are manufactured with “Multi Trip” applications in mind. These classifications relate to the safe working loads of FIBCs and give you a clear idea of the capabilities of your bulk bags and how long they can be utilized before needing to be retired from use or recycled.
It’s important that you understand the differences between 5:1 and 6:1 bulk bags. Although they look similar, structural integrity varies considerably and they can’t be used interchangeably. Need some help finding the right bulk bag for your requirements?
Read on to find out what you need to know about safe working loads, safety factor ratios, and the importance of testing to ensure you’re making the right choice for your application
If you’ve only recently started using FIBC bulk bags, Safe Working Load (SFL) might be causing some confusion. Safe Working Load refers to the maximum amount of material a bulk bag can carry without structural integrity becoming compromised. When a bulk bag is overfilled, the seams that hold individual panels in place can become stressed, leading to breakage. Even if you’re using FIBCs as a storage solution, this can result in material leakage. If you’re actively transporting goods in bulk bags, stressed seams and damaged fabric can lead to an accident, risking the health and well-being of employees.
FIBCs with a 5:1 safety factor are designed with lighter loads in mind. Understanding safety factor ratios is straightforward enough. FIBCs with a safety factor ratio of 5:1 have been tested to ensure they can accommodate loads five times their safe working load. Meanwhile, 6:1 FIBCs have been tested to ensure they can carry up to six times their safe working load. However, these tests and safety factor ratios shouldn’t be seen as an invitation to push a bag beyond its limits. Any attempt to overfill a bulk bag brings risks and compromises workplace safety.
Every type of FIBC bulk bag is a sensible investment for any business. Once you’ve made the switch from rigid containers or corrugated cardboard packaging, you’ll quickly realize the time and cost-saving benefits of FIBCs. However, companies operating in certain industries may want to weigh up the pros and cons of multi-trip and single-trip bulk bags if they’re concerned about the bottom line.
Any bulk bag with a 5:1 safety factor ratio should only be used for a single trip. This is considered the industry standard. There’s no set limit on the number of times a single-trip bag can be filled, loaded, and lifted. There is also no limit on how long a 5:1 bulk bag can be stored. However, filling and discharging should only happen once.
FIBCs with a 6:1 safety factor ratio can be used up to six times before being retired from use or recycled. They’re far stronger than standard FIBCs, with thicker fabric and reinforced lifting loops. However, you’ll need to follow strict guidelines if you plan on using a 6:1 FIBC multiple times. Multi-trip bags should undergo thorough cleaning after every use, while components like liners, web ties, and labels will need to be replaced before putting them back into action.
It’s also important to inspect 6:1 bulk bags before reusing them. If lifting loops show signs of wear and tear, it’s best to remove a bag from circulation. The same applies if there is any evidence of moisture intrusion or contamination. Even if bags pass inspection with flying colors, you’ll need to keep track of how multi-trip bulk bags are being used. This record should include details about the origin of the bag itself, along with what materials it has stored and transported previously. Furthermore, you’ll need to constantly update how many times the bag has been used.
As with any bulk bag you’re actively using, multi-trip FIBCs may need to undergo random testing. The frequency and extent of testing varies depending on the manufacturer. Ultimately, multi-trip bulk bags are a cost-effective alternative to single-use ones. The cost-saving benefits of multi-trip FIBCs begin to kick in after their second use. As you’re depending less on fresh packaging, they’re also a far more sustainable choice.
Although multi-trip FIBCs make more sense economically, there are certain situations where they can’t be used. If there’s a risk of cross-contamination, single-use bags are the only option. What’s more, they’re the preferred choice in several industries. Many agricultural applications call for food-grade bulk bags, while general food processing facilities will also need to use single-trip bags.
In other situations, single-trip bags can prove to be a better long-term investment than multi-trip ones. If contents need to be stored for a considerable amount of time, it makes more sense to use single-trip bags than multi-trip ones.
Although multi-trip bags are designed with repeated use in mind, they should only ever be put to use in closed-loop systems. Furthermore, you can’t change applications between uses. If you’re using a bag with a 6:1 safety factor ratio to handle a particular product, it can only be used to transport or store the same product in the future.
When choosing between single-trip and multi-trip FIBCs, always use the Safe Working Load as a reference point. Those 5:1 and 6:1 safety factor ratios aren’t just there as a general guideline but serve as a steadfast rule that needs to be followed. There’s no scope for deviation here. Single-trip bags with a 5:1 safety factor ratio should never be pushed beyond their limits. If you attempt to use one of these bulk bags more than once, you run the risk of causing an accident which can result in costly damage to products, injury to employees, or even a fatality.
Multi-trip bags are generally considered a better long-term investment. If they’re used correctly and guidelines are followed to the letter, bags with a 6:1 safety factor ratio can start generating a return as early as their second use. However, you need to be regimental when using them. They can only be used to transport and store the same type of product every time, while you’ll also need to keep detailed records of use for reference.
Even then, multi-trip bags need to be monitored for signs of damage and tested for performance. Some reconditioning is allowable, but only components like labels, cord locks, and web ties should be replaced. As with single-trip FIBCs, accidents can happen if you fail to follow safe handling guidelines when using multi-trip bulk bags. If you are responsible with 6:1 bulk bags, multi-trip FIBCs are a more sustainable choice. As you’re relying less on newly manufactured solutions, you’re making your operation more eco-friendly and reducing your carbon footprint.
Both single-trip and multi-trip FIBCs have pros and cons. Ultimately, you need to consider your particular industry, applications, and the products you typically handle. Have you already made your decision? If you’re looking for a reliable FIBC manufacturer and distributor, Codefine is on hand to help.
For more than 60 years, we’ve been providing global brands simplify their operation with innovative packaging solutions. Whether you’re looking for single-trip bags for use in the food processing sector or want to embrace the cost-saving benefits of multi-trip FIBCs, you’ll find plenty of premium solutions in our extensive product range.
Ready to reap the rewards of this versatile packaging solution? Get in touch with Codefine today.