IBC’s Storage, Transporting and Reconditioning.

IBC’s or intermediate bulk containers are cube-shaped vessels used to transport and store food products and hazardous materials. They are made from industrial-grade plastic and hold up to 1000 litres of materials.  Intermediate bulk containers are recyclable and easier to store than traditional barrels and cans due to their regular shape.

Intermediate bulk containers are a fairly new innovation and were only patented in 1993 by Oliver J H Hollender, a Belgium inventor. IBC’s are airtight which makes transporting dangerous chemical safer and prevents food from becoming contaminated.  The many benefits of IBC’s results in them being used instead of barrels.

IBC’s are reusable and are effectively cleaned using IBC reconditioning systems which remove all residue left in the containers.  Plastic IBC’s are cheaper to purchase than metal barrels making them extremely cost-effective. Intermediate bulk containers Load easily on to trucks and can be transported around the warehouse on pallets. 

IBC’s And Transport Regulations

It is important to adhere to the strict regulations relating to IBC’s and the transportation of hazardous waste.  The Department of Transport has laid out very clear guidelines regarding using Intermediate bulk containers to transport chemicals and hazardous waste. Natural Resources Wales has also produced a very comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure IBC’s are stored and transported correctly.

Storing IBC’s And Hazardous Waste

Storing hazardous materials requires a great deal of planning and organisation to avoid spillage and leaks. The following guidelines from Natural Resources Wales ar not yet regulated but still provide sound advice for storing hazardous and chemical waste.  Here are some of their suggestions:-

  • Label materials clearly.
  • Keep an up to date inventory.
  • Make sure the IBC’s are fit to do their job.
  • Take precautions regarding the storage of hazardous substances.
  • Separate different substances to prevent them from mixing.
  • Store in neutral conditions avoiding extreme heat or cold.
  • Store away from drainage systems groundwater, surface water and vehicle routes.

An up to date inventory should include:-

  • Product types.
  • Trade names.
  • UN numbers.
  • COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Data).
  • Volumes.
  • Location on-site or within the store.

IBC’s Reconditioning Systems

IBC’s can be used a number of times as long as they have been thoroughly cleaned and dried.  This is achieved with the use of IBC’s reconditioning systems. These are systems that are specifically designed to clean IBC’s.  There are two parts to the IBC reconditioning system the first is an automatic drying system and the second an automatic washing system. 

Automatic Washing and Drying Systems

The automatic washing systems washes and drains the inside of IBC’s.  It is a modular system which involves the IBC’s being transported to each station using pneumatics. The clean IBC’s move on to the drying station where they are thoroughly dried and prepared for reuse. 

Companies who use a large number of IBC’s may invest in an IBC reconditing system to make recycling their containers more cost-effective.  They may also offer a reconditioning service for smaller companies which will bring in more revenue.

If you would like to find out more about our IBC’s reconditioning system contact us and we would be happy to discuss it with you.

What Are The Benefits Of IBCs?

IBCs are Intermediate Bulk Containers which are used to transport and store a range of solid and liquids.  They are generally made from industrial grade plastic and are either rigid or flexible. Their cube shape design makes them easier to store than cylindrical barrels.  IBCs are able to hold up to 1000 litres of materials and are available in smaller sizes. It is easy to clean IBCs using IBC reconditioning systems making them reusable and economical for transport companies.

The main uses of IBCs are to transport; chemicals, raw materials, granulated food, food syrups, petrochemical products, rain water, paints, pharmaceutical compounds, biological waste and wine.  It is vitally important to remove all traces and residue of previous loads to reuse the IBCs. Large haulage companies have their own IBC reconditioning systems on site while smaller businesses use reconditioning services.

Intermediate bulk containers are a fairly new invention as they were only patented in 1993 by Belgium inventor Olivier J. L. D’Hollander.  There are so many positives to using them that they are quickly replacing traditional cans and barrels.  One of the major advantages is that they are dust tight preventing contamination and leakage.

The Advantages Of IBCs

IBCs have many advantages over traditional barrels and other cylindrical transport containers.  These include; efficient storage, time saving, reduces waste and recyclable.

Intermediate bulk containers are cube shape making storing large quantities easier due to their tessellating shape.  Loading and loading – IBCs are easier to load on pallet stacks and fork lift trucks due to their regular shape. This saves time and effort which is essential for and distribution company. They are able to contain a large capacity of product reducing the number of containers required reducing waste. All containers have a residue left which increases with the number of containers used. IBC reconditioning systems enable IBCs to be used numerous times which is good for the environment and company budgets.

IBC Reconditioning Systems

IBC reconditioning systems thoroughly clean and dry the tanks so they can be reused.  Challenger has two automated systems to clean IBCs. The first washes and rinses while the second dries the IBCs.   

Automatic Drying System

Challenger’s automatic IBC drying system is designed to be loaded at one end and automatically trancers IBCs between each process station.  The transfer system uses pneumatics to move the IBC in place. Once it is firmly in place the drying is system is activated. An operator controls the system using a control panel allowing any necessary changes to the processing time.  A galvanised steel manifold directs the the hot air into each of the air nozzles. The hot air supply is to be organised by the client unless they request further additions to their order. Other options available include; infeed and outfeed conveyors and hoists, tilt stations, operator platforms and walkways.

Automatic Washing System

Challenger’s automatic IBC washing system washes, drains and rinces used IBCs internally and externally for reuse.  The walking beam conveying system ensures the IBCs are in the correct position for the washing process to begin. Each is system is made of modules which are expandable in order to incorporate additional features in the future.  The system consists of two parts. First of all the IBC is drained followed by the washing process involving four jets of steaming hot water. This ensures all areas of the tank are thoroughly cleaned and ready for the drying process.
If you would like to find out more about Challenger’s IBC reconditioning system contact us and we would be happy to discuss your options.

What Are IBCs Used For?

IBCs stands for Intermediate Bulk Containers which store and transport liquids and powders.   They are large robust containers made from reusable white industrial grade plastic usually attached to a pallet. The cube shape makes them easy to store and transport than the conventional barrel containers.

Reconditioning stations clean the remaining contents of the IBC and prepare them for reuse.  This is cost effective for companies who are able to use the same IBCs over and over again. Reconditioning also provides business opportunities for companies to hire out IBCs to transport companies.

The most common sizes of IBCs are 1000 litres and 1250 litres.  IBCs that are not reusable because they have reached the end of life are being made into interesting objects by people who acquire them. Intermediate Bulk Containers play a major role in all of our lives because we wouldn’t be able to transport goods as easily without them.

What Are Intermediate Bulk Containers?

IBCs are essentially big plastic boxes used to transport and store a wide range of substances effectively and efficiently.  They are a worthy replacement for the traditional barrels due to their reusability and symmetrical shape. Intermediate bulk containers store and transport the following materials; chemicals, commodities, liquid or powdered food ingredients, syrups, solvents, rainwater and paints.

Reconditioning systems increase the lifespan of IBCs by making them reusable. The Challenger Drumtech IBC Reprocessing Line washes, rinses and dries IBCs.  Washing them completely removes labels and any remaining contents. After going through the process the IBCs are ready to be used again for new and completely different materials.  It is important to test the containers before reuse to ensure they are still in good condition.

What Else Can IBCs Be Used For?

This is where IBCs get really exciting and creative.  The huge white square plastic boxes are the inspiration for a whole Pinterest page on, ‘Creative Ideas For IBC Container’.  Innovative ideas range from; whelping boxes to plunge pools, aquaponics to chicken coops and hot tubs to shelters for goats.


Aquaponics is the growing of fish and soilless aquatic plants in one integrated system. The plants and fish live together in harmony with fish waste providing food for the plants and the plants keeping the water aerated. Nitrifying bacteria converts the ammonia from the fish waste into nitrates which help plants to grow. This perfect ecosystem allows people to harvest both fish and plants from their own garden. (Source: theaquaponicsource.com).

Whelping Boxes

Whelping boxes are nesting pens where pregnant dogs give birth and care for their young puppies. The sides of the box are tall enough to prevent the puppies from escaping but low enough to let the mother leave the box easily. IBCs are the perfect shape and size to make a whelping box.  It is simple to cut the box into shape and it is light enough to move around the house.

Hot Tubs

Hot tubes are very popular at the moment because they allow people to enjoy a relaxing experience in the comfort of their own gardens. People are adapting IBCs to make homemade hot tubs using pallets and linings.

Light Displays

The transparent nature of IBCs provides the perfect opportunity to produce impressive light displays.  IBCs are arranged in different formations and illuminated with different coloured lights. The result is an eye-catching display

Intermediate bulk containers are not only effective ways to transport different substances they are also reusable.  The life of an IBC doesn’t end once it is no longer in service as there are many different uses for them in everyday life.

If you would like to find out more about IBCs and our reconditioning system contact us and we would be happy to help.