Bigger Is Better

Oct. 1, 2002
The adage that good things come in small packages doesn't ring true when you're moving bulk items -- and more companies are doing just that.

One of the tenets of material handling is to move the most material possible with the least amount of touching. Therein lies the success of the pallet — and the bulk container. The bulk container takes that tenet to another level of success if the container is reusable. Collapsible bulk containers have proven to reduce storage space as well as freight costs in agricultural applications, food distribution and general manufacturing.

BulkPak Express Bins (at left) from Orbis, made from high-density polyethylene, are based on a 48” x 40” footprint to fit standard grocery pallets, and feature rounded inside corners and smooth interior surfaces. They are designed for light to medium product loads up to 1,500 pounds. Containers can be ordered with ventilated or solid bases and sides.

Big is a relative term, and at this year’s material handling show, NA 2002, it was evident that plastic container manufacturers would build ‘em as big as the customer needed. Buckhorn offers its Extended Length Bulk Box style (above) in a variety of sizes. The solid, one-piece base, along with drop door options on the long or end walls, make these containers the choice for large, hard-to-manage products such as automobile tires.

The long sides of the box fold in first and are covered by the end pieces, preventing wall bowing during storage and return shipping.

If you’re looking for a combination of strength and flexibility, solid steel containers, like those from Cherry’s Industrial or American Bulk Containers, a division of AWP Industries, are capable of holding up to 4,000 pounds. These containers are nearly impregnable and collapse at a 2.3:1 ratio for return shipping.

Collapsible wire mesh containers have been around for many years and have seen duty in industries as varied as clothing manufacture to forging. Wire mesh containers, such as those made by Cargotainer, ITC Manufacturing and Carico Systems, offer high visibility of the products, light weight and easy customization for specific applications.

A new technology for food processors and oil producers that need steel drums on demand is offered by Greif Brothers Corporation. A “knock-down” steel drum kit quickly converts to a fully assembled drum for bulk shipping in four steps. The process of storing nested drum bodies conserves space; 900 to 3,000 drum kits can be shipped in a 40-foot shipping container, saving 90 percent of the shipping costs when compared with fully assembled drums.

Shipping in bulk bags might seem like an easy task; however, the inside of the bag is as important as the outside. The Spread Strap container design maintains its square shape without interior baffles because of its lift loop construction and special side seams.

No matter what you’re manufacturing or shipping — machined parts, textiles, agricultural products or loose resins — there’s a bulk container available that can save you time and money. MHM