Guide to Bulk Bag Loading Equipment

Bulk Bag Loading Equipment

Bulk bags, also known as flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs), are handy for transporting bulk materials. They are easy to lift by their loops, store on pallets and transport to their destinations.

But loading bulk bags can be a challenging task. Filling them by hand is difficult and can lead to spills. So specialized automated filling machines often become necessary to get the work done quickly and effectively.

How can your business select the right type of bulk bag loading equipment? In this guide, we discuss some of that equipment and lay out its pros and cons so you can make an informed choice.

The Different Bulk Bag Loading Systems

Below are a few of the different loading systems available for use in bulk bag filling stations:

1. Stand-Alone Fillers

The stand-alone filler is the most popular type of mechanized bulk bag filler. These fillers have a straightforward design, and they are intuitive and user-friendly to operate. They are also versatile enough to work in a variety of industries and applications.

The way these bulk bag loaders work is simple — they rely on gravity. The filler is positioned over the bulk bag, and then it deposits material directly into the bag below using a discharge hose. Often, employees can calibrate the flow of material. The filler can discharge large volumes to fill bags quickly, or it can release a slow trickle if the bag needs to hit a precise weight.

Most often, facilities use stand-alone fillers with spout top bags. The reason is that they can adjust the spout tops to fit snugly around the discharge hose to prevent spills and ensure a clean and efficient filling process. It’s quick and straightforward to attach the spout top to the hose, autofill the bag, stop the filler and detach the bag. Workers can then easily move the filled bag away and put an empty one in its place.

Stand-alone fillers are particularly useful if your facility already has a product moving system in place. They are also useful for facilities that need to fill their bulk bags on pallets for transport on forklifts or hand trucks.

Because of their dependability and foolproof operation, stand-alone fillers can safely reduce loading times across various processes and products, from sand and gravel to food products and construction materials.

2. Conveyor Fillers

Conveyor fillers offer a more complex and complete loading system than stand-alone fillers do. They can move products both horizontally and vertically, whereas stand-alone fillers can move products only vertically.

Fillers are great for filling bulk bags, but there’s also the question of how to fill the fillers. Because stand-alone fillers discharge material from above bulk bags, they require employees to load the material in the air, usually by putting it into storage containers above the machine. This process can be time-consuming, and it can also be hazardous if employees have not received proper training.

Conveyor fillers, on the other hand, act like a conveyor belt in addition to a loader. They can move the necessary material from ground level — or from any location in your facility — into the loader and from there into the bulk bags.

Conveyor fillers come in multiple different styles. The simplest of those styles are the flexible screw conveyors. Flexible screw conveyors work best if the facility creates a dumping site at floor level and collects the necessary material there. The flexible screw conveyor transports the material from the dumping site into the loader, and then it discharges the material from the loader into the bulk bag via a spout over the bag.

More advanced options for conveyor fillers include styles like modular tubular fillers. These fillers are much more sophisticated and complex than flexible screw conveyors. They are often specific to a particular facility, using exact details of the facility layout to move materials and pour them into bulk bags.

3. Pneumatic Systems

Pneumatic systems for bulk bag loading offer the most complex, comprehensive and rugged solution

Pneumatic systems for bulk bag loading offer the most complex, comprehensive and rugged solution. They are best suited for large-scale operations, though they can sometimes be useful in small spaces as well.

Pneumatic systems can transport enormous quantities of different types of materials, and they are designed to be able to move those materials all around your facility and ultimately into the waiting bulk bags. They do so by incorporating heavy-duty vacuum systems and industrial-strength pressurized blower systems to manage tremendous quantities of heavy materials with ease.

Pros and Cons of Different Bulk Bag Loading Systems

Here are a few of the pros and cons of these different super sack loading systems:

1. Stand-Alone Fillers

Stand-alone fillers are compact, versatile, simple and easy to use. They work extremely well for facilities that already have conveyor lines or other moving systems and merely need to add supporting equipment.

However, they are not as suitable for larger facilities with more complex demands. They also offer a more limited service, since they can passively discharge materials downward but cannot actively move them from place to place within your facility.

2. Conveyor Fillers

Conveyors fillers provide a more comprehensive system than stand-alone fillers. They offer the advantages of two systems in one — they can discharge materials vertically and use power to transport them horizontally. They come in a range of designs to help meet different facilities’ needs. And they can be safer to use because they don’t have to be filled from above.

However, conveyer fillers are not as straightforward to operate as stand-alone fillers, and they may not fit into smaller plants. They also don’t offer the complex range of capabilities of pneumatic systems.

3. Pneumatic Systems

Heavy-duty, sophisticated pneumatic systems offer a wealth of extra benefits. They are excellent for use in operations where sanitary conditions are a high priority, such as in food-processing services. Pneumatic systems are often fully enclosed, so they are highly effective in keeping contaminants out of the transported materials. They are also extremely dependable and easy to maintain, and they offer abundant opportunities for customization to fit a particular operation’s needs.

However, these systems can be bulky and may not fit in smaller or medium-sized spaces. They are complicated to use and may not offer much return on investment for facilities that need to fill smaller quantities of bags or work with only limited types of materials.

Choosing a Bulk Bag Loading System

When you’re buying bulk bag loading equipment, remember to take these pros and cons into consideration, and evaluate your business’s unique requirements. Be sure to take factors like these into account:

  • Whether the loading equipment will fit into your facility
  • Whether the equipment meets your budgetary needs
  • Whether the loader will effectively move the materials you need to transport
  • What types of materials you need to transport
  • How far you need to transport different products
  • How many bags you fill every day
  • Whether you already have an efficient moving system in place
  • Whether you have rigorous standards you must meet, such as sanitary requirements

Contact Bulk Bag Reclamation for All Your Reconditioned Bulk Bag Needs

To see the benefits of using bulk bags in your business and do your part for the environment at the same time, partner with Bulk Bag Reclamation. We help keep gently used bulk bags out of landfills by reconditioning them and sending them on to new facilities. Our open top bagsspout top bagsduffle top bags and baffled bags are clean, sturdy and reliable, and they work with all types of super sack loading equipment to help you streamline your filling operations.

Get the most out of your purchase by buying in bulk — you’ll save money and receive a supply of quality bags that can handle all your transport needs.

Contact us today to learn more.

Contact Bulk Bag Reclamation for All Your Reconditioned Bulk Bag Needs