A Quick History of Bulk Bags
Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBCs), also known as bulk bags, big bags, supersacks, and bulk sacks are commonly used today to store and ship a wide range of industrial products throughout the world. But they haven’t always been the staple they are today.
The Beginning of Bulk Bags
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when or where bulk bags were invented or originally produced, but history suggests their early usage began sometime between 1955 and 1965. During this time, bulk bags gained popularity in Japan and Europe before eventually being introduced to the U.S.
Despite their usefulness, it wasn’t until the 1973 oil crisis when bulk bags usage would grow rapidly. Because of the crisis, the oil-producing countries in the Middle East required large quantities of cement (30,000-50,000 tons per week) that were shipped from Europe to support the countries building programs. The most economical method for transferring this material was FIBCs.
Introduction to the U.S., the Super Sack
Most folks in the bulk bag industry would agree that Mr. Robert “Bob” Williamson, the founder of BAG Corp and an industry pioneer, was responsible for the introduction of bulk bags into the U.S. and their eventual adoption across a wide range of applications throughout the country.
Mr. Williamson observed that the agricultural industry was struggling with inefficiency and expensive crop-dusting product handling methods. Recognizing that an FIBC was a much more efficient method for handling these products, bulk bags were introduced to the application and the SuperSack was eventually created. Since it’s being trademarked, the name SuperSack has become the most used term for the FIBC container throughout the world.
Growth throughout the U.S.
Even though the SuperSack was gaining popularity, the demand for FIBCs in the United States grew slower at a rate slower than in Europe. That all changed in 1984 when the U.S. DOT agreed to grant exemptions for the shipment of hazardous products in FIBCs. Performance standards for FIBCs were established and issued by the Chemical Packaging Committee of the Packaging Institute, USA which were used to obtain exemptions until the DOT included flexible containers in the Title 49 CFR for use with hazardous products.
Why Bulk Bags are So Popular Today
So how is it that bulk bags have stood the test of time? The answer is simple: they have a lot of features that make using them easy and cost-effective. They’re customizable and can be folded flat so that they can be easily and efficiently stored and shipped. Bulk bags are also easy to fill, store, and weigh only a few pounds but can hold a literal ton of product. They are also easy to use for workers—and when they’re done can be easily disposed of or recyclable.
Bulk Bags Evolving Over Time
Bulk bags are so popular that they have many different sub-types now. There are super sacks which can even more material than a typical bulk bag, and sand bags which are used to transport masonry sand and dirt. But it’s important to remember that all bulk bags can be customized to your specific needs.
Bulk Bags in the Future
We anticipate that bulk bags will continue to be in high demand for years to come. The world is rapidly industrializing, and bulk bags are an essential part of major construction projects—which means that they are more in demand than ever. In addition, bulk bags are now being used in a wider variety of industries, such as the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, construction, chemical, and fertilizer industries.
Bulk bags may not have been popular when they first debuted over half a century ago—but it’s hard to imagine doing a project without them today.
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