Bulk bags are indispensable for industries that work with dry bulk goods such as flour, sugar, salt, medications and chemicals.
Also known as FIBCs or Super Sacks®, bulk bags offer a number of advantages over alternatives such as gaylord boxes or small bags. But to fully enjoy the benefits of bulk bags, operators must be careful to use them according to well-established safe handling guidelines.
It’s also essential to invest in proper bulk bag handling equipment to ensure safe and cost-efficient operations. Here are seven criteria to consider when selecting bulk bag unloaders, fillers, lifting adapters and other equipment for handling Super Sacks®.
#1: A Knowledgeable Team
Look for a manufacturer who understands what end users and their customers need and expect from bulk bags and machinery. Equipment that’s built around standard bag design will keep you from overspending on special bags over the life of the machine. You should also choose equipment designed with bag limitations in mind.
For example, FormPak was a manufacturers’ rep for BAG Corp. for over 20 years. That gives us a wealth of first-hand experience in specifying and supplying bags to end users, and a deep understanding of bag design.
Another big thing to look for is open communication. At FormPak, our customer partners enjoy regular, direct contact with our owners, Mike Owens in Sales and Larry Markos in Engineering. In fact, both of our cell numbers are listed on the Contact page of our website.
#2: Heavy-Duty Construction
In attempting to maintain a high margin, many industrial machinery manufacturers will shave material costs. All too often that translates into less steel and lighter, often less durable, construction.
Heavier built equipment means greater longevity, better safety and lower operating costs over the life of the unit. You want something that’ll hold up when bumped by forklifts and withstand other rigors of the job. That means a much improved experience for your operators. Plus, it just looks more rugged!
Our philosophy at FormPak is if a 3” tube is good but marginal, we’ll bump it up to a 4” tube. All of our products include at least ¼” wall tube steel. By comparison, many of our competitors only use 3/16” thickness or less, and tube sizes are often 2.5” or less.
#3: Customizable Design
In the bulk bag handling world, many companies work with highly specialized products and applications that demand custom designs. It’s absolutely critical to partner with qualified engineers and designers who can develop a solution that’s tailored to your exact specifications.
Larry Markos, a Certified Professional Engineer and head of engineering at FormPak, has nearly three decades of experience creating high-performance products. All of our outstanding field representatives, engineers and designers work closely with clients to build customized equipment for a wide range of unique applications.
#4: System Integration
Along with knowledge of bag design, your equipment manufacturer should possess a thorough understanding of up- and downstream equipment and components. That facilitates the integration of components and delivery of turn-key systems. Examples include mechanical and pneumatic conveying systems, scales and batching systems, size reduction and screening, screw and vibratory feeders and more.
Prior to starting our equipment fabrication plant, FormPak sold a variety of process and packaging equipment as manufacturers’ reps. That gives us a high level of specialized insight for developing fully integrated components throughout the system. On top of that, our designs are adjustable. That lets you tailor your application today and in the future as bag manufacturers and suppliers change over time.
#5: Easy Shipping & Installation
Look for equipment that’s built for a headache-free delivery and installation experience. Each unit must be easy to ship, locate to the application site and erect or install. Your manufacturer should fully integrate scales, hoists, valves and other components into support frames for you, prior to shipping. That saves you the time and trouble of having to install these items yourself!
This type of componentization allows FormPak to pre-stock standard bag fillers, lifting bars and unloaders. For bags in the “standard” footprint range of 35” x 35” x 35” x 65”, we probably have a system available through our Quik-Ship program.
#6: Customer Support
Your equipment must be backed by knowledgeable experts who are ready to answer your questions, help with troubleshooting and provide other support as needed. That includes a great group of start-up and installation technicians available on an hourly or daily basis.
At FormPak, we are proud of our outstanding team of professionals who are available to any customer for support at any time: Owner and Head of Engineering Larry Markos, Business Manager Mike Fritz, Operations Manager Robert Contreras and Purchasing Manager Brian Beirne.
#7: Pricing Transparency
Ah, the 5-letter word — price! When purchasing bulk bag equipment, you deserve to know, right up front, how much you’re paying and what you’re getting for that price. At FormPak, we publish our pricing for standard systems right on our website, for our customers and all the world to see. No secrets, no special pricing for certain customers, nothing hidden.
Even better news? On apples-to-apples products, we are priced below our competitors. Why? Because we do almost no print advertising and use instead only small trade magazines and the internet. This better serves our business model, and it enables us to deliver a better, heavier-duty, product to our customers. Some of our competitors spend in excess of $1 million per year in advertising. And the customer always pays for advertising – either in price or in quality!
The most significant difference in working with FormPak is our team is focused on ensuring an enjoyable purchase experience and exceptional value. We believe our customers deserve machinery built of heavy-duty construction and that performs exactly as you expect. We also believe that the process from order to delivery should be seamless.
If you need bulk bag unloaders, fillers, lifting adapters or other equipment, contact FormPak today!