A drum is a cylindrical container used for shipping bulk cargo. Drums are generally used for the transportation and storage of liquids and powders. Drums are often certified for shipment of dangerous goods. Shipped goods must be matched with the making of drum necessary to comply with applicable regulations. Drums are also called barrels in common usage.
An intermediate bulk container (IBC) a reusable industrial container designed for the transport and storage of bulk liquid and granulated substances, such as chemicals, food ingredients, solvents, pharmaceuticals, etc.
Intermediate bulk containers are stackable containers mounted on a pallet designed to be moved using a forklift or a pallet jack. IBCs have a volume range that is situated between drums and tanks, hence the term “intermediate“. The most common sizes are 1,040 liters or 275 U.S. gallons or 229 imperial gallons and 1,250 liters or 330 U.S.
The most common IBC is the one-time use plastic composite IBC—a white/translucent plastic container (typically polyethylene) housed within a tubular galvanized iron cage that is attached to a pallet. IBCs can be made from many materials depending upon the needs of the shipper and the legal requirements that must be met. In addition to the plastic composite IBC, intermediate bulk containers are also made of fiberboard, wood, heavy gauge plastic, aluminum, carbon steel, and galvanized iron. Heavy-gauge plastic IBCs are made of reinforced plastic that requires no steel cage; they have a pallet molded into the bottom so the entire unit is a single piece.
Folding IBCs are also made of heavy plastic. Their sides fold inward when the unit is empty allowing the IBC to collapse into a much smaller package for return shipment or storage. Flexible intermediate bulk containers, made of woven polyethylene or polypropylene bags, are designed for storing or transporting dry, flowable products, such as sand, fertilizer, and plastic granules. Almost all rigid IBCs are designed so they can be stacked vertically one atop the other using a forklift. Most have a built-in tap (valve, spigot, or faucet) at the base of the container to which hoses can be attached, or through which the contents can be poured into smaller containers.