This checklist is to help our customers understand the key components of quality when using a bulk bag.
Safe Working Load
Is the Safe Working Load the same or more weight than what you are putting into the bag? The safe working load is one of the most important specifications of the bag and should always be communicated so the bag can be properly rated to your specifications. All suppliers should have a top lift test available to show the bag can indeed pass the required testing. A single-use bag (which is the most common bulk bag) should pass a 2:1 cycle test 30 times at the minimum. It should have a final breaking point of 5:1 of the bags safe working load at least.
Reusable bags need more strenuous testing to ensure safety. Reusable bags are tested to be safely reused, but the outcome of how many times a reusable bag can be utilized is limited to the amount of damage the bag has taken between each use.
Fabric Weight (GSM)
It’s very important to make sure the strength of the fabric is the same for every order. Global-Pak’s bags are manufactured according to the specification on each purchase order and among those specifications it mentions grams per square meter (GSM). The higher the GSM the thicker and stronger the product. This is all based on the design of the bag. This is something that we can check for you or you can check yourself as all you need is a way to cut a piece of the bag long enough to fit into a circular fabric cutter and fabric scale capable of measuring GSM. Some suppliers will try to get lighter to save money or cut corners and if they do, they are making the bag weaker as well. If a supplier mentions, they are going lighter, or you catch that it is lighter on GSM you should always ask for a top lift test to ensure it still has met the safe working load.
Quality often equates to consistency. Global-Pak uses an in-house specification system and each employee is trained on how to use it. Our sales experts determine what design best fits your application and products, then develop a bag tailored to your needs – down to the stitching color. Each one of these bag specs are important, even the more cosmetic ones such as print or document pouch style. Our quality department verifies these specifications each time a bag is ordered, and we approve every single dimension to be within spec before finalizing. We spot check these as well, to ensure nothing changes over time.
UV Protection helps ensure your bags retain their strength after being exposed to a limited amount of sunlight. This is an evaluation of how much UV stabilizer is applied during the manufacturing of the materials. At Global-Pak, we state that all materials in the bag must meet minimum standards expressed in ISO 21898-4.1. This is checked by applying UV for 300 hours on the bag components to ensure that they retain 50% of their original value. We randomly sample FIBCs at Global-Pak HQ to ensure all bags meet the ISO standards. If a bag appears to be discolored in a short amount of time in the direct sunlight or the coating of a bag begins to get hard and break away from the weaving, it’s important to question how much stabilizer was utilized.
Auditing Your Suppliers
Manufacturer audits are very important. Doing planned and unplanned visits at the facility ensures all policies are being followed along with any past corrective actions still being implemented. Some importers are not diligent about checking with their suppliers, and it can show in the quality of product the customer receives. For example, if a manufacturer implements a corrective action and only uses it to alleviate a problem but doesn’t continue to be thorough – this can be especially prevalent when suppliers don’t make in person visits a priority. If there is an issue with your bulk bags, request corrective action from your supplier. Global-Pak has implemented a Case System to evaluate all customer complaints or questions, which can span from a product issue to a shipping issue, to even minor internal issues we hope to track and correct. We also have a scoring system to thoroughly assess our manufacturing partners, to ensure consistency in performance.
Cleanliness [When Applicable]
The second most important element is cleanliness for both your bags and your supplier. Most bags do not require any cleanliness standards as they are used in industrial applications, but it is still important the bags are presentable and palletized properly.
If you are part of a food supply chain, one requirement is a food grade certificate regardless of what the certified house is, but we always recommend asking for the full audit report. A trusted supplier should disclose the information readily to ensure your bulk bags are safely manufactured and stored. The full audit report typically shows the score, what was found and how a company handled any discrepancies – a safe supplier should have these on hand.
UN Certifications and Numbers [When Applicable]
When utilizing a UN Rated Bag, a quality supplier is important. Proper communication between you and your supplier will result in the correct packaging group and the bulk bags are properly rated for your needs. A supplier who is certifying UN Bags should be reputable, as UN Bulk Bags often container hazardous materials that can be dangerous if spilled. Your supplier should ensure the bulk bags are designed to hold the product safely during filling and transport, and the testing is more rigorous. Global-Pak has an in-house UN Testing facility, so we are able to certify all bags and test for any UN bags our customers may be using.