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The Anatomy of an IBC Tank & Why It Matters

If you haven’t already read our blog on “everything you need to know about IBC tanks”, then the one thing that’s worth mentioning again here, is that IBC stands for intermediate bulk container, but what makes up the anatomy of an IBC tank and what do these features offer? 

The IBC skeleton: rigid, folding or flexible 

There are three types of IBC tanks – rigid, folding and flexible, with the rigid kind being the most commonly used. These tanks are a versatile and reliable option when it comes to storing and transporting a variety of products across a range of industries, whether it’s paints, chemicals, food syrups or simply water. Which IBC tank skeleton is best for you depends on the materials you’re storing or transporting in your IBC but essentially, like the human skeleton, the choice between a rigid, folding or flexible IBC structure determines the stability, shape and overall form of your IBC tank. 

The “skin” of IBC tanks: metal or plastic? 

IBC tanks are often made from metal or plastic, or a composite construction of the two materials (such as galvanised steel and plastic.) The majority are made from a high quality, durable plastic polymer, the most common polymer being high density polyethylene, or HDPE for short. This is essentially the skin of the IBC tank, and it’s there to protect the vital substances and components within.  

Some IBC tanks can have a double wall adaptation (think of it like a second skin), which is useful when the purpose of the IBC tank is to store or transport hazardous substances. The double wall feature means the IBC comes with an inside and an outside container, and IBCs which are intended for storing hazardous systems will often also have an integrated spill containment too. This makes it safe to both store and transport IBC tanks containing hazardous substances and chemicals.  

The IBC circulatory system has valves, pumps and pipes 

IBC tanks are most commonly used for storing and transporting liquids, as well as granules and powers. They come in various capacities, with the most common being 600, 800 or 1000 litres depending on the needs of the consumer. Their secure closure system provides an airtight seal, meaning the contents of the IBC remain uncontaminated whilst being stored or transported. The tanks come with a large screw cap lid and a bottom outlet valve. This makes filling up and emptying IBC tanks a simple and straightforward task. This system of pipework,valves and in some cases pumps, all of which makes the IBC tank easy to use and transport, works a lot like the human circulatory system. Valves control the flow and release of fluids, the network of pipes facilitate the flow of those liquids and pumps, which can be attached to IBC tanks move the fluid through the pipes to and through the valves, just like the human heart pumps blood around the body. 

Special IBC tank adaptations 

Manufacturers have offered more customisation options to meet specific industry requirements, such as different sizes, shapes, and valve configurations which makes IBC tanks even easier to use. For example, you can buy IBC adaptors to fix onto the IBC’s valve, and allow different fittings to be attached. One example of a different fitting which can be attached to an IBC adapter is a hose tail fitting. This screws into the valve so the hose can be connected directly. Similarly, a range of different lids can be purchased depending on how the contents in the IBC need to be looked after. For example, a vented lid allows air inside the container which is necessary if the product inside needs to be prevented from stagnating.  

Depending on what’s being stored or transported in the IBC tank, covers and heating jackets can also be purchased. IBC tanks with extra UV protection are also available. So whether it’s to protect the IBC from the elements or to help insulate and maintain temperatures inside the container, consumers can purchase the relevant products to ensure the contents of their IBC are stored and/or transported under optimal conditions.  

Liners are also available to fit IBC containers, which can help to dispense products from the IBC tank. For example, liners with air bladders improve dispensing and evacuation of the product, and ultimately leave less residual product in the liner.  

So what’s special about the anatomy of the IBC tank? 

They can be recycled… 

Because IBC tanks are made from recyclable materials, such as plastic, steel or aluminium, their anatomy means they can be recycled at the end of their life cycle. If they’re made of HDPE plastic, then the tank will be shredded into smaller pieces, washed and melted into pellets which can then be used to create new plastic products. And if they’re made out of metal, then the metal will be melted and reformed into new products.  

They can be reused… 

Before they’re recycled however, IBC tanks can be reused for different purposes. However, because IBC tanks are used across a number of industries, such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, chemicals and agriculture, it’s essential they’re professionally cleaned before they’re reused. Because they can be used across different industries, a professional and thorough clean ensures there are no trace chemicals left behind and the IBC tank can be used safely for its next purpose.  

Here at Fleetclean, we have 30 years experience when it comes to the tanker cleaning business, meaning we have the expertise and the equipment to deliver a first class clean which meets industry standards. Our operating site has specialist washbays, including a dedicated food grade IBC cleaning bay with filtered air and temperature controlled high pressure wash systems in order to achieve a superior clean of food grade IBC tanks. Similarly, we also have a dedicated bay for cleaning IBC’s which have previously contained chemicals, and we’re able to clean virtually any chemical IBC with our expertise and equipment. We also offer periodic IBC testing and inspection (2.5 years and 5 years), as well as IBC maintenance and repair to increase their longevity.  

Our Partnership With Bolondi Cleaning Heads

Fleetclean are proud to announce our new partnership with Bolondi Cleaning Heads. We are pleased to introduce this new affiliation that will allow us to distribute and deliver a new brand of tank and IBC cleaning heads. Bolondi Cleaning Heads are well known for producing high quality, technologically advanced, innovative and reliable products and we are delighted to be working alongside them.


Who are Bolondi?

Bolondi Cleaning Heads are a long established, highly recommended manufacturer and distributer of rotating heads and nozzles for washing and sanitizing in industrial cleaning processes. With over 30 years of experience in the production of tank washing heads and volumetric heads they are a sound partner for the variety of washing solutions proposed for high pressure applications in industrial washing and tank cleaning.


What do they do?

Bolondi Cleaning Heads have developed a large number of technological innovations over the past 30 years in the production of washing heads and cleaning nozzles. Their achievements and innovative practices have resulted in streamlining many of the cleaning procedures used today, making the overall process highly efficient. Today they offer a complete range of products for low and high pressure on the market, able to meet the needs of all companies that need a product suitable for sanitisation and cleaning, from small containers to large environments.


What makes them great?

Bolondi Cleaning Heads have as its primary objective the constant innovation and continuous improvement of its production, while maintaining a particular attention to social issues. This drive to constantly refine, improve, and advance its products are what makes them one of the best in the industry. Officina Meccanica Bolondi invests a significant part of its profits into research and development in order to offer increasingly cutting-edge solutions in the production of nozzles and self-propelled heads. The aim is to obtain significant advantages such as: better washing results, reduction of washing time, reduction of water consumption, reduced use of chemicals and reduction of manpower. All these reductions ultimately lead to reduced costs, increased profits, and more sustainable practices to better serve the environment.

We believe Bolondi makes some of the highest quality cleaning heads available and we are proud to be an official distributor and work alongside such giants in the industrial cleaning industry. Fleetclean and Bolondi together make the perfect combination so if you’re looking for the best cleaning nozzles and washing heads, get in touch now to see what we recommend for you.

The Importance of Industrial Cleaning: Enhancing Safety and Efficiency.

Industrial cleaning practices are essential for maintaining a clean, safe, and efficient work environment and here at Fleetclean we specialise in industrial cleaning equipment hire, sales and servicing to support your business in all aspects of your industrial cleaning requirements. We’re also helping more and more industrial businesses embrace green cleaning trends, which you can read more about here, but for this blog post, let’s crack on with answering a few more questions about industrial cleaning and how it can enhance the safety and efficiency of your business.

So, what is Industrial Cleaning?

Industrial cleaning refers to the process of cleaning and maintaining large industrial and commercial spaces such as warehouses, manufacturing plants and factories. It’s a highly specialised form of cleaning that requires a unique skill set, specialised equipment and techniques, and detailed knowledge of things like industrial degreasers to ensure the cleaning process is completed safely and efficiently.

Why is industrial cleaning important?

All industrial facilities whether they house manufacturing or raw materials are subject to a wide range of harsh chemicals, heavy-duty machinery and other contaminants that can cause wear and tear on the facility. A build up of these factors over time can seriously compromise the safety and efficiency of the facility.

What are the benefits of industrial cleaning?

Hygiene is an important aspect of leading a healthy life and as a business, industrial cleaning practices should be a part of your regular cleaning routine to ensure a healthy and hygienic work environment for your employees. Industrial cleaning safety should also be a top priority for any industrial facility, as it has many advantages for both the business, its staff, and its customers.

1. Improved safety

This is a key consideration for any organisation. Safety in industrial cleaning can help prevent slips, falls, and other accidents (one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace) simply by removing dirt, grease, and other contaminants from surfaces.

2. Improved efficiency

With regular industrial cleaning practices, equipment stays in good working condition. Dust and debris can build up in machinery over time impacting its ability to run effectively. A clean and well-maintained facility can help improve the workplace’s efficiency by reducing downtime due to equipment breakdowns or repairs.

3. Improved air quality

Regular cleaning can help improve air quality by removing dust, dirt, and other pollutants from the air. Scented cleansers will also add much needed fragrance to the air too for extra invigoration.

4. Improved employee health

A clean and well-maintained facility can help improve employee health by reducing the risk of respiratory issues, skin irritation, and other illnesses. A clean and hygienic environment will have fewer bacteria present and therefore a reduced risk of illness or disease.

5. Increased organisation and productivity

With regular efficient industrial cleaning processes in place, workplaces are kept tidier and free of clutter. This allows for a more organised work environment, ensuring that expired or unused products can be disposed of (particularly important with hazardous chemicals). A more organised workspace also allows employees to feel more comfortable and effective, resulting in increased morale and increased productivity.

Why should industrial cleaning be done regularly?

Without regular cleaning, industrial facilities can become hazardous. Many of these contributing factors such as dust, debris and pollutants build up over time. Therefore, keeping on top of your cleaning with a regular cleaning schedule will ensure overall safety and efficiency. The frequency of industrial cleaning can vary depending on the specific needs of the facility. Some facilities may require daily cleaning, while others may only need weekly or monthly cleaning, but it is essential that it is maintained regularly and consistently, which is why we offer flexible equipment hire terms and the opportunity to purchase cleaning equipment too.

Industrial cleaning practices are a critical process for maintaining the safety, efficiency, and overall health of industrial facilities. With the right equipment, techniques, and cleaning solutions, it is possible to keep these large spaces clean and free of contaminants, ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for all. Explore our range of cleaning equipment for hire or sale today or speak to our experts about how we can help with your industrial cleaning practices.

Industrial Degreasers: Everything You Need To Know

What is an industrial degreaser?

These chemicals are used in industrial settings such as factories, plants, and warehouses, to remove oil contaminants and grease from surfaces such as various types of flooring and heavy machinery. Degreasers remove any oily substances and of course grease, from the surface. What you should know though, is that there are a few different types of degreaser out there, and it’s up to you to figure out which is the best one for the job. There’s also the question of why you should use a degreaser compared to other cleaning products and this guide will give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about industrial degreasers, and how to choose which one is  best for you.

Why do I need a degreaser?

If you let too much grease build up on your machinery or flooring, it can over time cause corrosion, slipping hazards, overheating and increase electrical resistance in certain contact areas. Those, among a plethora of other issues, means there’s a lot at stake if you’re not using a degreaser.

What should I consider when choosing a degreaser?

There are a lot of factors that you should consider when it comes to picking a degreaser, as some will be more suited to certain environments and certain things you’ll be cleaning than others. For instance, some degreasers are often very flammable due to some alcohols and hydrocarbon solvents that are contained within them. The dielectric strength is also important. If you plan to clean powered equipment or machines, or you need to switch it on before the solvent has flashed off, this is a factor that should be considered. Does your equipment have plastic or rubber components? Check degreasers for how compatible they are with these surfaces too. Of course, remember how toxic degreasers can be. Check them for N-Propyl Bromide (nPB), Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Perchloroethylene (Perc) which are all very highly toxic chemicals, all commonly used in degreasers. Take care when using them and don’t forget, this information will also help you decide on the correct PPE to wear while using them!

Finally, always remember that degreasers are best at removing any organic matter from surfaces, so that’s things like fats, oils, and proteins. As a result, degreasers usually have a higher PH or in other words they are more alkaline than other types of cleaners. Our Fleetclean Ultrascrub is a great example of an alkaline degreaser that delivers a more effective cleaning solution of these specific types of stain. This product is also great for cleaning surfaces without the risk of causing fading or etching, which can happen with some degreasers which you may find in stores or online, so it’s always worth double checking if this is the case or not when picking which degreaser to use.

What is the best way to use a degreaser?

Degreasers generally work well when they are used manually. Using aerosols and trigger spray bottles are undoubtedly the most common and straightforward way to apply degreased for manual use. You could use soaking as a method for applying your degreaser as well, this is a method where you would leave small components in a container full of degreaser for some time, remove them, and then use wipes and brushes to get rid of any dirt with ease.

You could also use a Batch washer with a degreaser. This is where you would put stationary components in a rack or run on a conveyor, and the degreasing agent is sprayed over the parts. It all depends on what industry you work in and what you need degreaser for as to which method is best for you.

It may be that you don’t need to degrease a machine at all, but you need to degrease a floor instead. In that case, we’d recommend our Fleetclean power scrub, which is a degreaser based on natural citrus oils and blended with low foam detergents. It is designed for use in our range of floor scrubbing machines and it is the perfect choice for safely and effectively cleaning marble, terrazzo, concrete, and tiled floors.

We sell the toughest industrial degreasers and other specialist cleaning equipment on our website and if you have any questions regarding industrial degreasers or any other related topics, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our cleaning experts today..


Traffic Film Removers (TFRs): Everything you need to know

Traffic Film Removers (TFR) are a chemical that is formulated to break down dirt easily and swiftly, that a regular car shampoo would usually struggle to shift. A traffic film remover is designed to remove road grime without damaging the paintwork or mechanical parts of a vehicle. As you’re driving, a vehicle is likely to pick up a thin layer of grit, dirt and oil which can be quite difficult to scrub off with anything else. A good TFR will easily break down this grime and remove it, often without much effort on your part.

How to use a TFR

So how do you use TFRs? Well first and foremost, you’re going to want to pick the right one for you. Entry point wise, we’d recommend a non-caustic traffic film remover that will not corrode or burn the surface it is used on. Non-caustic traffic film removers like ours can be used through a power washer, applied with a snow foaming bottle, or applied directly to a surface if diluted down. It’s strong cleaning capabilities mean that you won’t have to put in much physical effort at all to remove the dirt and grime and it does not leave a residue if removed quickly.

Key points to remember

A TFR will loosen any grease and dirt, but it is recommended you use a brush and water as soon as possible to get rid of any leftover residue. It is also recommended not to use and clean with TFRs in hot weather or direct sunlight. If you must do this however, make sure you wash off as quickly as you can.

You shouldn’t use a TRF too regularly either. It is recommended to be used every few months or so. If you use traffic film removers too much,  they can fade vehicle paintwork. If the vehicle has been waxed recently, some removers can remove the wax too, so make sure you space out your cleans depending on your vehicle upkeep routine. It’s worth noting that a traffic film remover can’t clean everything. Lots of mud, dead flies for example, are a lot more resistant to TFRs, so be warned of this before you make a purchase – they won’t work!


Safety wise, traffic film removers are relatively safe, but it is important to acknowledge that this is a chemical, so expect a mixture of metasilicates and caustic within them. The higher the level of concentrate the greater risk of irritation to you. If you’re a home user, a pre-diluted mix would be recommended. If you’re a professional however, any strength should be safe, but remember to  follow appropriate precautions when handling chemicals, in accordance with COSHH regulations.

What do we supply?

Along with our non-caustic TFR as mentioned, we also have our Fleetclean 3000 and Fleetclean 4000 TFRs that work just as well to clean dirt from your vehicle, You can get them in bulk from our website, with a special buy one get one free offer if you buy four cans. Of course, we have a whole range of different cleaning chemicals to browse, so visit our chemicals store page to find out more.



The Changing Face of Commerical Cleaning As Ankef Closes Its Doors

It’s sad news in the world of industrial and commercial cleaning at the moment as one of the key businesses in the local area, Ankef has made the decision to close its doors. Here at Fleetclean, we’ve known Ankef for a long time. They’re based not too far from us, in Normantan, West Yorkshire and since their incorporation in 2005, they’ve been providing cleaning equipment, servicing and support to their customers, in much the same way as we do.

Like us, Ankef have seen their business change over the years. Our customers, typically commercial and industrial businesses, have seen their operating costs increase and this has meant a greater focus on keeping their overheads down wherever possible. As a result, many more customers have transitioned to longer term, more cost-effective lease agreements for their cleaning equipment and it’s easy to see why.

Leasing cleaning equipment for the long term means you have all the benefits of essentially “owning” that machine: it’s on site 24/7 ready to use, but without the expensive, up-front costs of purchasing it. Instead, the costs are spread out over your hire term, making it much more manageable and you don’t have to worry about costly repairs either. Most hire agreements like ours here at Fleetclean offer repairs and servicing as part of the deal, so can rest assured your equipment is in tip top condition, without costing you an arm and a leg.

This transition towards more long term lease agreements hasn’t been without it’s challenges for us though. It’s meant that as a business, we’ve needed to increase our stock of cleaning equipment to support those longer-term lease agreements. We’ve had to grow our equipment maintenance, servicing and training teams so we can support a more invested customer base and we’ve had to diversify our range of cleaning equipment too. What was the cleaning machine of choice 15 years ago, is not the cleaning machine of choice today, especially with the rising popularity of greener and more environmentally friendly cleaning solutions – something we’re very invested in here at Fleetclean as you’ll know if you’ve read about our recent work with bio sludge!

All in all, this has mean business like us and Ankef have had to adapt over the years, grow our teams and invest in more equipment and more space and the sad thing is, that’s not easy! Throw in almost two years with the country in lock down and greater hesitancy among business in general to spend their hard-earned cash and it’s easy to see why previously successful business are starting to struggle. Luckily for us, we recognised the changes many years ago and find ourselves in a position to help more and more businesses with their cleaning equipment needs. We’re specialising in more and more bespoke cleaning solutions and of course, those more environmentally friendly options. If you’re interested in cleaning equipment hire for your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The 4 types of cleaning solutions; detergents, degreasers, acids, and abrasives

When it comes to cleaning, it’s important to know which is the right cleaning solution for the job. To do that, you first need to know what the four main types of cleaning solutions are, and that’s exactly what we’re discussing in this latest blog post. While there are many different cleaning products on the market, from a wealth of different brands, all cleaning solutions essentially fall into one of four main groups: detergents, degreasers, acids, and abrasives.

Detergents: what are they are where can you use them?

Detergents are man made cleaning solutions and they require liquid, most commonly water, in order to work. They are surfactants that lower the surface tension of the water, basically making the water “wetter” so that it’s more likely to interact with oil and grease. They do require either mechanical energy or agitation to pull the grime away once the detergent has bound with the oil or grease. For commercial or industrial cleaning projects, our range of floor cleaning equipment is designed with different brush and cleaning heads to provide this agitation when used with our detergents.

Detergents are great for emulsifying oils (allowing water and oils to mix), holding dirt in suspension, and given the liquid element, using as wetting agents. They are very versatile cleaning products than come in either gel, liquid, powder, or occasionally crystal form but be warned, there are some areas where a detergent might not be the best cleaning solution for the job. They should not be used on surfaces like hardwood flooring, mirrored surfaces or natural surfaces like silk and leather. At Fleetclean we offer a tried and tested range of detergents ideal for removing traffic film through our high pressure cleaners, including our Fleetclean 3000 and 4000 TFR Detergent.

Degreasers: what are they and where can you use them?

Degreasers are the perfect choice for removing organic matter like fats, oils, and proteins. That’s why many kitchen cleaning products are often sold as degreasers. Typically, degreasers have a higher PH or in other words they are more alkaline, like our Fleetclean Ultrascrub, allowing them to effectively cut through these types of stain. They are also great for cleaning surfaces without the risk of causing fading or etching.

Our Fleetclean power scrub is a degreaser based on natural citrus oils and blended with low foam detergents. It is designed for use in our range of floor scrubbing machines and it is the perfect choice for safely and effectively cleaning marble, terrazzo, concrete and tiled floors.

Acids: what are they and where can you use them?

An acid is a cleaning solution that has a PH of six or lower and they can range from relatively mild, to very strong. Acids are great for breaking down things like rust, mineral deposits, and certain types of mould. While mild acids can be used in a wide range of cleaning environments, stronger acidic cleaners should be used with caution and of course the right protective clothing and equipment. Acids can also cause damage to the surface being cleaned if they’re not used correctly, so it is vital to read the instructions before using any type of acidic cleaner to avoid mistakes.

Abrasives: what are they and where can you use them?

Whilst we are all familiar with abrasive cleaning agents like cream cleaners in our home environments, when it comes to commercial and industrial applications the abrasive element will usually be introduced to the job in a physical way via the machinery being used. For example, our range of scrubbing machines can be fitted with various different types of brushes or abrasive pads. These can also be fitted to high-speed burnishers to remove the top of, say, marble flooring, prior to repolishing.

Another accepted method of wet abrasive cleaning is the introduction of silica sand to the high-pressure water stream from a pressure washer using a sandblasting attachment. More specialised equipment can see the introduction of ice being used as the abrasive element where a more standard approach cannot be employed.

Please remember, it is very important to handle any cleaning agents carefully and safely. Exposure to some cleaning chemicals can lead to things like skin irritations so always ensure you follow any instructions on the label, wear the right protective clothing and if in doubt, speak to cleaning experts like us here at Fleetclean.

A Modern IBC Cleaning Solution

Here at Fleetclean we are very familiar with customers presenting us with unique cleaning problems, quite often with stains, product and detergents having to be taken into account, along with reducing manual inputs and efficiencies. This week’s problem solving opportunity took us to Peterborough, Cambridgeshire where our customer required a modern cleaning solution in their brand new site, cleaning IBCs used in the production of their popular food supplement.

Emissions and water usage were the forefront of this project. As the site isn’t connected to mains drainage, all waste must be transported off site at a cost so water usage was paramount – without compromising wash performance.

Plant Master Electric IBC Cleaning Solution

The solution?

Our electrically heated high pressure cleaner ensures that 80⁰c 200 bar hot water is readily available, whilst maintaining a green, low carbon footprint and zero emissions. With the soaring costs of fossil fuels, our electrically heated solution is not only economically effective, it also negates the need for fuel storage on site along with any COSHH red tape that comes with it.

Paired with our FC30 tank cleaning head, chosen specifically for its quick cleaning time, full 360⁰ internal tank coverage in just 3 minutes means minimal water use with maximum wash performance. In addition the custom built timer remote control unit ensures that the cleaning head can be started by the operator and then left to complete a wash cycle unattended without fear of being forgotten about, wasting water and energy whilst a key controlled override can allow for uninterrupted cleaning.

Built in our workshop and installed within the day at the prepared site allowed for our engineers to commission and carry out the operator training that the customer required to make sure the equipment is put straight to use.

Go GREEN with Fleetclean, ask about our range of electrically heated equipment and put us to the test to create a solution to your cleaning challenges!

Everything you need to know about IBC tanks

In this blog post, as the title suggests, we’re going to be covering everything you need to know about IBC tanks including what they are, what they can be used for, what they are made from and of course, how to clean them.

IBC Tanks Stacked Outside

What is an IBC tank?

Let’s start by explaining that IBC is an acronym for the term “intermediate bulk container”. As well as being known as IBC tanks, they are also sometimes referred to as IBC totes, IBC pallet tanks or simply just IBCs. In other words, there are lots of different terms used to describe the same type of container, so it’s no surprise there can be some confusion around what an IBC tank is!

In a nutshell, an intermediate bulk container or an IBC is a multi-use, industrial grade container that is reusable and typically (although not always) square in shape. The square shape makes it easy to stack, store and ship these containers in a space efficient way, that makes them a low-cost shipping option for businesses around the world. Cylindrical IBC’s are typically used in some food applications, specifically to ensure that there are no “corners” for food to remain in during the cleaning process.

Cylindrical and Square IBCs

What can an IBC tank be used for?

IBC tanks can be used to store and to transport materials in a liquid, paste, semi-liquid or solid state. Lots and lots of industries use IBC tanks for their storage and transportation of goods but here are a few of the use cases we commonly see in our work here at Fleetclean:

  • The food industry uses IBC tanks to store and transport foods such as sugar, syrup, and wine
  •  The construction industry uses IBC tanks to store and transport items like paint
  • The pharmaceutical industry uses IBC tanks to store and transport things like bio-waste
  • In agriculture IBC tanks can be used to store and transport fertilizer
  • The chemical industry often put IBC tanks to good use storing and transporting hazardous and even toxic materials such as solvents, Petro-chemicals, and adhesives
  • And last but by no means least, IBCs are also ideal for rainwater storage across multiple industries too!

So, you can see, IBC tanks offer a huge amount of practical applications for a wide range of businesses across lots of different industries. In cases where IBC tanks are being used to store and transport hazardous materials, it is important that the ADR regulations in the UK and Europe and the 49 CFR regulations for the US market are adhered to fully. For even more information about the different types of IBC tanks and what they can be used for, we highly recommend this article here.

What are IBC tanks made from?

In short, IBC tanks are most commonly made from either plastic, stainless steel or carbon steel and each type of material offers different benefits:

  • Plastic – these IBCs can be used to hold solids and liquids; they are available in a vast range of sizes and metal cages can be added for extra stability. They are also made from non-toxic plastics, so there is no risk of contamination between the container and the contents
  • Stainless steel – this material is highly resistant to corrosion, capable of withstanding high temperatures and is generally ideal for heavy duty use. Like plastic IBCs, stainless steel IBCs are available in a large range of sizes too
  • Carbon steel – this is a highly durable type of IBC that is also lightweight and affordable, the IBC can be recycled successfully when it reaches its end of life, it is shock resistant and ideal for holding substances that are flammable, strongly scented or that are combustible

Stainless Steel VS Plastic IBC Tanks

How do you clean an IBC tank?

Cleaning your IBC tanks thoroughly is a serious business and it’s something that we here at Fleetclean pride ourselves on doing to the highest standards. From our point of view, an IBC clean should always start with reading the labels. That means checking the product labels attached to the tank and establishing the last use of the IBC, so it’s clear what’s being dealt with.

Professional IBC cleaning like the cleans we do here at Fleetclean, are performed by skilled experts who understand hazardous chemicals and therefore have the safety measures, equipment, and infrastructure to handle them. The clean itself typically uses high pressure water, delivered through an omni-directional set of spinner heads and powerful pump sets. This ensures every inch of the IBC’s surface is cleaned thoroughly. Once the clean is complete, a Cleaning Document such as the EFTCO Cleaning Document (ECD) is issued to prove that your IBC has been cleaned professionally and does not pose any environmental or hazardous threats.

If this sounds like a service you need for your IBC tanks, then please contact our team today. For even more information on how to clean an IBC tank safely, you can read our step by step blog here.

What are the different types of IBC tanks?

There are two main types of IBC tanks: rigid IBC tanks and flexible IBC tanks. Rigid IBC tanks are the stackable and reusable IBCs that can be easily maneuvered using forklifts and pallet jacks. Often, they are made from metal and plastic, and they come in a range of different sizes depending on what you need to store, ranging from 400 litres at the smaller end and up to 3,000 litres at the larger end. Most commonly IBCs hold 1,000 litres.

Flexible IBC tanks are slightly different. They can be made from metal or plastic, but also wood too. They range in size from a capacity of 500Kg to 1000Kg and often the sides of these containers can fold inward when the tank is not in use, for more efficient storage when they are empty. The reason flexible IBC volumes are measured in weight, is because they tend to be used for storing dry products like sand.

What is the anatomy of an IBC tank?

The main part of an IBC tank is known as the drum or the barrel and this is the part that holds the contents. You’ll often see plastic IBCs with a steel cage wrapped around them for extra support and balance when in use and sometimes, pallets can be added to the bottom of an IBC to aid maneuverability and stack-ability.

To remove liquids from an IBC tank once transportation is complete, most IBCs have valves where a hose can be attached to control the flow of liquid out of the tank into another container. Clamps can be used to pressurize IBC valves to prevent leaks, while gauges can be used to measure the volume in the tank at any time. Gaskets, that are corrosion proof are used in between the component parts in the IBC tank as another measure to prevent leaks. Last, but by no means least, an identification plate is included on all IBC tanks, and this is where the IBC’s model number and relevant specifications are recorded so they are always to hand.

Component Parts of an IBC Tank

Some IBC’s are fitted with heater elements in order to liquefy product that has solidified in the IBC, or to keep product at a set temperature. These IBC’s are available for both foodstuff and chemical IBC’s. Typical of products that would be used with heatable IBC’s are things like chocolate, jam, high-viscosity chemicals and the like. These tanks are always made of stainless steel, feature a control panel to set and maintain temperature and are invariably fully insulated.

Why do IBCs need periodic testing?

IBC tanks need to be tested, inspected, and certified due to international regulations. These regulations state that all IBCs should be tested at least once every 30 months and stainless-steel IBCs manufactured with UN markings, also need a thickness test once every 60 months. The dates for the test and retest must be clearly marked on each IBC unit. It’s a vital part of safely owning and using IBC totes and it’s important the testing is handled by experts like our team here at Fleetclean. If you need an IBC test or inspection, you can find out more about how we do that and contact our team just here.

Are there special requirements for IBC totes that store food and drink?

When shipping and storing goods that are meant for human consumption, it’s critical that these goods are properly protected and insulated so they’re not contaminated and cause harm to a person’s health. Therefore, there are IBCs that are specifically manufactured as food grade IBCs. Food grade simply means that the material the IBC tank has been made from has been deemed safe to be in contact with food and drink. Typically, food grade safe materials for IBC tanks are steel and plastic, specifically polyethylene.

For even more useful information about IBC tanks, we recommend doing some further reading here and here.

In conclusion, IBC tanks are the go-to container type when it comes to efficiently packaging, storing, and transporting virtually any kind of material. They can save your business space, time and money making them well worth the investment and when you need to clean, test, and inspect your IBCs, you have experts like us here at Fleetclean on hand to help.

Upgrades to Tankwash and IBC Cleaning in 2021

2021 has seen a huge number of changes and upgrades to our tankwash and IBC cleaning operations.

First of all, we’ve had a number of personnel changes to the management team which have contributed greatly to an improvement in the overall operation. James Whitham took over as Engineering Services Manager in February 2021 and has progressively introduced equipment and operational changes which have improved reliability, reduced cleaning times and placed a greater emphasis on preventative maintenance.

Our pumping systems have been upgraded and are now more effective with some of the heavier products we clean, such as chocolate and flour. Our DAF effluent treatment system has received several upgrades and now operates with less fluctuation in output, thereby ensuring continuing compliance with our discharge limits, and we’ve installed a Sludge press which de-waters the sludge produced by the DAF Plant, and this dried sludge is then removed from site to be used to create biogas which is sent to generators to create electricity, and bio-fertiliser for farms.

In addition, Alice Bell, our Cleaning Services Manager took on additional responsibilities including those of tankwash personnel. Her first action was to promote one of our Senior Tankwash Operatives, Gav Haigh, to the position of Tankwash Supervisor. Gav oversees our two shifts which are headed up by Ian Downham and Jonny Norton ensuring that all tasks are completed to our quality standards and to customer satisfaction. And last, but not least, Danny Bennett-Brown is now in charge of our IBC cleaning operation, bringing his high standards to this function of the business.

These personnel changes have meant that we now have an exceptional team in place to ensure that tanks and IBC’s are cleaned to the highest standards at all times.

Installed across Yorkshire

Installed 18 of these bad boys earlier this year for a major client at their sites throughout Yorkshire.

Performance criteria as follows:

  • 200 bar pressure
  • 15 litres per minute throughput
  • Up to 85oC operating temperature (infinitely variable)
  • Full detergent system
  • Remote controls to enable siting away from the cleaning area
  • Stainless steel hose reels
  • Stainless steel pipework
  • Flame failure control
  • Frost protection
  • Control system limits operator actions to On/Off, Hot/Cold, Detergent On/Off,
  • Emergency stop


These units provided the client with a new way of cleaning in an area that was problematic for them, and will ultimately save them hundreds of thousands of pounds over the next few years.




It’s a win/win for customer and supplier!


This is one of the projects we’ve been up to over the last few months.

A high pressure, hot water tankwash system for one of our customers.

150 bar pressure, 85oC temperature with 8 cleaning heads, its a great system if you don’t want to go to the trouble and expense of buying and running a steam boiler.
A very effective, very economical solution for the small to medium-sized tanker cleaning operation.

Great for cleaning IBC’s too!

Containerised Tankwash

Once the specification was agreed, the self-contained unit was built up and tested at our depot in Knottingley before being shipped to our customer in the North East and delivered as a “Plug & Play” solution. Once connected to the customers existing water, fuel and electricity supplies, exhaust flues were added, remote controls and high pressure pipework connected and the system was good to go!

Our customer is absolutely overjoyed with the equipment and the significant improvements that it has made to their cleaning operation.

This build method can be utilised to provide many bespoke tanker cleaning, IBC cleaning and tote cleaning solutions with the minimum inconvenience to the customer as the build process is all done off site.


Covid-19 Back-To-Work Plan

First, it is very important to express thanks to all employees who have been committed and managed to keep working through this difficult period.

We have managed to keep the operations going and continued to satisfy our customers service needs. Even more important, we have been able, with everybody’s help to ensure that there was continued employment for all.

Our aim is to have people back-to-work in the office in order that operations can continue to be 100% effective.

In order to ensure that we can all get back-to-work safely, not only have we carried out a risk assessment, but we have also established a phased plan.

All of the controls we have implemented are detailed within this briefing note and all employees must comply.

Remember, we have still had employees working in the office and this has been successful without any health issues.

Commuting to/from Work

When commuting to/from work it is important to protect yourself and others from catching or passing on the virus. If you have to use public transport, try to keep to yourself and use gloves to protect yourself from dirty surfaces e.g. door handles. Government guidance should be followed for the protection of yourself and others.
If you are car-sharing, try to ensure that the other people are taking similar precautions to you.

Wearing of Masks

There is no evidence at present that confirms the use of a mask will prevent you from catching a virus. Although, there is no harm in taking the precaution especially if using public transport. We will not be requiring any employee to wear a mask or face covering in the office.

Cleaning of Hands

The authorities consider hand cleaning to be the most effective way of controlling the spread of the virus. It is also important to note that alcohol gels are for general protection. The only way to ensure your hands are clean is to wash them with hot water and soap followed by drying them. Alcohol gels are to be used between hand cleaning, but following trips to the bathroom, kitchen and handling communal items, hand cleaning with soap and water must be done.
Upon entering and leaving the office, we request that you sanitise your hands with the sanitiser provided.

Using Equipment in the Office

Use only your own telephone and computer. If you have to use any communal equipment, please wipe any surfaces down after you have used it for the next person.

The office layout has not changed as it provides a good level of individual space without having to come close to others.

Hygiene and tidy desk rules should be adhered to in order that any risk is minimised.

Using the Toilets

We all must be vigilant about cleaning our hands especially after using the toilet. To try and prevent over-crowding, the following rules are in place:

Male Toilets – 2 people maximum.

Female Toilets – The female toilet is only designed for 1 person at a time.

These will be cleaned daily.

Using the Kitchen

The following rules apply to the kitchen and also for break/lunch arrangements:

We are allowing a maximum of 1 one person to use the kitchen at any time.

Reduce your Risk

You should try to refrain from touching your face, nose & mouth and this will reduce the risk of spreading any bacteria from your hands to areas that will allow the virus to get into the body.

Coughing and Sneezing

If you have to sneeze, you MUST try to catch it in a tissue and put the tissue in a closed container. Then clean your hands. The same applies to coughing, you must prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.

If you do not have any tissue at the time, use your hand or inner side of your elbow to catch the cough and sneeze. Then clean your hands.


It is still a personal responsibility to inform your Line Manager if you think you have any symptoms. Do not hide symptoms, let us know so we can assist you accordingly.

Items for Cleaning and Protection

Fleetclean continue to make orders for items such as tissues and alcohol gels. The alcohol gel is in short supply so we encourage you to carry your own if you have some.


There will not be any non-essential visitors to the office unless expressly agreed by the Directors. Couriers will be met at the door and not allowed inside. If it is absolutely necessary for the Courier to enter the office, they must be restricted to the reception area.

Drivers at Tankwash

Drivers should under normal circumstances should remain in their cab. If they need to assist with the cleaning activity, try to maintain a safe distance.
Drivers may use the toilets, but only 1 at a time.


Do NOT take any chances. If you have a concern, have it checked.

Ultra High Pressure IBC Cleaning

Fleetclean have been experimenting with Ultra High Pressure Cleaning (UHP) and the results are incredible. The experiment was performed to understand the effect Ultra High Pressure Cleaning would have on a stainless steel IBC and if any damage would be caused to the IBC structure and ancillaries.

We found that the UHP cleaning removed all of the stubborn stains and product from the IBC but did not effect the integrity of the IBC and its ancillary parts.


If you would like to discuss how Ultra High Pressure (UHP) cleaning could help you clean your IBC’s then please contact Fleetclean on 01977 607087.

IBC Recirculation Cleaning System


Fleetcleans technical engineering team built this custom recirculation IBC Cleaning System to combat stubborn and difficult to clean products.

  • Increased Cleaning Capabilities
  • Reduced Effluent Processing
  • Improved Customer Service Levels

Stubborn or difficult to clean products can take hours to clean using the high pressure total loss system we use for all our IBC and Tanker washes. The main issue being the additives required to bite into the product are not in sufficient dilution rates and are often expensive. A total loss system wastes much of these additives.

As this system recirculates the residues after filtration, the benefits are the water used can have more concentrated dilution levels of additives. These additives break down the product and provide a more aggressive clean – perfect for the more stubborn products.

This recirculation cleaning system has increased our cleaning capabilities and improved service levels of our IBC cleaning business. Initial trials have reduced cleaning times by up to 75%.

If you require a system like this or something similar Fleetclean can build one to your custom specifications.

Covid-19 Update

The current situation at Fleetclean is as follows:

Our washbays are currently operating normally, as is our sales hire and service operation.

Our staff are being temperature monitored at the start of their shift and the readings recorded. Any member of staff who shows signs of a fever or a persistent cough will be sent home to isolate as per government guidelines.

Similarly any member of staff whose family or house-sharer show signs of the virus must declare the situation and self-isolate as per government guidelines.

We have adopted social distancing and ask that all personal space, to a minimum of 2 metres is observed. Any visitor to site who does not comply with this condition will be refused entry to/ejected from site.

Fleetclean provide an essential service to the food and transport industries through the operation of their tanker cleaning bays, enabling food and chemical product to reach its destination on time and in prime condition. Without tanker cleaning there would be significant disruption to food supplies and production of goods. We therefore intend to keep our staff safe so they may continue to provide this vital service.

Similarly, our sales hire and service operation provide essential services to the cleaning industry, enabling our customers to provide a clean and safe environment for their staff to operate in. A hygienic workplace is clearly a safer environment in which to operate than a dirty one.

We will continue to provide these services to the best of our ability during this extraordinarily difficult time.

Please also read our Covid-19 Back to Work Plan.