Standards for Static Protective FIBC
The ISO Technical Committee TC122 has responsibility for standardization in the field of packaging with regard to terminology and definitions, packaging dimensions, performance requirements and tests. The Technical Committee is divided into a number of Working Groups (WG) each with responsibility for a different type of packaging or aspect of standardization. There is also a Sub-Committee (SC) of TC122 that has responsibility for standardizing performance requirements and tests for means of packaging, packages and unit loads, TC122/SC3. The standards developed by TC122/SC3 include the series covering transport packaging for dangerous goods (ISO 16101, ISO 16103, ISO 16106 and ISO 16883) and FIBC for non-dangerous goods (ISO 21898). Like its parent committee, TC122/SC3 is also divided into Working Groups, one of which (WG9) is responsible for the electrostatic properties of FIBC. In fact, WG9 is an integral part of a Joint Working Group (JWG) established by ISO and IEC.
The IEC Electrotechnical Technical Committee TC101 has responsibility for standardization in the field of electrostatics, and in particular for test methods to evaluate the generation, retention and dissipation of electrostatic charges, and to ascertaining the effect of electrostatic discharges and other electrostatic phenomena. TC101 is divided into Working Groups and Project Teams (PT) each with responsibility for different product groups or electrostatic phenomena. WG7 was established to develop an International Standard covering:
- the evaluation of the electrostatic properties of all types of FIBC that are intended to be used for combustible dusts and/or in flammable or explosive environments;
- a definition of types of FIBC in relation to their construction and intended use;
- specification of electrical test methods and requirements.
As the scope of IEC TC101 only allows it to develop standard test methods and means of evaluation, a formal liaison is required with ISO TC122, which has the authority to develop standard performance requirements and classifications for the product groups it covers. The liaison takes the form of a Joint Working Group (JWG7). IEC is the lead organization and so JWG7 is convened under IEC TC101. WG9 of ISO TC122/SC3 is in fact a virtual committee that never actually meets. However, members of WG9 nominated by ISO Members do actively participate in JWG7 meetings.
The first standard developed by JWG7 was published in October 2005 as a joint logo standard, i.e. IEC/ISO 61340-4-4.
Outline Structure of IEC/ISO 61340-4-4: 2005
- Requirements for labelling FIBC that claim compliance with the standard;
- Performance requirements:
- Properties required to avoid propagating brush discharges ( Type B, Type C & Type D);
- Properties required for FIBC intended to be earthed (Type C);
- Properties required for FIBC not intended to be earthed (Type D);
- Test methods:
- Breakdown voltage (Type B, Type C & Type D);
- Ignition tests (Type D);
- Resistance to ground (Type C);
- Information to be included in a test report.
The ignition test is based on procedures developed and used over many years by independent test authorities such as BTTG, Chilworth Technology, Swiss Institute for Promotion of Safety & Security, and by industry leader Texene, LLC. The procedures simulate the actual conditions in which FIBC are used. Electrostatic charge is generated when powders, granules or pellets are loaded into or emptied from FIBC. For any FIBC to be considered safe, it must be demonstrated that under such charging conditions no incendiary discharges are produced from the FIBC itself. The purpose of standardizing the test procedure is to ensure universal application of the correct test conditions. The charging current established by JWG7 and incorporated in to the standard is 3 µA. The flammable atmosphere specified in the standard simulates methanol (the most easily ignitable solvent likely to be present when FIBC are used) with a minimum ignition energy of 0.14 mJ.
IEC/ISO 61340-4-4 was published as a full International Standard in October 2005.
The test procedures specified in IEC/ISO 61340-4-4 are intended principally for type qualification purposes, to demonstrate that a particular design of FIBC constructed from specified materials is safe for use in the presence of a flammable or explosive atmospheres. Other test methods may be more appropriate for routine quality control testing.
In Europe, CENELEC has recently published a Code of Practice for the avoidance of hazards due to static electricity (CLC/TR 50404:2003). The origins of this document are two old established codes from United Kingdom and Germany, BS 5958 and ZH 1/200. The two codes were originally combined in a guidance document published as a CENELEC report R044-001 in 1999. Since then CENELEC Technical Committee CLC/TC44X has worked to update and improve the document with contributions from experts representing National Committees throughout Europe. CLC/TR 50404 has now been sent to IEC for development as an International Standard.
CLC/TR 50404 covers most industrial processes that involve handling solids, powders, liquids, sprays, gases, vapours and explosives. It has one section dedicated to FIBC. For the first time in any standard, FIBC are described using the classification of types that has been used in industry for many years. In recognition of the safety record established by CROHMIQ blue™ static protective FIBC over the last decade, the formal classification adopted by CENELEC experts includes unearthed Type D FIBC and furthermore, CLC/TR 50404 specifies that unearthed Type D FIBC may be used in all areas with equal safety as earthed Type C FIBC as shown in the table below:
Safe Use of Different FIBC Types
|Inside FIBC||Atmosphere Surrounding FIBC|
|Non-Flammable Atmosphere||Explosive Dust Atmosphere||Explosive Gas or Vapour|
MIE > 1000 mJ
|A B C D||B C D||C D|
|MIE 3 mJ to 1000 mJ||B C D||B C D||C D|
|MIE < 3 mJ||C D||C D||C D|
IEC 61340-4-4 Ed. 3.0
The third edition of IEC 61340-4-4 was published in January 2018. The main changes with respect to the second edition are:
- In light of new experimental evidence, the resistance to ground limit for Type C FIBC reverts to 108 ohm, as in the first edition.
- The classification of Type L1 inner liners has been revised and extended to include Type L1C inner liners made from multi-layer materials with a conductive internal layer.
- The labelling for bulk bags of Type B, Type C and Type D must include a reference to IEC TS 60079-32-1 for guidance on earthing (grounding).
NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION (NFPA) STANDARDS
The guidance on safe use of static protective bulk bags that is given in IEC 61340-4-4 has been incorporated in the latest editions of:
- NFPA 77: Recommended Practice on Static Electricity
- NFPA 652: Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust
- NFPA 654: Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids
These NFPA standards specify that Type B, Type C and Type D FIBC shall be tested to, and meet the requirements of IEC 61340-4-4 before use in hazardous environments.