Totes and Bins Information
Totes and bins are containers used for the storage and handling of parts and materials. Totes are portable, box-type industrial storage products that may collapse to conserve space when not in use. Bins have a semi-opened end so that personnel can remove contents without moving the container from its position on a rack or shelf. This built-in opening for exposing and accessing a container’s contents is what separates a bin from a tote. Some totes, however, are equipped with hinged or removable tops to provide easier access. Product specifications for totes and bins include volume capacity, depth or length, width or diameter, and height. Color, materials of construction, features, and applications are also important parameters to consider.
Most totes and bins are made from plastic, wire, fiberglass, or metal materials. Plastic totes are made from acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), acrylics, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Selecting the right product requires an understanding of material characteristics. For example, ABS is a rigid, thermoplastic polymer that provides dimensional stability. Acrylic totes are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, thicknesses, and sizes. PE and PP are both common thermoplastics, but polypropylene provides much better resistance to weathering and cracking. PVC totes and bins are often used in the food and chemical processing industries because of PVC’s inert nature.
Metal totes and bins are made from aluminum, steel, or stainless steel. Aluminum bins are lightweight and resistant to oxidation, but easy to dent. Steel bins are heavier and more durable. They are often used as shipping containers. Stainless steel bins are both chemical and corrosion resistant. Wire totes and bins are made of inter-twined wire that forms a container or barrier. Industrial storage containers that are made of materials such as cardboard, cloth and wood are also available.
Features and Applications
Totes and bins differ in terms of features and applications. Often, products are sized to complement racking or other automated process equipment. Some totes and bins are designed for heavy-duty use and are available in many different shapes and sizes. Others are equipped with molded-in legs. Smaller totes are often stackable. Larger totes may have casters, or be equipped with entries or openings for use with pallet jacks. Totes and bins that are insulated, recyclable, or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are also available. In terms of applications, totes and bins are used for material storage, parts organization, parts distribution, and shipping. Products are also used to store and move seafood, meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables, and processed food.
- Acrylic / Plexiglas
- Cardboard / Paperboard
- Composite / Fiberglass
- Fabric / Cloth
- Foam / Styrofoam®
- Heavy Duty
- Magnetic / EMI / RFI Shielded
- Polyethylene (PE)
- Polypropylene (PP)