Everything You Need to Know About Large Format Containers

Fluids and greases can be packaged in containers of many different sizes. And while some containers can be as small as a few ounces, others can be as large as hundreds of gallons. These large format containers are designed to support commercial and industrial applications where fluid and grease usage dictates a larger volume or alternate method of dispersal.

What Types of Containers are Classified as Large Format?

Commercially, a number of different sizes and styles of containers are used in fluid/grease packaging to accommodate large format filling. Some of the most common are pails, kegs, and drums. On the small end of the scale, pails are designed to hold anywhere from 1-5 gallons of fluid, while drums and kegs can hold 15-55 gallons. Weights of these containers will depend greatly on the product being packaged.

What Materials are Used for Large Format Containers?

Pails, kegs, and drums are made from a number of different materials,including several forms of recyclable or reusable plastics and cold-rolled or carbon steel. Plastic containers used for fluids and greases are most often constructed out of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). However, plastic containers can also be made of HDPE (high-density polyethylene), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or nylon. Which type of plastic often depends on the chemical properties of the fluid or grease being packaged, as certain chemical agents are known to cause plastics to degrade or dissolve.

Steel containers, especially drums, are another staple in large format packaging, because they are durable, resistant to chemical degradation, and easily stacked on pallets. Additionally, steel drums may last for up to 20 years but require regular refurbishing, liner inspections, cleaning, and treatment for corrosion.

What Industries Use Large Format Fluid/Grease Containers?

Many industries consume large amounts of oils and lubricants and large format containers like pails, kegs, and drums are well-suited to meet their needs. These industries include:

  • Automotive and Other Transportation
  • Metalworking
  • Heavy Equipment
  • Other End User Industries
  • Power Generation
  • Chemical Manufacturing
  • Food and Beverage

What Types of Fluids and Greases are Regularly Packaged in Large Format Containers?

Many different types of fluids are commonly packaged in large format containers. Some of the most common of these include:

  • Two Stroke & Four Stroke Oils
  • Refrigeration and Compressor Oils
  • General Purpose and Specialty Greases
  • Automatic Transmission Fluid
  • Power Steering Fluids
  • Hydraulic Oils
  • Brake Fluids

Proper storage of lubricants and greases in large format containers reduces the risk of deterioration and ensures the fluids remain safe and accessible for the long term. Large format containers must be kept in a clean, dry, and well-ventilated location, protected from the elements. For example, Industrial oils and base oils should not be stored in outdoor containers for fear of damage or contamination.

Additional consideration should be given to the shelf life of stored products, as it may vary based on the additives they contain. Automotive oils with many additives may have a shelf life of five years. In contrast, cutting oils and soft greases might only have a shelf life of one to three years.

Are Large Format Containers Right For You?

If you have questions about utilizing large format containers in your grease and lubricant packaging, speak with a member of our Pack Logix team. With over 70 years of experience in the fluid packaging field, we’re trusted as an industry leader in large format container packaging.


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