Not all IBCs are Equal

Do you experience segregation (de-mixing) on some recipes?

Do you have difficulty discharging some of your mixtures?

Do you find excessive product build-up which is unnecessarily washed down the drain?

We would be surprised if you didn’t say ‘yes’ to at least one of the above questions. We review and solve these issues every week of the year and have done so for the last 30 plus years. This paper explores how these issues can be overcome.

The Lean benefits
Previous articles in the series have looked at the benefits of decoupling the manufacturing process steps using Matcon IBCs. This gives great Lean benefits and the agility and flexibility to make to order and save considerable amounts of money on Inventory and factory space.

Many companies have understood the conceptual advantages of a decoupled IBC-system, but have invested in conventional butterfly or tilting-tote technology. Consequently they have been hugely disappointed with the performance achieved. The result being that many recipes end up being handled the same as before: directly coupled.

Not all IBCs are the same
Careful and detailed technical review is required in order to recognise the very significant performance differences that can be expected when comparing one IBC system with another. Here are a few examples of the weak links that can be caused by inadequate technology, which will negate any Lean benefits of decoupling the system:

  • Product won’t flow out of the IBC, so constant operator intervention is required.
  • Lack of flow control, flooding the packing machine.
  • The recipe segregates as it discharges out of the IBC and into the packing machine resulting in poor quality final product
  • Product losses as the product sticks to the IBC walls resulting in a poor yield.
  • Lengthy or totally unsuccessful cleaning of IBCs due to excessive and sticky residuals.
  • Excessive dust generation and consequent need for cleaning of production areas.

What can be done?
Matcon specialise in solving these problems. With over 30 years experience it is highly probable that we have solved your particular issue for another company either within Infant Nutrition or in the wider Food sector.

Each Matcon IBC contains the unique Cone Valve which lies at the heart of the Matcon technology. It can be configured in various ways to overcome practically all powder handling issues.

Cohesive materials can be stimulated to flow by the inte¬gral cone vibration.

Free-flowing powders can be controlled, without the need for additional feeders, even to a specified weight, by use of the variable lift height of the .jpg)cone valve.

Segregation is overcome as the cone ‘holds back’ the powder in the centre of the IBC and promotes flow from the sides, thus creating mass-flow and avoiding any rolling effects which cause segregation.

Fragile products such as flakes are gently handled. Flow can be shut off during discharge without any damage to the material.

Key Benefits of Cone Valve Technology

  • Guaranteed powder flow
  • Control of the flow
  • Prevent segregation
  • Automated discharging procedure
  • Complete discharge
  • Dust-free handling
  • Easy-clean, hygienic design
  • Direct dosing, no secondary feeders

Feed to the downstream process via the Discharge Station is both controlled and automatic allowing the packing lines to work to their optimum efficiency producing a quality final product.

So what does this mean for you? – As with any successful technology, there are other companies producing cone valve IBCs. However these are varied in both quality and cost, and all produce a wide range of results.

Whilst investment savings can be made by buying cheaper copies, you should be aware that the secret is in the detail. A relatively small short-term saving has been shown to cost ten-times (or more) in running cost and lost production.

If you are tempted by the alternatives, do study them in great detail before committing one way or the other.

Over and above technology, the most important aspect to achieve a successful installation of an IBC System lies with the experience of how to apply the technology into the various related processes. This is an area where Matcon’s team offers great value – we’re not happy until we have installed a system that brings you maximum profitability when compared to all the alternatives!

We offer full-scale Test Centre facilities on all continents, using your own powders, which means you can be sure the system will work before going ahead and making the commitment. This guarantees that you gain the maximum benefit from a successful step change.

“We chose Matcon Ltd due their expertise and competitive pricing but also appreciate their support during installation and later during the operation of their systems. Close monitoring by their staff after start-up has ensured optimum performance from all sites to date, which we are obviously delighted about. Matcon Ltd is a very reliable partner for us and we look forward to continue our excellent cooperation in our current operation and for our new developments together with them.”
Peter Suess, Chief Engineer Germany, Benelux & Nordics – Nestlé

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