IBC Blender and Fixed Industrial Powder Mixer
We compare two blending systems; a traditional fixed mixer method (ribbon mixer or paddle blender) vs Matcon’s container-based IBC system (IBC Tumble Blending) to see which is most efficient at producing blended powders, taking into account the time each system takes from start to finish and the quality of goods produced.
You can choose to go straight to our video which provides a visual overview on this subject or continue to read on for the specific differentiators on fixed and container-based manufacturing systems.
Industrial Powder Mixing Process
Firstly, the fixed mixer must be filled, and ingredients blended, then the mix discharges directly into a packing line. The next batch can’t begin until the previous batch has finished the discharging and packing process.
If campaign manufacturing your next option could be to produce a stronger flavoured/coloured product without the need to clean in between recipes and then perform a full wet clean down of all equipment. During this cleaning time, no further production can take place. All equipment will need to be disconnected for thorough cleaning.
Matcon’s IBC Blending (Mixing) Process
An IBC has already been formulated ready for blending offline from the blender. It will then be clamped into the tumble blender and rotated to mix the powder ingredients. The IBC can then be taken from the blender and loaded onto a discharge station connected to a powder packer which will fill pouches/tubs.
Once emptied the IBC can be unloaded from the discharge station and moved to a cleaning module for a dry (air wash) clean to be performed (taking only approx. 15 mins). As these stages are all decoupled, they can take place at the same time, which means you can perform parallel processing. This will always enable you to have an IBC at the formulation stage, which is being blended. This second batch is then ready to be connected to the packer for filling.
Unlike a fixed mixer, while an IBC is being cleaned, another IBC can be used to allow for parallel processing.
What if Allergens Are Present in My Recipe?
If your recipes contain allergens, the cleaning process for a traditional fixed mixer system is:
- The production line is stopped
- Parts are removed/separated to be thoroughly cleaned
- Equipment will need to pass swab tests that show negative for allergen presence
- Equipment must be fully dried before production can recommence.
If your recipes contain allergens the cleaning process for a Matcon IBC system is:
- Production can continue as all IBCs and parts can be cleaned offline from the manufacturing process
- The blender/mixer is a ‘non-product contact system’ so there is no need for cleaning between batches
- Drying of equipment can take place offline while production continues with clean IBCs.
In the time it takes for a fixed mixer to dry, the Matcon IBC system will have completed the next batches, have been cleaned and be ready to start the next campaign.
The Matcon IBC powder handling system comes out on top for efficiency, quality and time saving when compared to a fixed mixer system, making it the primary choice for manufacturers. This decoupled, contained method considers allergen-containing recipes and other specialised goods. A range of products in a variety of order sizes can be manufactured in one day compared to the limited capabilities of a fixed mixer system.
Matcon, a division of IDEX MPT Inc., has been providing bulk solids and powder handling solutions for the efficient and flexible processing of powders, granules and tablets using Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) technology for over 40 years. In operation across a range of manufacturing industries, ...