Frequently Asked Questions

Powder and Bulk Solids Handling

Solutions to your Powder Handling Problems

Prevent Powder Flow Problems

Powder flow is a critical focus for all manufacturers making powder-based products. Companies who need to formulate, blend and maintain a mixture need to control the factors that can lead to problems. Matcon's Powder Handling experts have years of experience across a range of industries. Use our knowledge to create efficient practices.

IBC Powder Handling Systems

Matcon's Powder Handling Systems are based around portable Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) with integral Cone Valve technology for batch powder processing. Our solutions enable manufacturers to apply a flexible practice to allow for varying order sizes and widening product portfolios, providing efficient processes for a greater return on investment.

Powder Mixing & Blending

Many consumer-based products are blended in some form, either on a small or large scale. Matcon supplies a mixing system which enables manufacturers to blend powder mixtures, creating a homogenous product. Companies who want to achieve effective and accurate blending will look to improve containment and blend times, and reduce cleaning time.

Why choose Matcon
Who are Matcon?

Matcon specialize in the supply of top-quality Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) systems for the efficient and flexible handling of powders, granules and tablets.

With a diverse customer portfolio encompassing both national and multi-national companies, our powder handling solutions have been successfully delivered since 1980 to a wide range of manufacturers, including those in the Infant Nutrition, Food, Pharmaceutical and Chemical industries.

Find out more on Matcon here.

What is the Cone Valve?

Invented, patented and developed by Matcon, our unique Cone Valve technology inside each IBC offers guaranteed, controlled discharge of material without the risk of powder segregation, bridging or blocking, and has been proven repeatedly to overcome some of the most challenging, difficult to handle powders.

The Matcon Cone Valve also protects blends after mixing. An annular gap at the IBC outlet allows material to discharge under mass-flow, therefore no particle rolling can occur, hence no segregation - the result, a perfectly homogenous mix right to the end of the batch.

Learn more about our Cone Valve technology

What are powder IBCs?

Matcon IBCs are used for the processing, storage and transport of bulk material solids, powders, granules and tablets. Designed to meet the highest hygiene and safety requirements, our IBCs are fully contained for dust-free handling.

Available in a variety of sizes between 300 and 3,500 litres, the IBCs are manufactured from 316L stainless steel, 304 stainless steel or a polyethylene bottle supported in a steel framework (application dependent).

Learn more about our IBC range for use with the Matcon range of IBC Filling, Blending, Discharge and Washing Systems.

Do Matcon have local service support?

Matcon are a global company with offices in the UK, USA, India and China, and personnel also based in South East Asia and Australia. Our facilities in the UK, USA & China also offer full-scale powder blending and testing facilities allowing customers to conduct trials.

For our existing customers, we provide a range of spares and maintenance services, delivered by our Service Account Managers. This team is positioned across the globe to give advice on process, give technical support and recommend service intervals for your system.

A worldwide network of agents brings additional support, providing close customer assistance and service wherever our customers are in the world.

Contact your local office here.

Can you support projects globally?

Matcon offer exceptional service providing a full range of Engineering Services, Installation and Commissioning support to our customers around the globe.

Our Project and Service Account Managers are expertly placed to provide advice on the specific needs for your process, give detailed technical support and recommend the ideal maintenance program for your system.

Learn more about our Aftersales support

Do you have any similar examples of completed projects?

We are pleased to be able to share a range of customer's stories from across many industries. You can find some of these on our Case Studies page which will give you a good example of equipment used and regular return on investments. Please also contact our team for further information.

I have a problem. Can you help me?

The Matcon team has application experts and engineers on stand by, ready to help! If you would like to speak with a member of our team to discuss an existing project or you need help to solve a powder handling problem, then please complete the contact us form.

Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs)
What is the largest size IBC you do?

Matcon Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) can be manufactured in a range of sizes from 300 - 3,500 litres. All contain the Matcon Cone Valve to ensure flow without segregation.

Our large scale IBCs are used by manufacturers who have larger batch size requirements.

To learn more about Matcon IBCs, please view our products page.

What is the smallest size IBC you manufacture?

Matcon Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) are available in a variety of sizes from 300 to 3,500 litres. Our smallest size IBCs are normally used by manufacturers who have a requirement for smaller batch sizes or product testing.

Learn more about Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs)

Do your IBCs hold bulk solid materials?

Matcon Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) are designed to handle bulk solids, powders, granules and tablets across the batch powder processing operations from recipe Formulation through Mixing/Blending, to Packing and Cleaning.

Manufacturers who need to comply with the highest level of hygiene and safety requirements and stringent industry regulations, can be assured that they are dust-tight, safe and in line with the most rigorous of standards.

Learn more about Matcon's range of Intermediate Bulk Containers.

IBC Blending
How is IBC Blending different from a static mixer?

A Matcon Tumble Blender can offer almost instant recipe changeovers, increasing OEE rates.

The powder mixture is pre-formulated into an Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC). Then the IBC itself becomes the blending vessel. Once the mix is blended (creating a homogenous mixture) the IBC is removed and taken to the next processing step.

Recipe changeovers can be instantaneous as there is no need to clean the blender between batches as all product is contained within the IBC which is cleaned off-line.

To learn more about Matcon's IBC Industrial Mixer then please visit our products page.

To learn more about how an IBC Blender compares to a Fixed Line Mixer then please visit our blog.


How effective is IBC blending?

A Matcon IBC Blender is a rotating industrial mixer, that usually turns at an operating speed of between 5 to 25 rpm. This can be changed depending on the ingredients to be blended.

The IBC itself is used as the blending vessel, as it is rotated asymmetrically 360 degrees to create a homogenous mixture. This causes the ingredients to tumble and therefore as particles roll, cascade and fall the blend is achieved.

IBC Tumble Blenders can consistently deliver highly accurate and repeatable mixing of powder-based ingredients to suit a range of applications.

To learn more about Tumble Blending, please read our blog ‘Getting the mix right in your industrial mixer’.

How can I achieve and maintain a homogenous blend?

A Matcon Tumble Blender can deliver highly accurate and repeatable mixing of powders, to meet the highest requirements. 

When sticky powders need to be blended, an intensifier blade can be introduced to deliver high shear capabilities.

As RPM rates can also be altered and programmed to suit the recipe, many manufacturers find tumble blending a consistent method for achieving a homogenous blend.

When working with a Matcon IBC Tumble Blender, you also have the benefit of Cone Valve technology. This passive device, seated within the IBC is used at the point of discharge, enabling the mass flow of powders to make sure that your blended mixture maintains its consistency.

Prevent Poor Powder Flow
How can I stop powder bridging

Powder bridging or arching can often occur above the discharge point of a container holding powder material – could be a silo, IBC, hopper or mixer vessel

Matcon's Cone Valve offers automatic and controlled discharge of virtually any powder type and has been repeatedly proven to overcome powder bridging.

Thanks to the lifting action of the cone and its integral vibration during lift, cohesive materials can be stimulated to flow.  No more ‘bin rash’ & hammers required to release powder. 

In contrast, very free-flowing powders can be controlled without the need for additional feeders, by using the variable lift height capability of the valve.

Learn more about Powder Bridging and how to improve flow.

How can I stop powder segregation

Powder (particle) segregation can be a regular issue for those processing free-flowing powders. Manufacturers might find that a mix of powder ingredients can separate leading to a breakdown of a homogeneous mixture. 

Thanks to years of powder handling experience, our Cone Valve IBCs have been designed to allow for mass flow of powders. This means that your mix remains homogeneous during discharge to ensure product integrity.

Learn more about Powder Segregation and the Matcon Cone Valve.

What is a powder rathole and how to stop it?

Rat-holing often occurs when a cohesive powder is being discharged from a container under funnel flow effect. In this case, regularly found when using a slide valve or butterfly valve, the powder starts to flow freely but will then stop as the compacted powder gets held in the container.

If these materials are not stimulated to move by introducing mass flow, it will result in product yield loss.

Learn more about powder ratholing and how to solve your powder handling problems.

Do you have a specific question that is not answered here?

Type your question for our team below.