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Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) for Bulk Solids Materials

The Original Cone Valve IBC

The right solution in the processing, storage and transportation of bulk material solids, powder, granules and tablets.

30 Min Read Time


In a competitive marketplace, you need to manufacture multiple batches effectively and  keep up with demand safely.


Why Choose Matcon Intermediate Bulk Containers

The success of a manufacturer is dependent on their ability to produce a product as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

To achieve this, a production line must have the capacity and flexibility to meet the demands of today's consumer, whilst incurring minimal overheads associated with downtime and scrapped product. This is where an IBC system comes in.

With the potential to manufacture more than one product at any given time, IBC systems are pivotal in improving the efficiency and profitability of manufacturing companies worldwide. 

This is why investing in an IBC system to manage and process your powders is vital to ensuring that you can meet demand and maintain your competitive edge.

Learn more about using an IBC for powder processing.


Not all IBCs are Equal

If you find yourself answering 'yes' to at least one of the questions opposite, Matcon are here to help.

We have been solving these issues for over 30 years by providing IBC solutions to overcome these issues.

Do some of your recipes suffer from segregation?

Is it a challenge when discharging some of your mixtures?

Are you losing valuable product unnecessarily down the drain?

Powder Handling Solutions With IBCs

A 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:

  • Powder-based products won’t flow out of the IBC, so constant operator intervention is required.
  • Lack of flow control, thereby flooding the packing machine.
  • The recipe segregates as it discharges out of the IBC and into the packing machine, resulting in a 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 surplus or sticky residuals.
  • Excessive dust generation and the consequent need for cleaning of production areas.

Problems often occur due to inadequate or unsuitable equipment and errors due to manual intervention or operations. These can lead to issues in areas such as segregation of blended material, lack of containment or reduced/no flow of powder from a container. In worse case scenarios, this could result in a cease in production while the problem is being fixed.

Learn how Matcon IBC systems tackle these challenges.



Compared to butterfly valve IBCs, the Cone Valve provides superior discharge control, preventing the traditional powder handling issues such as bridging, rat-holing and blend segregation.


The Optimum Solution

One of the best solutions for feeding powders or granules to a downstream process is an IBC. But not all IBCs are created equally and it's important to know what to look for.

What initially looks like a cheaper option is usually cheaper for a reason and may not give you the performance you need. It is worth researching to understand the benefits and limitations of different types of IBC. As well as production quality, the key difference in systems is in the valve outlet itself. Some manufacturers opt for IBCs fitted with a butterfly valve, others supply IBCs with cone valves. 

Learn more about IBC discharge valves and how the Cone Valve is particularly suited to pharmaceutical manufacturing.


Avoid typical powder flow problems through automatic and controlled discharge of virtually any powder type

Bridging, rat-holing, and blend segregation. These will be terms that you are all too familiar with, but what steps can you take to mitigate these issues?

Learn more about Matcon Cone Valve technology and how Cone Valves are the optimum solution for manufacturers processing anything from cohesive to free-flowing powders.

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Matcon Intermediate Bulk Containers

The Original Cone Valve IBC

The unique Matcon range of Cone Valve technology within every IBC prevents the  traditional powder handling issues such as bridging, blockages, segregation, flushing and core-flow.

Better understand the Matcon range of IBCs:

  • The Standard IBC range - manufacturing in stainless steel and  designed to meet the highest hygiene and safety requirements.
  • Polyethylene IBC range - suitable for processes which do not require the stainless steel IBC, such as a non-food application.

Find out which IBC is right for your powder handling requirements.


Which Do You choose? IBCs or Big Bags?

When introducing a flexible, decoupled system as your powder handling processing solution, the choice is often between using Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) or Big Bags. But which do you choose?

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Discover flexible powder handling systems using IBCs

Matcon's powder handling equipment allows you to reduce overproduction and waste, safely transport materials with cross-contamination and improve the effectiveness of your operations.

Discover IBC Powder and Bulk Solid Systems

By decoupling each of the key powder processing stages, these can all take place simultaneously 'in parallel'. This means that your production facility can embrace lean manufacturing and become more efficient. Learn more about Matcon's powder handling equipment.

Discover Flexible Powder Handling with IBCs

Consider Powder Blending and Mixing

Explore the highly effective blending of powder with quick cleaning in between batches - achieve high OEE rates with an IBC Industrial Mixer.

Consider Powder Packing Equipment

The simple design of Matcon's powder packing equipment ensures that manufacturers reduce downtime as change-out parts can be quickly cleaned off-line. Undertake recipe changeovers in minutes not hours.


A Guide to Selecting a Supplier of the Ideal IBC System

How can you ensure you ask all the right questions when selecting an IBC supplier?

The Matcon Ideal IBC System checklist will help you ask the correct questions of your IBC supplier.

With the support of the guide, you will solve your powder handling problems and validate your equipment procurement process. 

Download the Checklist

What are the full benefits of a decoupled system?


Why is a Decoupled System Better?

Efficiency and overheads are two major factors that manufacturers strive to influence on their production lines. The ability to improve these are pivotal to the success of a company, which is why choosing a powder handling system that addresses these areas of concern is so vital.

A manufacturer must be efficient, productive and profitable; and so too should their manufacturing process. This is where a decoupled Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) system comes in.

We explain what a decoupled IBC system is, and why it is better.


Avoid damaging equipment and stock with the correct manufacturing methods.


How to Prevent Bin Rash

'Hammer-rash' or 'Bin-rash' is the term used to describe the hammer pattern left when operators bang the side of a bin to dislodge powders that haven't discharged properly.

In addition to 'Bin-rash', we've also seen operators fully clothed in hazard suits rodding the product through the container inlet in an attempt to discharge product.

These issues can be avoided completely when you've got the right powder discharge device.

Find out how to get better powder flow with Cone Valve technology.


Read our pharmaceutical blog to learn more about powder and tablet handling best practice.


Avoid Powder Segregation and Bridging

All facilities that handle powders will have experienced ‘difficult’ or cohesive powders. These common issues often require operator intervention, such as ‘rodding’ or ‘hammering’.

Have you ever calculated how much valuable time is lost because of that or the damage it does to the powder and equipment, not to mention the GMP risks involved!

It is not accurately known what capacity of valuable powder ingredients are lost each year, simply caused by loss of blend uniformity or regular manual intervention during the manufacturing cycle.

These costly issues can be reduced significantly by selecting the appropriate powder handling system. Read our blog on reducing your cost per kilo to identify the root cause of your problem and discover the solutions available to solve them.

Featured Resources

Expert Advice and Opinion

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Request a Consultation

If you have a specific powder handling issue or are considering a new facility and need help or advice specifying the right equipment, request a no-obligation consultation from one of our process engineers.

The Original Cone Valve IBC Manufacturers

At the heart of the Matcon system you will find the Cone Valve - invented, patented and developed by us. We help manufacturers overcome issues of mix segregation, containment and bridging that are inherent in traditional powder handling systems. Discover our unique approach to powder handling and the innovation that underpins all that we do.

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