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Bulk Bags vs. IBCs – Using Stainless Steel IBCs for Food Grade Materials

bulk bags vs IBCs - using stainless steel IBCs for seasonings

Stainless steel IBC container loaded onto discharge station above bag packaging equipment

Trying to decide between bulk bags vs. IBC containers for your food grade packaging plant? Stainless steel IBC containers, or intermediate bulk containers, are easier-to-use, clean, and add into existing operations at food and beverage processing plants.

The simplest version of a stainless steel IBC system would include a set of IBCs and a discharge station.  These would replace traditional bulk bag unloaders and bulk bags, or FIBCs.

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The Stainless Steel IBC or Intermediate Bulk Container…

  • stackable, stainless steel, food grade container designed for long term storage and transfer by forklift  (Bulk bags are not as durable or reusable and don’t stack as well as an IBC.)
  • Includes a patented cone valve that discharges blended product accurately, while avoiding segregation or bridging (It can be more difficult to accurately discharge product precisely using a bulk bag.)
  • Provides dust-tight containment when IBC is connected to a discharge station (Bulk bags require extra equipment or manual intervention to achieve a dust tight connection.)
  • Build recipes fast inside the IBC (You cannot easily tumble and blend seasoning recipes and drink flavorings inside a bulk bag.)
  • Easy-to-clean, with less than 12 components
ISL Cone Valve eliminates bridging rat-holing segregation of dry mixed ingredients in IBC

Diagram of cone valve inside an IBC

IBC Tumble Blender

Add ingredients into a stainless steel IBC container and then use a tumble blender to achieve a uniform and consistent blend

IBC Discharge Station

  • Automatic dust-tight connection – no manual intervention is required once the IBC is lowered onto the discharge station by forklift
  • Meter the discharge of products at a controlled rate or continuous flow using low-pressure air
  • Bin vibrators ensure complete discharge of IBC
  • Easy-to-clean with minimal downtime – can be disassembled in minutes
ibc container being lowered onto discharge station

Stainless Steel IBC container being lowered onto a demonstration discharge station

IBC discharge station raises and lowers cone valve inside IBC to dispense seasonings

IBC discharge station with dust tight connection raises and lowers cone valve inside IBC to dispense seasonings, drink mixes, and more to equipment below

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Benefits of a Stainless IBC System

IBC container being raised by forklift

IBC container being raised by forklift

  • Easy-to-use – transfer, store, and discharge raw materials, seasonings, and finished snack food products
  • Easy-to-clean – designed for use with food-grade products with minimal downtime for cleaning
  • Easy-to-expand system – fit into many existing operations within your processing plant
Blended seasoning mix being loaded into stainless steel IBC

Blended drink mix being loaded into stainless steel IBC

Example – Loading an IBC from a platform

  • Load and fill IBC with seasonings, drink mixes, flavorings, nuts, seeds, or other food products using a bag or box dump station
  • Cyclonic fill head ensures maximum dust containment
  • Optional floor sensors automatically lower the fill head onto the IBC when it is in position
  • Optional floor scale can be included to precisely fill IBC to set target weight

Diagram of 50 lb. bag dump station loading an IBC from above

Example – Feeding Seasoning Systems or Packaging Equipment

  • Lower the IBC onto a discharge station using a forklift
  • Supply raw nuts and seeds to electrostatic seasoning system
  • Collect seasoned products in an IBC for temporary storage
  • Transfer seasoned products to packaging equipment
volumetric feeder doses raw cashews into enrobing drum

Volumetric feeder doses raw cashews into enrobing drum for seasoning

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IBC Blending, Batching, and Mixing Systems

Learn more about Stainless Steel IBC Containers

Learn more about IBC Blending, Batching, and Mixing

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