I spent last week time and analyzed IBC bin blenders from 10 different global manufacturers, in an attempt to establish the key factors that determine a high quality and reliable equipment.
My name is Sunny , I just work in Saintyco for three months , I know it is a little difficult for a new guy to learn pharmaceutical equipments, But I like learning and writing , this post is what I have made to learn related information about IBC bin blenders.
The main focus on was the bin blenders structural design, classification, performance, working principle and equipment specification.
During this study, our main focus was on the following key bin blender manufacturers: Servolift LLC, SaintyCo, Matcon, GMPMax Solutions Corp., TOTE® Systems, GEA, Nicos Group Inc., Comasa, Hanningfield and Palamatic Process.
#1 All IBC Bin Blenders have the Same Working Principle
A close look at any bin blender catalog, you’ll realize that these machines come in a wide range of designs and shapes. However, the working principle still remains the same.
For instance, let’s compare these two videos:
- IBC bin blender video 1
- IBC bin blender video 2
Did you notice any similarities in the two cases?
Well, in case you didn’t, then this is what you need to know:
- The bin is inserted to the lifting arm of the machine
- It then lifts the bin off the ground
- IBC bin blender is then rotated at a predetermined speed/cycles
In short, a bin blender machine will have the following key components:
Rotary frame: It rotates the bin depending on the number of cycles. The rotary frame holds the bin securely and safely ready for blending.
Driving system: Rotates the rotary frame, thus blending takes place. It consists of an electric motor that is coupled to the rotary frame using shafts, gears or conveyor belts.
Lifting system: It uses a hydraulic system to lift the bin off the ground.
PLC control system: Users key in commands via an HMI as the PLC system controls the blending action. The technicians may enter the following data: Speed of rotation, number of cycles, stop/start command or lifting/lowering the bin.
In short, all bins available in the market have the same working principle. It is a machine that is simple and easy to use.
#2 The Bulk Container Blenders Have Almost a Similar Structural Design
I want you to compare these two IBC blenders:
Clearly, you can see there is some similarity in the structural design of these intermediate bulk container blenders. Here is what I mean:
- The cone shape always faces towards the ground. You could see this in the videos illustrating the bin blender principle of operation above.
- There are two openings – one on the upper section, called the man hole and charge hole at the bottom for discharging blended material.
SaintyCo bin blender, with arrows showing the openings at the top and bottom
Normally, the container bin manufacturers may change these shapes a little. For instance, they may opt for round, square or rectangular blender bins.
Even with all these, the concept and design are always the same.
3# Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC) Blenders are Made of FDA Approved Material
When it comes to material handling in pharmaceutical, food processing or chemical processing industries; quality compliance is an important aspect. It is for this reason that you need to buy only cGMP compliant IBC bin blenders.
First, a number of IBC bin blender manufacturers and suppliers use the FDA approved sealing materials. They may use silicone, nitrile, EPDM or neoprene rubber.
Second, stainless steel is a popular metal in the construction of bin blender structures. In most cases, they use AISI 316 for all product contact parts with other sections made of AISI 304.
Here is a link you can learn more about the AISI 304 and AISI 316.
More importantly, ensure the blender machine manufacturer complies with the cGMP regulations. Below is a quick overview of this requirement:
A summary of GMP requirements
This is a crucial requirement that every IBC bin blender manufacturer and supplier must consider. Even in the videos above, you can see that the entire structures of the two bin blenders are made of stainless steel.
#4 The Structure & Design of Ensures Efficiency and Reliability
Why do I say so?
I am sure you need a bin blender that will effectively mix material, and the process should be cost effective. This is the ultimate dream of any individual in the material handling and processing company.
Let me share with you some critical aspects that I learned during this study when it comes to this:
· Ability to Blend in a 360° Symmetry
This is a sure way to produce a homogenous mix with any type of intermediate bulk container blender. It is a highly efficient container when mixing powders and granules.
Image showing how the content of the bin blender moves as the container rotates. Source: Characterization of the Performance of Bin Blenders
Ideally, this takes place as the bin blender rotates as shown in the two videos above.
· Rapid Batch Change Over with No Cross-contamination
According to the information I retrieved, besides a practical experience with the IBC bin blender brands, these are some of the few aspects that manufacturers give a high priority.
That is, when you have an IBC blender with a rapid batch change over, no cleaning will be required between batches. This saves you a lot of time.
Moreover, since all material remains completely sealed within the container, there is no risk of cross contamination. You cannot compare this with the stationary bin blenders where a full clean-down between batches is required.
Furthermore, their design allows for easy discharge of IBC content. This reduces the possibility of wastages.
You can see all these clearly in the video below:
As you can see, the design allows for seamless flow of content from the bin.
· Irregular shape increases efficiency
All the 10 IBC bin blender manufacturers have bins with irregular shapes. This shape increases mixing efficiency.
You can see this clearly from the SaintyCo bench top blender
Clearly, it is quite evident that you can use these IBC bin blenders in a wide range of material processing environments.
#5 IBC Blender Manufacturer Opt for either a Clamping Bar or Cage Mechanism to Hold the Bin
These are the two common mechanisms for holding an intermediate bulk container in place during the blending process.
Let me explain what I mean here:
A bin blender in a cage
These IBCs are clamped in a cage after which the system rotates mixing all the content.
Apart from this, it may be clamped using a clamping bar. You can see this in the figure below:
Bin held by means of a clamping bar
In most cases, the clamping mechanism will depend on the size of a bin blender. For example, most bench top blenders use clamping bar.
On the other hand, large bin blenders have a cage clamping mechanism.
Closely related to this is the type of IBC blender frame. These frames may vary depending on the company’s designs.
#6 Bin Blender Capacities
There are many bin blenders that can match your specific application requirements. The machines come in a wide range of capacities.
Below are the technical specifications for the SaintyCo HDD400 – 1200 Single Arm Bin Blender:
Technical specifications for SaintyCo bin blender
At times, you may request for custom made bin blenders.
Again, you need to be careful when choosing an IBC bin blender holder. I do recommend those that you can adapt to many material processing environments.
That is, a system that can handle more than one size of a bulk container.
As you can see, an IBC bin blender is a simple machine, though it plays a fundamental role in material processing. All that matters is your ability to source for a high quality bin blender machine from a trusted manufacturer.
From experience, the sourcing process should be best on the key features of an intermediate bulk container blender.
In short, I am quite certain that you now understand all the vital aspects about IBC bin blender’s structural design, working principle and performance. With this information, as a professional or newbie in this industry, choosing the best equipment can be easy and simple.
I’d also wish to thank Tony Zeng, my boss in SaintyCo, for educating me valuable information about this essential material processing equipment.
More Resource about IBC Bin Blender: