The Benefits of Refurbishing Your Old Bins

Whether your Intermediate Bulk Containers need modifications for a new process idea or repairs from a little run-in with a forklift, we at CPS are happy to fix them up for you. While we do specialize in building custom machines, there are also some significant benefits to choosing to refurbish your old bins instead of buying new.


Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC), also called “Bins”, are the industry standard for powder handling and processing applications where close containment is required. At Custom Powder Systems, we custom build these Bins and Bin Systems to precisely fit our customers’ needs.

Sometimes, however, it can be in a company’s best interest to spruce up an IBC they already have instead of investing in a brand new one. We talked to Rayce Gibson, a valued Sales Executive at CPS, about the benefits of refurbishing bins and how we can help with yours.

Handling it Your Way

Intermediate Bulk Containers handle powders from the raw material form to the point where it is either put into a package or made into tablets, capsules, or something similar. They are most often used in the chemical, food, pharmaceutical, and nutraceutical industries.

While these bins all essentially serve the same purpose, at CPS their fit and finishes are tailored to each company’s products. “Everything we do is built to the customer specifications or to their specific needs,” Rayce says. “All the equipment basically has the same starting point, and then everything is tweaked accordingly to fit whatever the customer requests.”

Reduce, Reuse, Refurbish

Having bins that don’t fit your current needs can really put a damper on the production process. However, not all companies have the resources to purchase new machines as frequently as they need fixing. At Custom Powder Systems, we believe there are many benefits to simply refurbishing the IBC you already have. Here’s just a few:

  • Save Money – Purchasing equipment is often funneled through a capital expenditure process, which can sometimes deny funding for machines that just need repairs. Refurbishing your bins allows you to have like-new equipment that can come out of a maintenance budget for a much lower cost than buying a whole new piece.
  • Save Time – It’s no secret that creating something great takes time, especially when you’re starting from scratch. And, in the world of manufacturing, time can often be your greatest asset. By fixing up your old bins, you can save your most precious resource by making a few quick tweaks instead of waiting to build something new.
  • Environmentally Conscious – When replacing equipment, there will always be an element of waste production when it comes to disposing of the old and building the new. Simply making improvements to your existing bins is an environmentally-conscious decision that avoids the unnecessary use of excess materials.
  • Maximize Investment – Picking out your equipment can be a big expenditure of both time and money, and you probably would like to avoid going through the exhausting process over and over again every time you need something new. By fixing or modifying the bins you already have, you can maximize your initial investment and avoid wasting more of your most precious resources.
  • Process Modification – One of the most beautiful parts of engineering is the constant evolution of ideas. Over time, you may find new and better ways to manufacture your products, and you don’t want your equipment getting in the way of that. Being able to make adjustments to your current bins can make process modifications much more accessible.

Whether you purchased your bins from us or another manufacturer, we’d love to help you through the process of refurbishing.

“If you have bins that are damaged that you need to put back in service, send them to us!” Rayce says. “We’re more than happy to talk with anybody and everybody about doing the work to keep production quantities up that you may otherwise not be able to meet with damaged bins.”

It’s In the Name

We don’t call ourselves Custom Powder Systems for nothing. All of our products are designed specifically for the needs of each individual company because we know all the ins-and-outs of how the powder handling process works. We take great pride in being customer-centric and always providing the highest quality products.

“We work really hard as a team to find the best possible solution for the customer so we can make their lives easier and give them something that is going work,” Rayce says. “The greatest benefit we offer as a company is the extensive knowledge and experience of our teams.”

Whether you need a brand new bin or just a touch up on an old one, Custom Powder Systems is happy to work with you to create exactly what you’re looking for. Just give us a call, and let us know how we can help!


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Who is “The Real McCoy” Anyway?

Rumor has it that the phrase “the real McCoy” could have come from a variety of sources. But the origin story we like the most is about Canadian inventor Elijah McCoy and his coveted products which customers understandably only wanted authentic versions of.

If you want something that’s “the real McCoy”, you’re probably looking for “the real deal” or a “genuine article.” But where did this idiom come from? Who is McCoy, and why are they the gold standard for authenticity?

Truth be told, there are many theories about the origins of this phrase ranging from a Scottish poem to a Canadian book, to a Roman radio show. But, we’re going to focus on the one involving the prolific nineteenth-century inventor Elijah McCoy.

A Son of Slaves

Born in Canada in 1843, Elijah McCoy was the son of former slaves George and Emilia McCoy who had fled to the country for their freedom. Following the Civil War, the family then moved to Ypsilanti, MI to restart their lives in the United States. As an adult, Elijah traveled to Scotland to be educated as a mechanical engineer.

Upon completion of his studies, he returned to the US and went to work on the Michigan Central Railroad. As a black man, however, he all-too-commonly faced discrimination in his field and was hired as a train fireman despite his engineering training.

A Reputation on the Railroads

Elijah did not let his setbacks stop his genius creativity, however, and quickly began inventing products that would make train maintenance easier and more effective. He received his first patent for an automatic oiling device that allowed locomotive engines to be lubricated while still running instead of stopping as previously required.

This revolutionary device significantly improved efficiency, therefore saving train operators precious time and money. Elijah’s reputation for creating quality products quickly grew, and to avoid receiving cheap substitutes, users of heavy machinery were said to have asked for “the real McCoy.”

A Plethora of Patents

Elijah continued inventing through the remainder of his life, ultimately earning over 50 patents for his designs. He was eventually inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2001.

Facing racism and systemic hardships as a black man from the beginning, it is truly inspiring how Elijah McCoy was able to establish a long, successful career for himself. And it is even more incredible that his name has continued to be a recognizable part of the English lexicon over a century later.

We at Custom Powder Systems love to see engineers who come from all types of backgrounds create great things. If we can help you invent something, let us know!

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Accidental Invention: Corn Flakes

Corn Flakes – the best-selling breakfast cereal in the United States. You know them. You love them. But do you know how they were created? Check out this article to learn the surprising story behind the accidental invention of this iconic Kellogg’s product.

As with many notable inventions, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes were created partially by accident. Though the product may not be what the Kellogg brothers were intending to make at the time, their stroke of culinary luck led to the advent of The Kellogg Company and America’s best-selling breakfast cereal.

The Kellogg Brothers’ Battle Creek Sanitarium 

Before the Kellogg name was associated with cereal and snacks, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will Kieth (WK) Kellogg were well-known as the operators of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. This so-called “health spa” catered to helping clients tend to a variety of ailments. Treatments included hot and cold water baths, hydro-therapy, electric-current therapy, light therapy, as well as exercise and massage regimens.

The basis of these treatments was inspired by the brothers’ commitment to their faith in the Seventh Day Adventist fundamentalist church. One of the main principles of the religion entailed maintaining the purity of one’s bodily temple. For the Kellogg’s, this meant adhering to a strict “healthy” diet including lots of water and vegetables and discluding substances like alcohol and caffeine.

Bland is Best and Easy to Digest

To support their ideal diets, the brothers started concocting different healthful foods that they and their patients could eat regularly. The goal was to avoid fat, grease, salt, and spices and focus on simple ingredients that were good for the digestive system. So, Dr. John began experimenting by mixing and baking flour, oats, and cornmeal.

As the legend goes, it was during one of these afternoons of cooking that the Kellogg brothers were called away from their kitchen in the midst of mixing a batch of wheat-based cereal and later returned to see that the dough had fermented. When they rolled the dough into thin sheets and baked it, they were positively surprised to find that it turned into perfect crispy and tasty flakes. Over the years, WK continued experimenting with the recipe and eventually found that corn created even more delicious and crunchy flakes than wheat.

A Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Sales go Up

The creation of this flaked cereal occurred alongside the booming of the Industrial Revolution – a time where individuals became busier and needed quicker and easier-to-eat breakfast options. The Kellogg brothers seized this timely opportunity and began to mass-market their product in 1906. Conflict arose, however, when WK started adding sugar to the cereal to make it more palatable, though Dr. John was avidly opposed.

To settle the dispute, WK purchased the rights to use the Kellogg name from his brother after a long legal battle and subsequently founded The Kellogg Cereal Company. The product soon came to boast several “firsts” in the cereal world, including offering the “Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures Booklet” as a prize to encourage sales, and introducing Cornelius (Corny) Rooster as a mascot. Though the Corn Flakes we know today aren’t exactly the health food they were initially designed to be, their success as one of the most iconic and best-selling cereals in the US proves that they were an invention the breakfast world is certainly thankful for.

As the Kellogg brothers discovered, you never know when or how your next great innovation will come to life. If you have an idea you’d like to explore, contact us to let us know how we can help (even if you end up creating something you didn’t expect).

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The Amazing Engineering That Gave Us Raisinets

What do you get when you combine American raisins, sweet chocolate, and the right equipment to polish? One of our favorite treats: Raisinets.

One specific grape, a method of polishing, and the right kind of chocolate are just a few of the key components in making Raisinets. Let’s grab a handful of this sweet treat and chew on some fascinating information.

It Takes a Special Raisin

Top 10 Reasons 1 2

While raisins can be made from dried grapes that are purple, blue, or yellow, it’s the pale green Thompson Grapes that are the choice for Raisinets. Thompsons are known in most of the world as sultana grapes and were brought west from the Ottoman Empire by William Thompson.

Today, nearly a third of the grapes and an astounding 97% of raisins in California are Thompson Grapes. 5.1 billion of those raisins end up in Raisinets. And that’s not a typo: 5.1 BILLION!

Give Thanks to the Blumenthal Boys

Calvin Coolidge was president, Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic, and Philadelphia’s Blumenthal Brothers Chocolate Company created Raisinets all in the same year. As movie-going grew in the 1930’s and 40’s, so did the popularity of these magical chocolate covered raisins.

But the Blumenthal company wasn’t just a one-trick-pony. They also gave us Sno-Caps, Goobers, and Chunky bars. Legal troubles in the 60’s and 70’s led to eventual bankruptcy for BBCC, but Raisinets survived. The brand was sold to a few different companies, including Nestle who eventually sold their confections to Ferrero for $2.8 billion.

Your Raisinets Are Polished 

The early incarnations of Raisinets were made in small mixing and polishing pans. It would take about 90 minutes to coat and another 60 minutes to polish the candies just to get about 350 pounds of product. While 350 pounds seems like a substantial amount, it’s not nearly enough to quench our craving for these shiny, chocolate covered raisins.

Today, a typical batch of Raisinets is 2,500 pounds, equivalent to about one-million pieces. In the last 24 hours, 21 million new Raisinets were coated and polished.

Bob Luebbe, President of Custom Powder Systems, recalls when Nestle owned the product, and an unexpected problem came with increased production. “The Raisinets were in a 4-foot container and were getting stuck together under their own weight,” Luebbe explained. “The solution we found was to slow-tumble the product so they would separate without crumbling the chocolate.”

On to Hollywood and Holidays

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Is there such a thing as a Raisinets holiday? You better believe it. Mark your calendars for next March 24, celebrate “National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day,” and give thanks to whoever comes up with those holidays.

And, if Raisinets are known for anything, it’s likely being a movie theater treat. Each year the candy continues to rank as a favorite at cinemas, and many praise the surprising taste-combo of popcorn and Raisinets.

Are Raisinets the first treat you go for at the movie theater?

At Custom Powder Systems, we love learning (and chocolate), and are standing by to build the equipment you need when you’re ready to create your dream product. Contact us here to let us know how we can help.

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Welcome Back to CPS, Rayce Gibson!

Sales Executive Rayce Gibson has rejoined us here at Custom Powder Systems, and we couldn’t be happier. And it sure seems he’s happy with his decision, too. “I’ve known these guys forever,” Rayce says. “We already knew each other, we knew what we expected from each other. We know how each other works. It really was just like going back home.”

Rayce’s history with CPS is more than just previous employment with us. We’ve known and respected his talents even when he worked with our competitors. For Rayce, manufacturing has always been a significant part of his world.

Growing Up in Manufacturing

Rayce was born into a manufacturing family as the third generation in the industry. When attended the University of Nebraska he studied business and marketing and would eventually go on to work in the family business. He was ready to take his newly-learned marketing skills and business know-how to truly make an impact at his first job.

How Can I Help Solve This Problem? 

No matter where his paycheck comes from Gibson always keeps his eye on what really matters: the customer. “We get together, we talk about their problems, the issues that they’re encountering, how we can make it better…” says Rayce. “And then we go back to engineering and say, ‘How can we help solve this problem? How can we solve this issue and make the handling of their product, their time, and their process better?’”

Rayce says the team spends time investigating a customer’s current process and finding where hang-ups might be happening. “We get deeply involved investigating the materials, asking, ‘What is the bulk density? What’s the particle size? How does it flow? What’s your ideal situation from point A to point B?’”

Back Where He Wants to Be

For Rayce, Custom Powder is exactly where he wants to be at this point in his career. “I’d worked with Denise, Mac and Bob not only at Custom Powder, but at my previous employer. I felt it was the right time to go back. I liked everything that they’ve done with the company. They care about their employees, they care about each other, they care about the customers, and that’s what I’m about. I want to make sure that the customer is taken care of, but we have fun doing it.” When he’s not helping our customers with creative solutions, Rayce likes to spend his free time woodworking and admiring classic cars.

We are so grateful Rayce decided to once again share his talents with our team. We love having another skilled brain around to help us keep on solving.

To help us put Rayce to work developing unique solutions for you, reach out to us here.

Mothers of Invention_Guppy_blog

Mothers of Invention: Sarah Guppy

Sarah Guppy was paid £40,000 by the British Government for a way to keep barnacles off boats. That’s about $4.5 million today. In 1811, she created a way to make safe piling for bridges. This important invention was employed right away by a Scottish civil engineer. This time, Guppy refused money for her creation. She saw the invention as something for the public’s benefit, not for hers alone. She was a wildly versatile inventor during an era where women rarely worked, much less held patents.

Her Inventions. His Patents.

Victorian Era women were not allowed to own property, and that includes intellectual property. This meant that she had to file for patents under her husband’s name. This didn’t deter Mrs. Guppy. It seems she had a knack for creating and was going to do it whether she received credit or not. 

While Isambard Kingdom Brunel is lauded for his masterful creation of civil engineering feats still employed in the United Kingdom, including The Great Western Railway, he would often receive suggestions and support from his good friend, Sarah Guppy. Like most inventors, it seemed Mrs. Guppy had an unsatisfied appetite for creating, improving, and inventing.  

The Suspension Bridge

Guppy is often given credit for the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, England. As one of the most recognizable structures in Bristol, the Clifton Suspension Bridge is the subject of much lore, including a very close connection to Sarah Guppy. Her son, Thomas, worked with Isambard Kingdom Brunel and her patent for “erecting bridges without arches” is visible in the structure. Her actual patent was for a chain bridge. With her nautical understanding, it’s believed her creation involved heavy anchor chains. While she can’t lay claim specifically to the Clifton, she nonetheless deserves credit in the vast stew of ideas that led to its creation. 

As an inventor and creator, Sarah Guppy was both eclectic and brilliant. She was well-read and showed sharp business skills during a time when women were rarely involved in either. She was arguably one of the first who demonstrated her own special “Art of Engineering.” 

It’s modern-day women like Guppy, that we celebrate regularly in our regular podcast The Art of Engineering.


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Sarah Guppy image: By Source, Fair use,

pass through container

“That’s the Strangest Thing I’ve Ever Seen”

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something new comes along.  One that made our Denise McIntosh say, “What is that?  That’s the strangest looking machine I’ve ever seen!”

It’s another innovation from the smart minds in our engineering department. The challenge they encountered was a customer who needed to get product from one room into another. That’s easy. The problem was the wall.

When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, you have an engineering paradox. But not for the engineers at Custom Powder Systems. When we ask them to walk through walls for our customers, they do exactly that.

This fascinating device is a pass-through wall transfer system. The idea is to get a product from one room to another without handling it.  

We always love a good challenge. While we have many products like containers/IBC, isolators, and blending machines that are ready to go for any application, we have a long history of breaking through walls that would stop other companies.

Some people see what we come up with and call it a magic trick. We just see good engineering and proactive problem-solving.

What “walls” are stopping you from being your most efficient? We’ve solved space problems, streamlined overly complex processes, and just straight-up invented things nobody has ever seen before.

Contact us here or simply call 417-868-8002.  Send a challenge our way and we’ll literally go through walls for you

Stardust and magic in woman hands on dark background

The Magic Hidden in Determination

If you’ve ever tugged a knotted rope with a puppy, you can be sure that you’ll get tired long before the puppy.

And the puppy already knows it.

In the article “Embrace the Grind” by Jacob Kaplan-Moss, he goes into the detail (and determination) involved in pulling off a magic trick. Magic and good engineering have something in common:  When it’s done right, people stand wide-eyed and wonder how it was done.

As the article shows, magicians spend a disproportionate amount of time setting up a magic trick. Likewise, engineers put 90% of their effort in planning. It’s a law that engineers know all-too-well:  Months of planning, thousands of calculations, and dozens of times starting from scratch, just to make a process easier.

In other words:  It’s hard to make something easy.

If you’re the type who doesn’t like to know how a magic trick is done, don’t read the article. One of the key points is that there seems to be a relation between how long it takes for a magician to set up a trick, and how blown away the audience is. Some magic tricks can take weeks and 38 complex elements just to pull off a 5-minute trick.

Top magicians “Embrace the Grind.”

The best engineers do that, too. Like a puppy pulling on a rope, they never seem to tire. Like magicians, the more time engineers apply to a project…the more efficient (and impressive) the result will be.

We’re ready to go to work and build a magic trick for your operation!

Contact us here, or just call (417) 868-8002

Downtime Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

Read This Part About Parts

Meet your biggest enemy: Downtime. When machines go down, customers don’t get taken care of, the time clock keeps ticking up your payroll, and money stops coming in. 

Unfortunately, machines break down. It’s one of the inevitable truths of anything with moving parts. Fighting the downtime enemy means being smart about your inventory of replacement parts. Fortunately, Custom Powder Systems has your back. 

At Custom Powder Systems, we warehouse over 5,000 parts. In stock parts are available to ship immediately if/when you experience a breakdown.   Parts that are not in stock may have a lengthy lead which will lead to longer downtime and lost production.    If you were to call and say “that thingy that sticks out the left side,” you can be sure we’ll know just the thingy you’re talking about and get it to you right away.

Granted, our super-smart customers rarely call things “thingys,” but the point is – even if you don’t know the part number or the specific name, we gotcha covered.

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Broken Machinery

Our job is to be on standby so whenever it’s time for a replacement part, we’ll get it to you lickity-split. We keep everything organized and easy to get to, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. We’ll even give you recommendations on maintenance parts you should always have on hand, like custom gaskets, filters, and lid/clamping assemblies, reducing any downtime next to zero.

Equipment purchases come with a Turn Over Package (T.O.P.) list with a detailed Spare Parts List, and QA Documentation, Material Test Reports, as well as other important information.  With your detailed T.O.P. list, you’ll know exactly the various parts you’ll want to have on hand.  

Breakdowns happen.  Downtime doesn’t have to!  

Let’s get ready for a busy 2021 and make sure you have the parts to get you through the year. Call our Parts Specialist Kimberly Wallace at 417-868-8002, or reach out via email by clicking here

10 Great Gratitude Quotes

10 Great Gratitude Quotes

This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving in the US, where it has been an… unusual… year. In some ways, our world feels larger, and in other it feels smaller. Whether you’re a client, vendor, or partner here in the States, or you’re among those we count as friends around the world, we are more thankful for you than ever.

In the coming weeks as well as in 2021, we hope we can demonstrate our gratitude by giving more than we receive, by helping in ways over and above what’s expected, and in always remembering one thing above all else:

Custom Powder Systems isn’t in the containment business. We may provide solutions to containment problems, but we are in the relationship business.

To keep things light this week, in addition to our latest podcast episode featuring Lynn Aurelius, we thought we’d share these ten great quotes about gratitude suitable for copying, pasting, and sharing.

Thanks for sharing your business and friendship with us.

quote from Naomi Williams

Quote from John Wooden

quote from Ralph Blum

Quote from Albert Schweitzer

Quote from Willie Nelson

Quote from Oprah Winfrey

Quote from Christine Northup

Quote from Harold Kushner

Quote from Marian Wright Edelman

Quote from Ralph Marston

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!