NAPA – North Adriatic Ports Association

What to Know When Buying an Industrial Mixer

Engineers in chemical blending labThose industries that deal in the manufacturing of chemicals, foods and baked goods will typically need a first-rate industrial mixer to create the perfect blends of the powdered ingredients. In most of these important processes the quality of the blending will ultimately result in higher quality products that have higher market value as well.

If you will be working with a wider range of ingredients, you may find that some constituents of your concoction can cause allergic reactions. Furthermore, many industries are willing to pay higher prices for high-speed mixers and packing lines. But, this does not always result in any significant ROI or efficient long-term solutions when you consider all the elements to factor from having a good electric drum pump for cleaning to the time it takes to load the raw ingredients.

Are You Manufacturing a Variety of Products?

Some industries will be working with a single recipe and a larger volume in which case they may not need to make regular changes to their mixing process. This calls for a fixed mixer connected to the downstream and upstream process.

On the other hand, more and more manufacturers are responding to the great need for variety and therefore require a set up that can be adapted easily and quickly. If your demands call for different recipes and varied products than you will need a batch processor to make effective and immaculate changes.

The Characteristics of the Powder

Do your recipes call for free-flowing powders with all the same size particles? If so, then these ingredients will blend easily. Your mixer will be best fitted with an especially gentle blending programme. The tumbler- or ribbon-blender would be a good choice.

The Size of the Batch Being Produced

There are very large mixers capable of completing a very large order in one easy batch. Of course the times it will take to discharge, reload, clean and refill the mixers will also be considerably longer. You will need to consider what sort of time frames you are working with. Clock the time it will take to rip and flip the 25 kg sacks, mix and discharge the product into the packing line. There will be a considerably larger downtime in a large mixer that will have to be cleaned and refilled.

Understand the True Mixing Time

Don’t be confused by the notion of a four-minute blend time. This does not represent the full time it will take to go through the packing and cleaning needs of your process. The full time it takes to complete a process and then get your blender ready for the next batch could include two hours of loading and three hours of packing.

Ease of Cleaning

Cleaning is an important part of the process. With many fixed blenders with many moving parts the last vestiges of the blended ingredients can lead to lost product. There will always be some remnant of the batch that will be stuck on bearings, side panels and bearings. This not only means some product is lost, it means that the potential for contaminated batches is increased.

Risk of Cross-Contamination

With greater varieties of ingredients being combined in your products, the potential for allergens in the air will also increase. It will always be a challenge to maintain efficiency and effectiveness in your changeovers and clean downs. It can be especially time consuming to clean parts and equipment in a coupled fixed mixer and in-line conveying system. There is also the time needed to validate that the production line is completely clean as well.

Some things to remember when blending powders:

  • There are many ways to reduce the time it takes to clean the blender.
  • A higher efficacy in the blending stage can streamline the process and allow for a greater number of batches each shift.
  • You can reduce the number of operators required to clean by using a tumbler blender.