An industrial mixer is a device used in blending a wide range of materials or maintain mixes in suspension on a large scale. Most of the devices are employed to mix liquids, dry, or slurry materials by utilizing the use of screws, blades, shafts, ribbons, impellers, propellers, among others. These materials can be chemicals, beverages, adhesives, paints, minerals or construction materials. The sizes range depending on the scale of use from laboratories to large production units. Whichever the specific application you may think of, there is a product for the purpose, and reaching out to expert manufacturers helps in determining the appropriate machine for your needs.
The industrial application of mixing machines is either for continuous or batch processing. Employing proper equipment in large scale application saves lots of time and money, which is why obtaining a proper machine with correct measurement and size optimized for a particular use is mandatory. The mixing machine will ensure fast processing times and ensure there are low operating or maintenance costs.
The most common industries that employ the use of these machines include:
- Adhesive and Sealants – This particular industry utilizes mixing machines as well as dispersers, and blenders in stirring low viscous and miscible fluids to achieve the desired nature.
- Food – The machines are used in the process of emulsification, dispersion, dissolution, blending, high-speed powder induction among many more.
- Pharmaceutical and Medical – Mixing machines used for this application are more advanced and designed specifically for safety, accuracy, and consistency. This is to ensure that the machines are pure and effective in their application for particle size reduction, chemical reactions, dissolving components among others.
- Glass, Metals, Cement and Ceramic – The equipment used in these industries determine the strength, reliability, performance and the durability of the finished products. Most of the machines used here are the planetary types.
- Electronic – Used to increase the accuracy and efficiency in batching of gels, slurry, pastes, powders, and solutions among other suspensions.
Other types of industries that employ the functions of blending machines are aerospace and aviation, ink, paint and coatings, plastics, composites, and many more.
Arde Barinco, Inc. - High Shear Dispersion Grinder Pump
Arde Barinco, Inc. - Continuous High Shear Homogenizer Mixer
The history of these machines date back to 1856 when Ralph Collier patented a mixer with rotating parts. This conjured other patents in later years including the J.F and E.P Monroe in 1859. This led to the machine being manufactured both in the US and in England. Several other transitions happened and in 1908, Herbert Johnson, an engineer, invented an electric standing mixture. Since then, several modifications and large scale adaptation of these machines has been embraced. Nowadays there are lots of them on the market for every type of application.
How Mixers Work
The large scale applications of these devices have different methods of functionality. However, the blending process occurs when the machine is activated and the media to be mixed hits the impellers. The shaft and impeller rotation mechanically agitate the substances confined to the device for processing. The state of the mixture eventually depends on the amount of power used and the magnitude of the currents or the turbulence applied.
Depending on the operation mode, the equipment used for processing can be a batch mixer or the continuous type. The batch process features the weighing, loading, and mixing of all the substances or ingredients into the machine. After a while, the mixture is then discharged out of the vessel. The time it takes depends on the material and its viscosity. In concrete batch, for example, it may take some time before the finished product is discharged. Also, processes that include heating or cooling, may take more time, even in high-intensity units that are supposed to quickly finish the task.
The continuous process on the other hand, deals with single high volume materials. In accordance with the configuration and formulation, the material is continuously fed to the machine and it gets mixed as it moves from the charging port to the discharge port continuously.
Types of Mixers
The different application of the devices follows their particular use. The following are some of the types available on the market.
Impeller and Propeller
These types of machines are characterized by vertical blades that are attached to horizontal discs. The impeller and propeller types have a high power and high shear design that makes it stable across a wide variety of liquid depths. This feature makes them the best for fast tasks in solid suspensions and shallow basins. They work by pumping the materials radially, which generates a recirculating pattern of mixing below and above the disc. In multiple impeller designs, the propellers often work as lower impellers.
A planetary mixer has a simple design with two strong blades that rotate around individual parts. Furthermore, the two blades have a perfect rotation around a center axis. The resultant effect is shear, stirring and intermixing. Examples of this type of device consists of commercial blending machines found in factories. The other most popular types include a drum mixer and a concrete mixer.
Conical screw mixers incorporate the use of a rotating screw that continuously progresses around a peripheral point of a conical hopper. Solids are lifted from the bottom to the top by the screws and once at the top, gravity pushes them back into the screw. The blending process occurs around the open screw and materials are transported to exit points to allow the entry of new substances to be mixed at the same level. The velocity profile that the conical hopper produces leads to a shearing action of the screw, which also results in gross mixing. The movement of solids is enhanced by this gross motion.
A paddle mixer is a type of processing equipment characterized by a shaft that rotates horizontally with fixed arms and attached paddle-shaped feet. Solids are impacted by the paddles of dual-shaft processors. The shaft pushes some of the solid onto the second shaft while at the same time directing others towards the end of one unit. The second shaft pushes the solid substances to the opposite end and towards the paddle set and another shaft.
Rotor stators have single shafts and an impeller that rotates close to a stationary housing. The primary function of a rotor stator is to break solid particles in liquids as well as emulsification. Both the impeller and the rotor imparts hydraulic forces to the ingredients, leading to particle clump breaking. The particles are ejected through stator openings to the rest of the batch. The rotor imparts the shear while through the stator, the particles are directed and confined.
This type of mixing machine employs ultrasonic waves to produce appropriate gradients of acoustic pressure triggers movement of fluids, which provides impeccable results.
Motionless/Static mixers are types of industrial equipment with obstructions, channels, or fins, which are mounted in pipes. As the liquid flows through the device, the mixing process is applied. They divide the flow, rotate and then channel it before recombination occurs. There are other types of these particular machine that create some forms of turbulence that further enhance the process. There are also other types, which include a pin mixer, stand mixer and homogenizer.
Components of the Machine
Most of them consist of the following main components:
1. Drive Device
This may be a motor, a gear, a reducer or a belt. The drive devices trigger the required motion used to mix the ingredients in the vessel. Belt drivers allow the operator a wide range of options, such as adjusting speeds; they are more flexible. Those driven by gears are more strong, durable and reliable.
Impellers are rotating devices that do the actual work. Impellers alter the flows and the pressure of liquids, suspensions, adhesives among other miscible substances. They consist of blades and a central shaft, which upon rotation, the blades rotate as well. The axial and radial flows of a mixer determine the type of impeller fitted in a particular tank. The impellers come with various designs including open and closed designs.
The shaft is the main component of the system. It is designed with a specific amount of torque and bend movement. The shaft can use a seamless tube or a solid shaft. Materials used to make shafts include stainless steel, titanium alloys, carbon steel, among others. Shafts are fitted according to the mounting, and different uses of these shafts are designed to carry out specific rugged patterns. With appropriate speeds, shafts push impellers to create shear motion ideal for blending.
- The machines work faster than manual or small scale types of stirrers
- The equipment is more energy efficient, cost effective and requires less maintenance.
- They are custom engineered, optimized and specialized for a specific task as per the requirements of your company standards.
- There is a precise control of the mix quality.
- Production becomes flexible and reliable.
How to Install
The installation of these processing machines depend on other components that produce the desired effect. For example, the high shear types are placed at the bottom of the vessel to produce a uniform product without unnecessary recirculation. Nonetheless, the placement and installation of these devices depend on the scale of operation, the viscosity of the product and the impeller type.
Mixer design as well as those of agitators follows the assembly of high-quality materials to ensure a long life. Most of the components are made using stainless steel for durability. Other types of high-end products, which are sometimes the most expensive are made of titanium. The manufacturing process follows this aspect to meticulously produce corrosion resistant with a frictionless surface.
The machines can be customized, however, they are not commonly availed. Customized or specialized devices enable more control over the operation. This process would normally exhaust typical models much more quickly. The machine design is an essential part of ensuring that the performance of the device is optimal. While choosing an industrial mixer, the most important things to look at are blade designs and the motor output power.
During optimization of the machines, the considerations to look out for are the drive, the mount, shaft, and the impeller. The drive consists of a motor with proper torque and power. The electric motor should be aligned with the horsepower requirements. While most motors are electronically driven, the small one can be used with hydraulic or air motors.
The mount on these equipment depends on the vessel size and type, the size of the equipment, operating environment, space and the desired flow pattern. Whether the vessel is cylindrical, open, square or closed will influence the type of mount to be used in your configuration. Also, the shaft should be customized to have the proper shear and tensile stress as well as the critical speed for long lasting patterns. Shafts also depend on the tank size. Specific types of impellers have different designs. Depending on the desired effect an operator is looking for, getting an appropriately designed and sized impeller is the key.
Other Accessories Used Together
These machines serve several purposes in different large scale applications, and for this reason, they produce a variety of end products. It is, therefore, only fitting that other accessories are used with them for efficiency. Most are fitted with internal heating systems, spray nozzles, electric and or pneumatic systems. All the add-ons ensure that the blending process goes smoothly.
Recommended Safety Practices
The inappropriate use of mixers may pose a great danger to the operator or damage to the machine itself. The following are tips on how to use them the right way.
- After or during the use, ensure that the device is never unattended.
- Do not overload the mixture. It may damage the machine.
- Make sure that the connecting wires are in a good and sound condition for all the electrically driven ones.
- Keep the circuit breaker well maintained as well as doing the earthing as per the required specification.
- Keep away from fumes, steam or vapor from harmful substances being mixed. Wear protective gear and always ensure the all the moving parts are properly guarded.
- Before doing any service or maintenance, always ensure that the power source is not connected, if it uses power. This will allow you to clean, adjust, customize or do all sorts of things with the blender or the machine.
- Keep them away from children.
Choosing the Right Manufacturer
Choosing the right manufacturer for a particular agitator goes a long way in ensuring that the product you purchase has optimal and durable functionality. It is imperative to consider one that can customize, engineer and manufacture a machine that meets all the specifications your company or the purpose demanded. A manufacturing industry with a good reputation, customer support, and channels of communication is worth a consideration.