Whether it’s plastics, chemicals, food, medicines or minerals, nearly every process industry has to mix things at some point in the production process. And because of the diverse range of industries and ingredients, industrial mixers come in an amazing range of shapes, types, sizes and functions.
Pastes and Potions
Common to most industrial mixers is some kind of blade moving around to blend the ingredients. For example, cosmetics in their final form on the beauty counter have high viscosity to make them easier to apply. These potions require special paste mixing machines which will blend the ingredients perfectly and get them to exactly the right viscosity level. Other machines are designed to blend dry ingredients together until they thicken up.
Meanwhile, some mixers work on a fluid until it attains the correct properties. These high-shear mixers have a fast rotor, or a set of them, and they can, for example, reduce the size of the particles in a substance or thicken it. You’ll find small-scale examples on lab benches and in university faculties and gigantic versions in some large industrial processing plants.
Sometimes it’s necessary to make sure that the mixer can start or stop smoothly, and at other times there’s a need to supply heat during the mixing process. Some mixers can have wet or dry ingredients added to the mix while they work and can then discharge a mixture with the perfect consistency while continuing to blend continuously. This type of machine uses less energy and can be used in a very versatile way for many different mixing tasks. The mixer isn’t defeated by the challenge of ultra-thick (very high viscosity) materials and can be easier to clean.
Mixers Will Continue to Be Important
The American Institute of Chemical Engineers emphasises the continuing importance of fluid mixing using static mixers, such as those from https://www.statiflo.com/, despite the emergence of new biological and other process technologies.
In many industrial plants, there are a number of different mixers. Take pharmaceuticals. There may be an octagonal blender with the job of gently mixing powders and granules without allowing dust to escape. Then there may be a “V type” blender with a different dry powder in each arm of the V, mixing them together. And many more, each with its own mixing job to do.