Mixers are used in industry to mix, blend, homogenise, emulsify or achieve reactions with one or more components such as liquid, solid, viscous products, creams, powders or oils.
A mixer generally consists of a motor, a closed and sealed stainless steel tank into which substances to mix are injected and possibly a hopper or feeding system. Depending on the product, there are different types of mixing.
A mixer is composed of a motor that drives a rotor with one or more mixing modules (blades, ploughshares, propellers, scrapers, etc.). Generally, a mechanical seal ensures the dynamic sealing of the rotary shaft with the enclosure of the equipment that it crosses.
It is widely used in the food sector for the manufacture of food products (for human or animal consumption), in the pharmaceutical sector for the manufacture of mixtures and medicinal preparations, in the cosmetics sector for the creation of creams, lotions, shampoos, etc., in the chemical industry for the safe preparation of delicate mixtures, in the paper industry to create mixtures adapted to each type of paper, etc.
Particularly used in the pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic industries, vacuum mixers allow a product to be mixed in a tank without air. The vacuum container provides a working environment where no oxidation occurs, which guarantees the quality of the mixed product and the emulsifying effect. The vacuum also allows the extraction of bubbles generated in the mixing, dispersion and homogenisation process. It also allows the ingredients to be transferred from the oil and water phase to the main working chamber / vessel.
For the processing of viscous products such as cream, these mixers are equipped with anchor paddles, reverse stirring, emulsifiers (rotor/stator), tank bottom, scrapers, etc.
When it comes to mixing powders, ploughshares, ribbon mixers or rotary mixers are generally used, depending on the process required.
The ploughshare mixer is designed for heavy mixing of dry and wet materials. It creates a mechanical mixing action in a fluidised bed. This mixer has a very good mixing effect for materials with a wide range of sizes and densities.
It consists of a cylindrical drum containing ploughshare-shaped mixing elements that are mounted on a horizontal shaft. The mixing ploughshares throw the material away from the wall into the free space in a cross direction, and vice versa.
The ploughshares separate and move the material in a three-dimensional movement, while the number and arrangement of the ploughshares ensures a back and forth agitation along the length of the tank.
If necessary, the mixing action is assisted by high-speed cutters called Lump breakers / rotary knives. These are independent high speed motors with specific blades to add shear to the product mix.
Ribbon mixers operate on two mixing principles: convection and diffusion. Convective mixing consists of macro-movement of large parts of the solids. Convective mixing occurs when the solids are turned over along the horizontal axis of the agitator.
The other type of ribbon mixing is diffusion mixing, which is the micro-mixing that occurs when individual particles are moved relative to the surrounding particles. In the ribbon mixer, diffusion occurs when the particles at the front of the ribbon are moved in one direction while the surrounding particles are not moved or lag behind. Together, these two types of action result in the mixing and homogenisation of solids.
The ribbon mixer consists of a horizontal U-shaped vessel and a ribbon stirrer made as a double helix specially designed to rotate inside. The ribbon mixer is based on a proven agitator construction which provides a triple mixing action ensuring fast and efficient mixing. Ribbon dimensions and configuration are carefully balanced to ensure material movement in the container avoids dead spots and allows rapid product discharge.
The ribbon mixer is a lightweight mixer, typically used for easy to mix powder components that are pre-processed, such as dry granules, pre-dried powders, etc. It is a low cost mixer, and can be used for a wide range of applications. It is a low shear mixer and is mainly used for SOLID / SOLID mixing.
The V-blender allows gentle mixing of solids/solids in any proportion and solids/liquids in powder or granular form and with different specific weights.
The V-shaped solids mixer with rotating drum is used for mixing fragile products or for applications with high cleaning requirements between cycles.
It is equipped with a low-speed rotating drum that rotates at low speed, gently sliding the product along its smooth inner walls, thus mixing without forcing the product.
Thanks to the characteristic V-shape, axial flows are created inside the tank that separate and unite the product to be mixed. The result is a fast and uniform process without the use of deflecting blades or other mechanical devices.
Rotary mixers can also have a cylindrical shape like a blender or a cubic shape like a container.
For mixing liquid and solid products, there are a number of stirrers (click on the link to find out more). The process can also take place with some continuous mixers. Equipped with a loading hopper, the continuous mixer releases the solid product into the liquid in order to homogenise it. The solution is then discharged into a tank.