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Learn more about Industrial Mixers
Industrial Mixers blend or dissolves one or more products into another. Mixing can be of multiple dry products, multiple liquids or liquids and solids. Some mixing will be very aggressive, such as oil and water. Other industrial mixers will mix extremely gently, such as whole cherries into a heavy pie filling syrup.
It is often necessary to heat or cool a product during mixing. Heating to cook a product, cooling to prevent heating of the product from the mixing action or as part of the processing. Mixing vessels can be jacketed to allow heating or cooling fluids. Some industrial mixers may have electric heating elements or refrigeration built in.
Viscous products may have a tendency to stick to the sides of the mixing vessel. Scrapers can be added to the mixing element or powered separately to prevent this.
Proper mixing is more than just combining multiple products. They must be combined uniformly throughout. Proper industrial mixers selection will help. Improper selection may aggravate product segregation.
Single arm paste mixers are ideal for blending semi-solid liquids like peanut butter as well as most types of powders.
The mixer consists of a horizontal tank, half-round on the bottom with straight sides extending up. The mixing shaft and paddle extend horizontally through the mixer body, closely matching the bottom half-round section.
The mixer is usually mounted on trunnions so that it may be rotated 90 degrees forward for unloading.
A pair of angled blades and/or paddles are mounted to the shaft for mixing.. As the paddles rotate, one paddle will lift and push the product to the left. The other paddle, as it rotates through lifts and pushes the product to the right. This assures good intermixing. Speed is variable to control how vigorous the mixing is.
The mixer tank and blade is typically constructed of stainless steel, particularly the product contact surfaces to minimize contamination and to assure compatibility with most materials.
In any mixing process, some portion of the energy supplied to the motor ends up in the product as frictional heat from mixing. This can cause a problem with overheating during a long mixing cycle. Mixers may be jacketed to allow circulation of chilled water to keep the product temperature stable. In other cases, it may be desirable to keep the product hot. In some cases the product may even be cooked while mixing. Steam or hot water may be circulated in the jacket in that case. NOTE: Circulating steam in any jacket requires that the jacket be properly designed for steam and have appropriate relief valves and other safety devices.
The top of the mixing tank should have a cover to prevent contamination and as a safety measure to prevent operator injury through contact with the moving mixing paddle. The top must include safety interlocks to stop the mixer if opened. If the process requires the addition of ingredients during mixing, a small port may be added in the lid. Some mixers are designed to operate under pressure and will have a heavy lid with appropriate seals and latches to permit this.
Double arm paste mixers are used for mixing heavy, viscous, products. These products can be dry or liquid or combining dry product with liquid. Some common products run in double arm mixers include: adhesives, bread and pastry dough, ceramics, Food and confectionery products, pharmaceutical preparations and more.
These mixers are sometimes generically called sigma mixers but “sigma” refers to one particular style of mixing blade out of several common styles.
The mixing vessel, seen from above, is rectangular with a double troughed bottom. Seen from the end, a “W” shape is formed by 2 half-round bottom sections. Sides and ends extend up vertically to enclose the desired mixing volume. Construction may be of carbon steel, coated steel or stainless steel. Size can range from less than a gallon in a benchtop model to hundreds of gallons for large scale production.
The mixer will usually have a lid and it is critical that this lid be interlocked for safety to prevent the mixer from running while open. If it is necessary to add materials during mixing operations, a small port may be provided. Some mixers are pressure rated and the lid seals to allow steam or other gases to be introduced. The friction between blades and product can cause significant heating in long blending cycles. The mixer may be jacketed to allow heating or cooling during mixing.
The mixing vessel is often mounted on trunnions allowing it to be tilted forward for ease of unloading. For lower viscosity products, a discharge valve may be provided for draining product. This valve should be designed flush with the mixer to avoid dead spots during mixing. Still another unloading option is an extruder screw in the bottom of the mixer.
Two shafts, each with one or two blades, run the length of the mixer. These shafts are motor driven through a gearbox for synchronization. Shafts may rotate at the same speed or differential speeds. Tolerances between blades and vessel are generally small. This gives this mixer a high shear, speeding combination of materials that might be difficult to combine in other style mixers.
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