Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Emulsifiers: Mixing and Then Some

How many different types of industrial mixers can you name? Mixers are used in a variety of ways across industries to create a variation of products. Though there are many variations each has a significant use. One type of mixer that creates many items we use everyday is an emulsifier. Emulsifiers create many food items and cosmetic items, among other products. So how do emulsifier mixers work and what kinds of products do they make? In addition to the mixer, certain additives may need to be added to create the final product solidifying the emulsion.

Emulsifier mixers are motorized blades and paddles that rotate on a stationary shaft inside of a tank to thoroughly combine any solid or liquid into a final product. The specific job will depend on the sharpness or dullness of the blades, small or large paddles. These mixers are effective because of their high shear abilities. This high shear ability allows for the mixer to create emulsions. Emulsifying is usually one of the first steps in the process of creating various new products. Therefore, they need to be reliable and durable to perform their job regularly with ease.

Where many mixers do exactly that, mix. Emulsifiers bring two or more substances into an irreversible blend. When an emulsion is complete the new product cannot be reversed into the substances they once were and do not need to be shaken or remixed like many other products. For example, some beverages are a mixture of different substances and will layer if the beverage was let to settle for a period of time. However, lotion on the other hand is much more stable as one product, which was emulsified into one substance from many. Even after sitting out for the same period of time the lotion will still look, feel and function exactly the same as the day it was made into an emulsion. Besides the mixer another aspect may be needed to finish the desired product.

Depending on the materials being mixed and the sought after viscosity, different times are needed to mix thoroughly. For example, cream cheese and liquid soap will take a different amount of time to be turned into their final form. To create a final product you need more than the mixing emulsifier. Additives are placed into the mixture. The most basic emulsions are water-in-oil and oil-in water. However, there are other natural (egg, soybean oil) and synthetic (polyethylene glycol, surfactants) emulsifiers used depending on the product. When these are introduced into the mixture it adds to the stability of the final product to keep its final form consistent and not settle back into the previous substances that were used to create the new product.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Continuous vs. Batch Mixers

When it comes to industrial mixers, there are many viable options depending on application. Mixers can be classified into two categories; batch mixers and continuous mixers. Both have their advantages and can be used to mix concrete. Batch mixers are typically used to produce construction materials for interior and exterior projects whereas continuous mixers are applied in the food, chemical, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries.

Batch mixers are industrial mixers used to produce precise mixtures in single batches. These are very high capacity mixers and can mix batches up to one thousand gallons. The typical batch mixer consists of a cylindrical tank with two opens. To mix raw materials, they are inserted into one end as the tank rotates. Once the materials are thoroughly mixed the mixture leaves through the opposite end into molds or troughs. Normal batch mixers are very large but they can be mounted on a wheeled frame to be more easily moved to strategic positions.

Continuous mixers mix as their name implies; continuously. They offer less flexibility than match mixers and have a chance of producing small variations to batches. However, they do require less staff to operate and are utilized when speed and efficiency is priority. To mix materials, a continuous flow of raw ingredients is fed into the machine and a flow of finished mixtures flows out the other end. This system is usually automated so there is no need to refill the mixer. Finished products out of continuous mixers are measure in grams per hour as opposed to the grams per batch measurements batch mixers utilize. Once again, both mixers have their advantages, it depends on what you priorities to determine which mixer is best suited for a particular project.