Industrial Mixers and Industrial Dryers

The terms ‘mixing’ and ‘blending’ are often used interchangeably, but technically they are slightly different. Blending is the homogenous distribution of differing materials and is usually a relatively gentle process. It is the process of solid-solid mixing or the mixing of bulk solids with small quantities of liquid. Mixing is usually a more aggressive process involving the combining of material through the beating or stirring of the contents within a static vessel. Agglomeration is the creation of granules from powders through the addition of liquids. Drying is the removal of moisture from wet materials through evaporation by heat. Some mixers can operate as agglomerators or dryers too.




Industrial blenders



Industrial dryers

Industrial mixers

Blending, mostly, takes place in Double Cone and Vee blenders that gently tumble their contents over and over. Rotating Drum blenders, fountain blenders and low speed ribbon and paddle mixers are used for blending too.

Mixing is achieved by way of high speed rotating ribbon blades, ploughshare blades or orbiting vertical screws. ‘No-dead pocket’ valves with contoured outlets are essential when the entire contents within a static mixing must be fully mixed. Otherwise, some unmixed material will discharge from the mixer each time it is unloaded. Blenders that tumble do not suffer this characteristic as the mixture is all funnelled to the outlet. Ribbon mixers, paddle mixers and blenders can be made to mix gently so that they do not damage delicate products. Ploughshare mixers, on the other hand, are ideal for mixtures that need to be beaten together or where colourings or other coating need to be smeared over the entire surface of other materials. Both mixers and blenders can accommodate the addition of liquids to form pastes or slurries and both can be jacketed for heating or cooling their contents.

Mixing in static vessels can either be batch or continuous, whereas tumbling blenders are purely batch machines. Mixers and blenders can have heated jackets or have warmed, dried air passing through them so that they become dryers or reactor vessels. Additionally, the drying of moist filter cake and other materials can also take place in specialist dryers that do not resemble mixers or blenders at all.

It is the aim of all mixer manufacturers to achieve a homogenous mix in the shortest possible time and then to discharge it without any segregation during the process. Such aims have resulted in a multiplicity of variations on traditional mixer and blender types plus a host of inventive, proprietary mixer and blender designs.

Besides machines that are dedicated to mixing, there are storage silos that mix materials: these are called Live Bins or Fountain Blenders. They use screws, spirals and air to continuously recirculate material during storage.

 Agglomerators are devices that fluidise powders so that they can be wetted and combined to form larger particles or granules. The controls associated with the powder flow, fluidisation and liquid injection offer the options of varying particle size, shape and density according to requirements

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