Get the max out of mixers with Hosokawa Micron

Although most powder mixing operations can be performed with relatively simple equipment, there is today a definite trend towards more complex mixing processes. In addition to blending components, modern mixers also have to coat and granulate and more stringent standards are demanded by the market with regard to mixing quality. Products are frequently heat sensitive, high value and often not free-flowing.

With complex requirements come more complex buying decisions and when this is set against a drive for rapid results in increased throughput, or NPD and a desire for the fastest route into a competitive market the selection of the right equipment is even more crucial. Hosokawa Micron have a long heritage in applied mixing technology and are able to work with customers to advise on the most appropriate equipment and system integration.

Hosokawa Micron batch & continuous mixing technologies

Batch or Continuous Operation

Mixing can be carried out in single batches or continuously and this is one of the first decisions to be made prior to specifying equipment. Historically the batch route is the more frequently used and for product control, identification and traceability it has many advantages, in the pharmaceutical industry for example. However where large volumes are involved in the mineral, chemical and food industries then a continuous mixing system has advantages.

Working with a supplier who offers a full range of both batch and continuous mixing equipment for different applications and with the capability of more than single mixing processes has definite advantages for the customer. Demonstrated here is how you can 'max your mixer' by selecting the right option; saving you time, cost of additional equipment and leaving less risk potential in product transfer between process stages.

Batch mixing systems

Mixing, Coating, Drying – Conical Mixer

The concept of a conical shaped vessel fitted with an orbital rotating screw was developed by the Dutch engineer J.E. Nauta, many years ago and now these elegant conical blenders are often just called Nauta as a generic term. They are able to carry out complex processing tasks in addition to a blending operation, which uses mainly convective mixing to quickly achieve an homogeneous product.

For example the addition of a small high speed rotating paddle (intensifier) in the vessel means that small quantities of liquids, waxes or chemicals can be efficiently blended into the main powder bulk; coated products can also be produced.

Other additions include jacketed vessel walls for heating or cooling operations and designs where there is no bottom bearing for the orbital screw, which makes for easy cleaning and minimises cross contamination. Many design variations and sizes are available. Application of vacuum to the vessel and slight changes to the design enables the conical mixer to become a vacuum dryer hence mixing and drying can be carried out in one processing vessel.

Nauta conical screw mixer

High Shear Mixers

The mixing and agglomeration of cohesive or heat sensitive products can be achieved quickly using a variation of the conical blender using a smaller, highly efficient conical mixer. With a fast rotating set of paddles fitted to a central shaft an intensive high shear mixing action is generated in the small space between the paddle tip and vessel wall. Tip speeds up to 30 m/s are typical. The intensive, yet gentle, mixing action ensures homogeneous blending in short mixing times. These mixers are easy to clean and when fitted with a cooling jacket are highly suited to mixing heat sensitive products. Agglomeration of products can also be carried out within units such as the Cyclomix.

Cyclomix high shear impact mixer

Continuous mixing systems

Engineers designing continuous mixing systems which ensure mixing homogeneity need to pay close attention to the accuracy and control of the feed system for the powders, solids and liquids. This is particularly so where the residence time in the blender unit is very small. Time and money spent on an accurate and reliable feed system is well spent.

A Unique Solution to Mixing Pastes and Slurries

A unique solution to mixing pastes and slurries is found in the unique Flexomix mixer/agglomerator. Currently used in the production of instant products such as soups, beverages and sauces as well as chemical and pharmaceutical products the mixer achieves excellent product uniformity and avoids demixing due to the almost instantaneous blending of all ingredients.

With a flexible and continuously flexing mixer wall product build up is avoided and small amounts of liquids or solids are efficiently dispersed to a bulk carrier. Capable of handling from 250 kgs/hr to over 40 tonnes/hr the Flexomix is compact in size enabling it to be installed in small spaces. This is a typical example of the need for accurate feeding equipment as the material hold up in the machine at any one time is of the order of grams not tonnes.

Flexomix continuous mixer/agglomerator

Homogenous Mixing and Extrusion – Extruders

Low to medium pressure extruders, which can be used to generate very homogeneous pellets up to 5-6 mm for example in the plastics industry can be used as mixer/extruders. The final product can be a paste, plastic mass or extrudate. These units can be supplied with a jacket for heating or cooling and the central shaft can also be made hollow to allow for additional heating/cooling.

Process Expertise

Finding the right mixer for different applications can make the difference between achieving on-spec end product in the most cost effective way or off-spec product and the need to introduce additional processing stages and more equipment.

Hosokawa Micron is one of the world’s leading companies specialising in powder and solids processing having many industry standard brand names within its portfolio. The company specialises in being a single source for all powder processing needs and can offer advise on mixing options and complete system design and supply backed by substantial test facilities throughout the world.

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