Technically, mixing various components to achieve suitable foods, cosmetics, topical creams or lotions, etc., can be achieved using technology as primitive as a mortar and pestle. In reality, today’s highly homogenized, often emulsified products require the type of mixing that can only be achieved using a modern high-shear mixer.
What is a High-Shear Mixer?
High-shear mixers are sophisticated machines capable of dispersing powdered solids into high viscosity liquids — emulsifying otherwise immiscible liquids, mixing disparate substances (e.g., powders into liquids; liquids into other liquids), significantly and evenly size-reducing particles, achieving uniform blending and breaking down solids and agglomerates (deagglomeration). The best high shear mixers offer distinct advantages over certain competing mixing technologies.
Numerous modern products, across a wide range of industries, can benefit from high shear mixer technology. Examples of products that depend on these machines include salad dressings, mayonnaise, fabric coatings, oil field drilling fluids, paints, cosmetics, detergents, shampoos, ointments, sunscreens and toothpaste — among countless other diverse products. The manufacture of many of these products would be difficult, if not impossible, without high shear mixer technology to facilitate key tasks such as efficient powder dispersion, submicron homogenization, emulsification, deagglomeration, wet milling, etc.
The Benefits of a High Shear Rotor Stator Mixer
Among these advantages are enhanced operator safety; shorter, more efficient run times; and the flexibility to clean components quickly and effectively. This facilitates swift retooling, if needed, allowing you to switch to an all new process, with new operational parameters without extended downtimes.
A high shear/high-speed rotor-stator mixer is more advanced, and significantly more capable, than a traditional rotor-stator mixer. These are the machines that provide more bang for the buck when a traditional rotor stator is not quite up to the task, but a high-pressure homogenizer is not necessarily required.
For instance, an inline high shear mixer allows for the continuous input of raw materials, with a steady output of finished product. Perfect homogenization, emulsification or deagglomeration can typically be achieved with a single, time-saving, highly efficient pass.
In contrast, less-powerful rotor-stator batch mixers usually take longer to process ingredients. Similar results may eventually be achieved, but at a greater cost, due to additional processing times and energy expenditures. These machines may also suffer from persistent problems such as forming “fish eyes” or failing to achieve true homogenization of all ingredients.
Inline Saves Time and Money
Of course, batch mixers are still adequate for some tasks in some situations. In many instances, though, your processes are likely to benefit significantly from continuous inline mixing. An inline mixer offers several potential advantages. For starters, you’ll realize a higher return on investment by slashing production time while improving yields and boosting capacities. You’ll also benefit from using less energy and cutting manufacturing and maintenance expenditures.
When choosing a high-shear mixer, keep its intended uses in mind. Stainless steel construction ensures that sanitary, nonreactive conditions will be encountered by raw ingredients. Design features that allow for quick cleaning and rapid retooling are also advantageous. Depending on the challenges associated with blending your specific ingredients, you may wish to consider what speeds the rotor is capable of achieving. Faster rotor blade speeds typically yield better results more rapidly.
Homogenization is a key industrial process that yields many important consumer products across various industries. The right high shear mixer can improve efficiency, slash downtime and help boost profits. Depending on the raw materials involved, homogenization, emulsification and other crucial industrial processes might not be feasible without the use of appropriate high shear mixer technology.
Interested in learning more about the advantages of high shear mixers? Contact the expert at Quadro Liquids!