Understanding Industrial Blenders: Features, Types, & Applications

Other than the kitchen, blenders are used in many other settings. There are blenders used in large-scale production of foods, drugs, and other substances that are known as industrial blenders. These blenders have extra features and functionalities that separate them from the common blenders most people know. Learn more about these blenders in this article.

What is an Industrial Blender?

The basic working principle of an industrial blender and the blender you have in your kitchen is the same. In other words, they all share a similar objective — to break down large items into fine powder or liquid.

Industrial blenders are used to grind and mix substances during the processing phase in a production line. They use large propellers and mixing blades to cut and mix substances. Hummus is one of the common products made using an industrial blender.

The terms mixing and blending are used interchangeably in the context of industrial blending. This implies that the two terms can mean the same thing in this context. However, in some cases, there are mixers and blenders as separate types of equipment.

You will find industrial blenders in food processing, pharmaceuticals, and many other diverse industries. Therefore, this means that there are different types of industrial blenders, each with specific features for the intended use cases. We will explore all these in this article.

Components of an Industrial Blender

You might be curious to know what an industrial blender looks like. Since they are the “gigantic” versions of blenders we have at home, their structure is not that different. Still, industrial blenders have special features that are not present in kitchen blenders and food processors. Let us explore the components of industrial blenders.

Propellers

This is a common component in all blenders, industrial or otherwise. It is a stirring equipment that is mounted on a rotating base that is used for mixing ingredients during the blending process. The propeller can be blunt or sharp depending on the type of industrial blender and its uses.

Propellers facilitate an axial flow movement of less viscous substances by agitating them. This movement facilitates the circulation of the various ingredients in the concoction, which achieves a homogeneous mix.

Mixing blades

While propellers are specifically known to facilitate an axial flow of substances inside an industrial blender, mixing blades can achieve more than this. Mixing blades represent a broad class of agitating components of industrial blenders. In this context, agitating means stirring continuously and using lots of power.

The common types of mixing blades found in industrial blenders include;

  • Impellers
  • Ribbons
  • Paddles 

Each type of mixing blade has a specific function that it achieves in industrial blending and it is based on viscosity and type of material being mixed.

Noise-reduction systems

Imagine for a moment if industrial blenders were left to produce the noise that kitchen blenders did. Based on the intensity and size of these blenders, the noise produced would be unbearable, even in a manufacturing plant. This is why they are fitted with noise reduction systems to suppress this noise.

Numerous noise-reduction systems can be used in industrial blenders. It all depends on the amount of noise that needs to be suppressed. For total noise cancellation, special noise dampeners are required. On the other hand, foam and other barriers can be fitted on the blender to cancel out the noise.

Housing and container

The delicate components of an industrial blender, for instance, the electrical components, have to be housed to prevent damage. Similarly, these blenders need a sterile container that will hold the substance being blended. This container needs to be detachable to facilitate its cleaning or replacement.

Classification of Industrial Blenders  

Primarily, industrial blenders are classified according to the type of substances that are being blended. In this regard, there are three common variations of substances that can be blended. Let us learn more about them.

Solid-solid blending 

This is the process where solids are mixed with other solids. It is also known as dry blending since there are no liquids or gases involved. Dry granulation is an example of a process that uses solid-solid blending equipment.

Liquid-liquid & liquid-gas blenders

This class of industrial blenders is used to amalgamate miscible liquids to form homogeneous solutions or mix fluids with gasses. This process is common in many applications in industries such as pharma.

Liquid-liquid and liquid-gas blenders use impellers as the mixing blades. Impellers work by changing the pressure and flow of fluids. The shape of the impeller is what determines these movements and pressure changes in the blender. Ultimately, they achieve the desired objective of the blending process. 

Viscous and pasty substances

Different substances have different flow characteristics. Particularly, some substances do not follow Newton’s law of viscosity. In other words, they do not flow like regular fluids. These fluids, otherwise known as non-Newtonian fluids, require special types of blenders.

Due to the resistance in flow, pasty and viscous substances require heavy-duty blenders to achieve the desired mixing and blending.

Types of Industrial Blenders 

The three classes of industrial blenders we discussed above give rise to many types of blenders. For every class, there are multiple blenders that can be used to achieve the given function. Let us explore some of these blenders in detail.

IBC Bin Blender

IBC is an acronym that spells out Intermediate Bulk Container. This type of blender falls in the class of solid-solid blenders. It is an industrial blender used in the pharmaceutical industry for mixing dry powder particles. This industrial blender has a mechanism that results in a dust-free blending operation. Such systems are quite reliable in industries that deal with dusty solids.

Double Cone Blender 

The double-cone blender is another industrial blending machine that can be classified under solid-solid blenders. Its structure consists of one large container with two inverted cone-shaped blending containers.

This blender is used to mix powders, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. It has a design that supports dust-free mixing, a feature that is highly required in this industry. It has features such as variable spin that ranges between 5 and 30 RPMs and a spin time of about the same figures.

Ribbon Blender  

This type of industrial blender gets its name from the fact that its mixing blades are shaped like ribbons. It can blend and mix solids and pasty substances of different formulations.

The ribbon-shaped blade is suited for handling different types of substances. This is because as the propeller turns, these oddly shaped blades tumble the substance and agitate it frequently, leading to blending and mixing. As a result, the ribbon blender has a fast lead time, which translates to high-performance efficiency.

V-cone Blender

Both the IBC bin blender and the double cone blender can also be categorized as tumble blenders. These types of blenders apply a mechanism of letting the substance “fall down” inside the container, thereby leading to mixing. 

The V-cone blender is another type of tumble blender. It has a container that has a geometry of the letter V. It is also known as the twin shell blender.

Unlike other industrial blenders, the V-shaped blender splits the substance being mixed into two first, then later recombines them to facilitate mixing. This odd mechanism of action is just as effective at achieving the perfect blend of solid particles.

Drum Blender

This type of blender is used in industries like pharmaceutical and chemical industries for mixing powders during various manufacturing processes. It has a large barrel where the substance to be mixed is loaded.

Drum blenders are unique in that they do not have any mixing blades or impellers inside the mixing barrel. However, this mixing equipment can achieve perfect mixing using other techniques such as rotational movements.

Vertical Blender

The vertical blender is among the most versatile industrial blenders in the market. Its versatility comes from the fact that it can be used to blend multiple kinds of substances; including solids, pastes, and dry granules. It applies a gentle agitation technique to blend heat-sensitive substances in various manufacturing systems.

Features of Industrial Blenders

Industrial blenders have several features that define their structure, mode of function, and other aspects. Some of these features include the following. 

Variable Speed Control

The speed of an industrial blender is typically measured in RPM, which stands for rotations per minute. Therefore, for every minute, there are several rotations that the propeller, barrel, or mixing blade can make. Variable speed control is a feature that allows you to set the required RPMs based on the material being mixed.

Temperature control

Provided that changes in temperature can affect the quality of the blend, it is only logical to have a feature where you can control this variable. You can set it to high or low depending on the requirements of the substance being mixed. Temperature control can be performed manually or automatically depending on the type of industrial blender.

Built-in timer

Additionally, timing is as important as controlling the temperature and speed of the blender. This is why many industrial blenders have built-timers. The main advantage of this feature is to monitor blend yield and make sure the desired homogeneity is achieved. Failing to time the blending duration can result in poor results.

Several safety features 

Safety is a major concern in several industries. The word safety covers everything between safety for the personnel handling the machines and the end consumer of the product. For the personnel, their safety is guaranteed by safety features such as automatic lock while for the end consumer, they are assured of safe products with anti-contamination features. 

High-load capacity 

Industrial blenders can be custom-built into any dimension depending on the production capacity of the manufacturer. This allows for large volumes of load at a given period. Besides, the stock options also have large enough containers to handle high loads. This feature supports high-quantity throughput.

Long lifespan

Industrial blenders can offer a service period of up to 20 years if they are properly maintained. Such a long period is enough to have you recoup your investment and make tons of profit from the machine. 

Applications of Industrial Blenders

The chances are that there is an industrial blender, mixer, or agitator in most of the production lines you can think of. This is because most products we consume are made of several ingredients mixed to form one thing. This mixing part is where the industrial blender comes in. As such, this type of equipment is quite useful. Some of the common use cases include;

Pharmaceutical industry

In pharma, industrial blenders are used to;

  • To reduce particle size
  • To complete various chemical processes
  • Modify the flow of materials

All these applications are quite common in the production of drugs, particularly tablets, and capsules.

Food processing industries

In the processing of food for packaging, mixing is inevitable. Food is processed in various steps and each step, there is a particular operation that needs to be carried out.

Some of the common techniques in food production that can be carried out using an industrial blender include emulsification, dry belding, and dissolution and dispersion. In all these processes, there is blending or mixing required to achieve some form of uniformity.

Cosmetics industry

This is another industry where the blending and mixing of substances takes place frequently. Liquid cosmetic products are usually emulsified using industrial blenders. This is done in preliminary production processes to extract components in suspension. 

Chemical processing

In this industry, both the extraction and mixing of raw materials can be done using industrial blenders. It is an industry where production processes are demanding in terms of equipment and techniques. Industrial blenders can achieve this due to their advanced features.

Conclusion

Industrial blenders are a must-have equipment in major production lines. They have the features, functionalities, and efficiency that are needed to achieve high production capacities. One more thing, the best approach to select the appropriate blender is to assess your production needs and compare that to the features and classification we outlined in this article.

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