Very often people think that mixing and blending are the same operations, but in fact these are two different processes. Different methods and equipment is used for each. Mixing is a process of effectively combining and mixing various kinds of materials for production of a homogeneous end products. The mixture which is created during the process is a composition of dissimilar substances. For example, for the production of Pozzocrete cement, coal ash and cement are being blended and mixed in a specific ratio. On the other hand, blending is also a process where different materials are being combined, but is more gentle compared to mixing.
In terms of type of materials that are being combined and mixed, blending combines and mixes solid-solid materials, while mixing is associated with liquid-liquid, liquid-gas, and other viscous materials. For both processes, appropriate machines are required like agitators and mixers, blenders, agitators mixers, heavy duty agitators and mixers and other types of mixing and blending tools and machines. Here, we’ll focus on the importance of the mixing technology and what mixing equipment is generally used.
Mixing is essential process because the quality of the product that is being created during the process depends on the quality of the mixing procedure. Low quality mixing can cause non-homogeneous final product to be created that lacks the required consistency and attributes like colour, chemical composition, texture, flavour, particle size and reactivity. The complexity of the mixing process requires careful selection of effective agitators and mixers for effective and efficient mixing results.
Effective mixing process with appropriate agitators mixers can lead to lower operational costs and shorter cycle times. The agitators and mixers are no longer considered as generic production tools, but as essential and critical business tools. This is true because companies’ profitability and the competitive advantage depend heavily on the improvements in the product quality by increased mixing efficiency and performance.
Mixing tools and equipment can be classified in three categories depending on the type of materials that are being mixed. The three main categories are: blenders, agitator mixer and heavy duty mixers. The blenders are used for mixing solid-solid materials . Depending on the working principle, the blenders are classified in three categories:
- Tumbler Blenders
- Convective Blenders
- Fluidization Blenders
The agitators mixers are the most commonly used mixing tools for mixing liquid-gas and liquid-liquid materials. Different kinds of mixing processes like blending liquids, contacting or dispersing liquid materials, transforming gas into liquid, heat transfer and etc. are carried out by various kinds of agitators mixers equipped with rotating impellers. The impellers are classified in two groups depending on the angle of the impeller blade:
- Axial Impellers
- Radial Impellers