Whether products are being manufactured for the chemical, food or nutrition sector, it’s standard to combine different powder ingredients together. Blending can be one of the most essential steps in boosting a product’s value. If you work with a diverse selection of ingredients, certain ones could be potential allergens. There are manufacturers that are willing to invest a lot of money into packing lines and install the highest speed mixers on the market, but these solutions don’t always provide a great return on investment. Furthermore, it may not be the most efficient solution when you consider full cleaning with a Flux Pump and readying the mixer for the next blend.
Do You Manufacture a Range of Products?
If you’re only using a single recipe in manufacturing, producing large quantities, and not making changes frequently, using a fixed mixer to continuously process and connecting it to up and downstream processes is best.
With that said, a growing number of consumers want to see variety in recipes. This means that it needs to be possible to make changes smoothly and swiftly. If you use a range of ingredients and change recipes regularly, it’s likely that batch processing is your best option.
How similar are the particle sizes of the free-flowing powders you are using? If the sizes are similar, and you’re using recipes that are easy to mix, it’s best to use a ribbon or tumble blender. These blenders are well-suited to gentler blending programs.
Larger blenders are capable of handling a complete order, but they can increase both load and cleaning times. When you’re looking at options, you need to think about the amount of time it will take to fill the blender and clean it afterwards. It’s important to remember that you won’t be able to use your blender during the loading, emptying and cleaning processes. In some cases, bigger blenders can actually lead to more downtime.
Make Sure You’re Familiar with the Actual Mixing Time
You might see that the suggested blend time for a recipe is four minutes, which may seem pretty fast. It’s important to think about how long the full process will actually take. Consider every stage of the process, including filling, packing and cleaning. When you consider how long it will take to load and pack your mixer so that it’s fully ready for the next batch, you could be adding another five hours onto the process.
The Cleaning Process
If a blender is fixed, and if it has several moving parts, you could wind up losing product. When you’re working with fixed mixers, it’s normal for product to stick to the bearings, paddles, sidewalls or the base of the mixer. All that waste can add up quickly, and it can also cause other batches to be contaminated.
When you increase the number of unique ingredients being used in your recipes, the allergen risk increases as well. Manufacturers often struggle to properly clean equipment while efficiently changing over from one recipe to the next. Because in-line conveyed systems and fixed mixers are coupled together, properly cleaning all parts and confirming that the production line is fully clean can take up quite a bit of time.
There are a few important things to be aware of during the blending process:
- You can make the cleaning process more efficient, leading to less time wasted.
- When you improve blending process efficiency, it can lead to a higher output, which means you’ll be able to produce more blends in a single shift.
- If you use a tumble blender, fewer operators will be needed for cleaning.
- There won’t be any product left behind if you use Matcon IBCs thanks to the integral Cone Valve tech.
This means numerous recipes and batch sizes can be produced while maintaining a high level of efficiency.