Mixing is at the heart of most production systems in the chemical process industry, pharmaceutical industry, food industry, and allied industries. It is of vital importance in processing solids, liquids, and gases in the polymer, glass, ceramics, building materials, pulp and paper, petroleum, and power industries and in industrial waste treatment systems.
By definition, mixing is the process of thoroughly combining different materials to produce a homogeneous product. The resulting mixture in most cases is a combination of dissimilar materials. In some cases, a chemically homogeneous material may be mixed to produce a uniform blend of a desired weight or volume with consistent particle-size distribution, colour, texture, or other required attributes. Mixing is a critical process because the quality of the final product and its attributes are derived from the quality of the mix. Improper mixing results in a non-homogeneous product that lacks consistency with respect to desired attributes such as chemical composition, colour, texture, flavor, reactivity, and particle size.
The wide variety and ever-increasing complexity of mixing processes encountered in industrial applications requires careful selection, design, and scale-up to ensure effective and efficient mixing. Improved mixing efficiency leads to shorter batch cycle times and operational costs. Today’s competitive production systems necessitate robust equipment that are capable of faster blend times, lower power consumption, and adaptability of equipment for use with multiple products. Moreover, in addition to carrying out mixing operations, many modern mixers are designed to combine different processing steps in a single piece of equipment: for example, coating, granulation, heat transfer, and drying. A mixer is no longer a generic production tool, but a critical and decisive business tool. This is because profitability and competitive advantage are dependent on subtle improvements in product quality through gains in mixing performance and efficiency. Good mixing is imperative for minimizing investment and operating costs providing high yields, and thereby enhancing profitability.