By Christine Banaszek
Mixing, like any other unit operation, should be viewed as an evolving technology. Many mixing processes in place today were designed decades ago, a time when process efficiency was not considered as important as it is in the current competitive market. Settling on a “norm” that takes time but works can put a business at risk of losing customers to competition that follow an updated and more profitable manufacturing process. The ability or failure to mix efficiently and economically can profoundly influence the growth or decline of a product line.
The good news is that improving the mixing operation does not necessarily have to involve huge costs or a complete process overhaul. Simple upgrades and practical techniques can bring better mixing performance within reach. The following discussion explores ways to improve a number of batch mixing practices. Some of these procedures involve small changes to the mixing method or minor equipment upgrades, while others entail a shift to an altogether new mixer design.