In the food, chemical, or pharmaceutical industries, the ribbon blender has been a standard for decades. This type of blender utilizes a fabricated set of ribbon agitators placed inside a horizontal, U-shaped trough. While the outer ribbon moves materials in one direction, the inner ribbon moves them another way.
However, over the last quarter century, another type of blending process has started to make its incursion into the industries of the United States. And, while it costs a bit more than a ribbon blender, it outperforms the paddle-blade mixing process in many areas. This is known as a fluidizer blender.
Despite its slow growth in the U.S., a number of manufacturers produce these type of blenders. For example, AIM Blending Technologies. And, for those not familiar with this new model, it may seem like they’re looking at a ribbon blender. That’s because the horizontal trough seems the same from the outside. It’s what inside that may make manufacturers take another look.
Instead of two paddle blades, this new style of blender has a number of blades which move which go in all directions. While the materials to be mixed remain low in the chamber, the shorter blades produce a counterflow that generates a faster blend. And, while it may seem this can cause overmixing, this type of blender handles creations just as gently as a ribbon blender.
Manufacturers may frown at using this new blender because of the added cost needed due to the extra steel used and blades manufactured. However, the Return on Investment (ROI) will most likely be greater as your products can be blended quicker. Thus, it can be used more times per day than a ribbon blender. And, because there’s less shear than other agitator blenders and a shorter mixing time, the blender has a longer life.
Whether you need to replace your current ribbon blenders with this new version depends on your current situation. If your equipment is showing signs of wear or replacement, it may be time to move to the next generation blender. In addition, if you are looking to minimize your manufacturing costs, the new blender may be an option. Make sure you speak to representatives of your blending vendors to find out their advantages and costs before you make a decision to move your company into a new blending generation.