If you’re looking for a blender that can mix ingredients without breaking them, look no further than a ribbon mixer. This industrial agitator uses double helical ribbons to move inward and outward, giving it a more radial mixing motion than paddle agitators.
Direct-drive ribbon blenders also eliminate issues like belt slippage, stretching, and excessive overload load.
Ribbon Blenders are multi-functional mixers capable of a wide variety of applications. These machines utilize a horizontal trough with double ribbon agitators that rotate on a shaft, continuously churning and mixing to ensure a homogenous product. Depending on your production requirements, they can be fitted with various powder valves. Liquids are typically added through atomizing nozzles on a spray bar connected to either a metering pump or a pressure vessel.
The pharmaceutical industry swears by the prowess of this type of mixer in mixing dry granules, powders, and pellets to produce tablets and other life-saving drug products. It can also be a polymer blend mixer, composite filler, and granulator. It can also be used for general-purpose slurry mixing, preparing solid-liquid suspensions, or vacuum drying.
When choosing a ribbon blender, consider your product’s bulk density. Batch sizes are usually spelled out in weight, but the bulk density determines whether a mixer’s working volume capacity needs to be heavy-duty or standard-duty.
Ribbon Blenders operate at lower than conventional mixer agitator speeds allowing the mixing ribbons to gently fold materials together rather than smash them against one another. This allows delicate, heat-sensitive ingredients to be mixed without degradation.
Unlike traditional belt-driven blenders, today’s direct-drive ribbon mixers utilize gear motors that are precisely matched to the low inertia rotor. This eliminates problems like overhang load on the gear reducer and shaft, which can occur with chain drives. Additionally, modern gear motors are compatible with VFDs for electronic speed control and soft start capabilities.
Liquids usually are added while the Ribbon Blender runs using atomizing nozzles mounted on a spray bar. Care must determine the liquid addition rate and agitator speed to avoid flooding the batch or wetting the material. This is best achieved through testing to ensure a uniform mixture with superior quality.
Ease of Maintenance
Ribbon Blenders are highly hygienic and easy to clean. They are also built with a cover that allows workers to access the machine from the top, making cleaning much quicker and safer.
Ribbon agitators are positioned to create both radial and lateral movement that ensures thorough mixing in a short amount of time. This dual action helps eliminate lumps and provides smooth, consistent results.
Moreover, ribbon blenders traditionally use a belt drive system for power transmission between the motor and gear reducer. However, many manufacturers now use direct drives to eliminate the need for belts and pulleys. These new systems match the motor’s low inertia rotor, which can accommodate high start/stop cycles necessary for ribbon blending applications. This combination is much more efficient than traditional belt-driven systems and allows easier speed control. In addition, VFDs can provide a soft start that protects the gear system from excessive wear and tear when starting under full load.
Ribbon blenders have various features to customize their operations for specific batch sizes. For example, some models include pre-installed control panels to minimize installation time and allow for a quick tie-in point (main power). Others offer match marks on the shaft flanges to ensure easy alignment of the agitator each time it is replaced.
Depending on the product, manufacturers can add a paddle agitator for sensitive materials or high-speed chopping blades that quickly break apart large lumps. Liquids can be added while the ribbon agitator runs using either a metering pump or a spray bar fitted with multiple nozzles.
The trough and cover of most models are made from sanitary stainless steel, while the agitator is typically manufactured from food-grade plastic or cast iron. Stainless steel is preferable because it offers superior corrosion resistance for wetted parts that may come into contact with corrosive materials. For more protection, the wetted parts of most models can be sealed against contamination by a plastic liner.