Manufacturers need to blend a variety of powdered ingredients when they are mixing products for the nutrition, food, bakery and chemical sector. There is no denying that blending is the most important part of this product creation process when it comes to value addition. If a particular product requires use of a number of ingredients, you also need to consider the risk of allergens being present in one of those ingredients. Many manufacturers install the fastest packing lines and mixers they could find and that requires significant investments, but those investments are not necessarily going to deliver a highly efficient solution or a solid ROI in the long term.
Type of Products Being Manufactured
A fixed mixer that is connected to the upstream and downstream processes is the right choice for continuous processing in case you only need to make one recipe in huge volumes and that recipe does not require regular changes.
However, consumer taste has shifted in the recent times and manufacturers have to frequently change recipes and those changes need to be efficient and quick. If you are facing a situation where the recipes need to be changed often and many different ingredients are required for those recipes, you should use batch processing as it is the most efficient way of manufacturing different recipes.
The choice of blender will also depend on the powders you are using in the recipe. In case you are dealing with free-flowing powders that have similarly sized particles, you could use a gentle blending program as similarly sized particles will mix easily. It could be done with the help of a ribbon blender or a tumble blender.
Size of The Batch
Big blenders have the advantage of processing huge volumes in a single batch but it comes with the limitation of a huge increase in loading and cleaning times. When you’re calculating processing time, you also need to think of the time it takes to fill the blender as so many sacks need to be opened to completely fill the blender and there is also the time taken for discharging the mixed product onto the packing line.
After all this, you have to clean the blender and all these processes take time. Use of a large blender also leads to a huge amount of downtime as it’s not in use when it’s being cleaned, emptied or loaded.
The Time Taken for Mixing
If the blender has a labelled mixing time of 4 minutes, it does not mean that you will be able to start the next batch for processing after 4 minutes as this number is misleading. You need to consider the time taken for the whole process for all the stages including filling, blending, packing and cleaning. It will take longer to bring the blender back into operation when you consider the time taken for packing and loading which could add anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to the whole process, considering a liquid filling machine may cut this time in half.
Preventing Cross Contamination
Most recipes require using a wide range of ingredients and there is always the possibility of having an allergen in that mix. It’s not easy for manufacturers to clean the production line in an effective manner. A set up where a fixed mixer is using along with an in-line conveyance system, is going to take a really long time to ensure everything is clean before the next batch can be started. After all, you will also need to validate the cleaning aspect before starting the next batch.
Tips for Blending Powders
Don’t waste your time on cleaning everything and it should save you a lot of time.
It’s better to process all the batches in one shift in order to enhance your efficiency and to increase your overall output.
Use a tumble blender for reducing the manpower required for cleaning.
If you want to ensure completely empty container once the processing is done, use a cone valve found in Matcon IBCs.
It’s possible for you to efficiently make a variety of recipes in various batch sizes by following the above tips.