Avoid getting your mixing and blending equipment rejected by the FDA due to lack of, or improper certification of materials.
You can now upgrade to waring commercial blender to be in compliance.
Waring blenders modified and upgraded by White Mountain Process can be used for mixing of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical blends.
Need material test reports? Desire 316Lss polished or USP VI PP Mixing Tank? Options for polishing, passivation, electropolishing for your waring blender containers and tanks. We can accommodate any of these requirements and provide the certs and traceability that you need.
Waring blender drives are excellent pieces of equipment. Unfortunately the metal components are mass produced and have no certifications or traceability. Waring blenders are excellent high speed and high shear mixing devices for mixing, homogenizing, and blending of fluid mixtures. We offer retrofit kits for Waring Blenders that makes it suitable for a GMP pharmaceutical environment or FDA manufacturing. We offer custom vessels in 316Lss with 20Ra polish with electropolish and passivation and material test reports for the 316 L grade stainless steel material. All other parts have traceable material certs, elastomers will be USP VI certified with all proper documentation. Tanks are also available in USP VI PP (polypropylene) material and FDA HDPE plastic.
Any customization of waring blenders is available to meet your needs. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an application engineer to assist you.
White Mountain Process offers world class single use mixing systems for a variety of carboys and plastic process vessels. These mixers can be used over and over and cleaned via traditional CIP/COP methods. Although single use bag mixing dominates the disposable blending market, using USP VI PP carboys and single use poly mixing assemblies can be extremely cost efficient. Mixing is via traditional TOP ENTRY AGITATION so scale up to larger production batches is very easy, and scale down to microliters is easily duplicated.
Download our carboy mixer PDF to see a variety of mixers used on off the shelf poly carboy tanks. Containers are customized to suit your requirements including dip tubes, sterile vent filters, solvent filters, inlet/outlet connections, volume markers, custom tagging, private labelling, etc.
Carboys are available in HDPE, PP, PETG as well as Polycarbonate, which provide a see thru container option. Carboy mixers are available in open top, sealed vapor tight, and magnetic drive designs. Materials of construction are available in a wide range of poly materials, 316LSS, Hastelloy C and exotic alloys. We offer a variety of mixing impeller designs to optimize blending performance depending on your mixing application. Low shear and high speed designs are available.
Full GMP documentation packages are standard, and all mixers are test run at QC to assure simple and easy mixing startups. All mixers are guaranteed to run flawlessly out of the box.
Contact White Mountain Process at email@example.com for any assistance or price quotes.
Brewhouse operations consist of three main processes; mashing, lautering and boiling. Inefficiencies in these operations cannot be rectified later on in the brewing process, so it’s vital that equipment is designed and operated correctly to ensure optimum performance.
The brewing process forms the foundation for a quality beer and gives each product its particular characteristics. Brewhouse operations produce wort, a sweet liquid consisting of fermentable sugars and dextrins. The quality of the wort depends to a large extent on the efficiency of the mash mixing process.
The Biochemistry of Mashing
The primary aim of the mashing process is to convert carbohydrates in the grain into a mixture of fermentable and non-fermentable sugars. This is a biochemical process which is driven by the action of two main enzymes, alpha and beta amylase. These enzymes break down the carbohydrate chains into shorter saccharide chains, producing a mixture of simple and complex sugars.
Each enzyme has a temperature at which its activity is optimum. In order to maximize the efficiency of the mashing process, the mash must be heated in stages to correspond to the temperatures for optimal enzyme activity. The mash is held at each prescribed temperature for a length of time to allow the specific enzyme to do its work. At temperatures on either side of the optimal level, enzyme activity is greatly reduced. It is therefore essential that brewhouse operators achieve these temperatures to ensure mashing efficiency.
At the end of the mashing process, the temperature of the mash is raised to a level where the activity of both alpha and beta amylase is terminated. This sets a limit to the amount of fermentable sugars in the wort, and determines the amount of alcohol produced in the beer through the fermentation process.
The efficiency of mashing depends on the design and operation of the mash mixer. Two aspects play an important part:
- The design of the heating jacket
- The design of the agitator
Heating Jacket Design for Mash Mixers
In most commercial breweries, steam jackets are used for heating. Home brewers very rarely use steam as a heating medium and rely on electricity or gas to heat their mash.
Whatever heating medium is used, an important aspect to consider in process operation is the effect of thermal lag. When heat to the jacket is turned off, heating does not stop immediately and some residual heating will take place. Operators need training to turn off the heating to the vessel at the right time to ensure they don’t overshoot the desired temperature.
Steam jackets are located at the bottom of the mashing vessel. In many vessel designs, the side walls are also steam heated. Although this arrangement facilitates a natural convection flow of the mash, it is greatly improved by the use of an agitator or mixer.
The Importance of Agitator Design
Mash has a fairly thick consistency and natural convection cannot be relied on to conduct heat transfer effectively throughout the vessel. Without agitation, there is a very real risk of the mash being scorched when coming into contact with the heating surfaces.
The critical function of an agitator is to ensure uniform mixing and heating throughout the volume of the mash. This not only improves mixing efficiency, but also increases the conversion of carbohydrates and the yield of fermentable and non-fermentable sugars.
The agitator is designed to force the mash downward to move across the heating surface at the bottom, and then up the sides of the vessels. Of major concern for brewers is the amount of shear damage to the mash during this process. Today, most mixers use low shear impellers that run at relatively low speeds to limit the damage to the grain husks during mashing.
Mash agitators and mixers play a critical role in the mashing process. All large breweries use them, and many micro-breweries install them for the production of their craft beers.
Of the three main brewhouse operations, mash mixing plays the central role. A critical element of this process is efficient agitation of the mash. Brewers should not neglect the importance of agitators in mash mixing, and should engage a global supplier of agitators and blending systems to design and engineer this equipment for their brewing operation.
The biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry has been growing in leaps and bounds in the last few years. Expansion is expected to continue in 2017, especially with the growth of facilities in developing countries like India and China.
Many of the innovations in technology and drug development are likely to come from contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) and not the branded biopharmaceutical companies. Because they work on several different client projects at any one time, CMOs have to be more agile in their approach to manufacturing. They are therefore more driven to research and adopt new technologies that can increase capacity, productivity and time to market.
Continued Growth in Single-use/Disposable Mixing
Although stainless steel systems continue to be used for specific biologics and large volume processes and for pressure and vacuum mixing applications. Single-use technology employing disposable plastics will continue to grow in preference to stainless steel systems.
Single-use mixing is the cornerstone of upstream processes and offers manufacturers several benefits:
- Elimination of cleaning and sterilization
- Reduction in cross-contamination risk
- Flexible manufacturing that conforms to cGMP
- Fast adjustment of production schedules
- Implementation of continuous mixing
The use of flexible manufacturing incorporates process replication where the same equipment can be used to simplify processes and decrease production time. Manufacturers using single-use systems have access to a wider range in the scale of production. Single use blending is popular for:
- Media Prep
- Buffer Prep
- Filtration Holding
Mixing in single use bags and carboys are popular and available in a number of orientations:
- Top entry single use mixer
- Bottom entry mixer for single use
- Carboy single use blending
- Mag drive single use stirrer
- Bioreactors employing single use technology
Although there will be a trend for the increasing adoption of single-use technology overall in the biopharmaceutical industry, experts predict a marked increase in the manufacture of biotherapeutics, as this is the perfect market for the application of single-use technologies.
Advances in Downstream Technologies
2017 is likely to see an upsurge in the development of downstream technologies. While there have been improvements in upstream processing, downstream technologies struggle to keep up. Current technologies tend to be inefficient and costly, and continue to limit productivity.
A majority of biopharmaceutical manufacturers view downstream purification as the most capacity-limiting stage of their process. CMOs are expected to invest in research into the use of in-line buffer dilution systems, high capacity resins, disposable UF systems and single use TFF membranes.
The Cambridge Healthtech Institute is holding its ninth annual summit in August 2017 to discuss advances in purification technologies. Topics up for discussion may include current research into:
- Continuous downstream processing
- Disposable pre-packed columns
- Precipitation and flocculation techniques for improved filter capacity
- New membrane adsorber technologies
- Using activated carbon in polishing
- Advances in chromatography
Botanical Plant Oil & Concentrate Production
North America is expected to dominate the soaring demand for nutraceuticals in the years ahead. This is being driven by growing consumer preference for organic food and natural derivatives obtained from non-genetically modified foods. There is also a growing trend towards herbal remedies for health problems.
The nutraceuticals market will grow to include the extraction of essential oils from various parts of plants. This includes leaves, flowers, seeds, stems, fruit, resins and bark.
As consumer demand grows for natural foods and remedies, the production of botanical oils and concentrates will increase. This includes the production of plant oils from botanical plants which requires sophisticated mixing technology.
The Pivotal Role of Mixing Technology in Biopharmaceutical Production
Mixing and blending play an indispensable part in biopharmaceutical manufacturing to ensure uniform and optimal mass transfer at each stage of the process. Mixing equipment is used throughout the process, upstream and downstream, and must be carefully designed for each application. The design of mixers and blenders, along with mixing time and agitator speed, will affect the efficiency of process operations.
The importance of mixing is well illustrated in the production of botanical plant oils. The extraction of cannabinoids from botanical plants involves controlled mixing processes using ethanol as solvent. After cannabinoid extraction, the plant material must undergo decarboxylation to optimize the extraction of the main active ingredients. The cannabinoid oil is often blended with plant terpenes using magnetic stirrers to produce various oils and concentrates to suit.
All biopharmaceutical processes require strict control of mixing and blending equipment to achieve optimal plant performance and product quality. With vast opportunities looming in the biopharmaceutical industry, a global expert in the field of mixing and blending technology will provide a turnkey solution for any application.
Are you looking for a sanitary custom IBC Tote Mixer? White Mountain Process can assist with sanitary custom IBC tote mixers that are rugged, heavy duty, corrosion resistant and cater to sanitary and hygienic mixing applications. Our bridge mount IBC mixers are used to mix and blend liquids in an Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) tote. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and speeds, and work with various viscosities and applications.
White Mountain Process specialists can help you select the right tote mixer for the job. Mixers for Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC) totes, Polyethylene caged totes, and other Schutz style 275 gallon totes. The mixer motor options available are electric, air, and 12Volt agitator, we offer these in direct drive or gear drive.
We can help you determine the perfect mixer and tote combination for your specific application, weather they are viscous, corrosive or sanitary the mixtures. We can determine the power needed, if an explosion proof motor is required or if the application is a corrosion resistant material.
Our tote mixers are suitable for nearly any imaginable application. We can also customize mixers for your specific container system. For example, if you need a heavier duty bridge mount style mixer but require the tote to be sealed we can add a vapor tight tote cap. This will prevent any dust, dirt particles, etc. from getting into your mixture. We also offer the option for coated shaft & impeller assemblies if stainless steel is not compatible with your application. If a stainless steel or aluminum bridge is not an option, we build a poly bridge.
IBC tote mixer agitators are shipped ready to be used, with little to no set-up. Heavy-duty bridge mounts can fit on the top of the tote cage as well. Tote Mixer Impellers and Agitator Mixing impellers typically feature a 5.75″ diameter for direct drive mixers. Higher torque gear drive tote agitators feature a folding, collapsible mixing impeller that fits through the tote’s 6” top opening. A collapsible mixing impeller opens up to its full diameter once mixing begins. Mixing impellers typically span 10-16 inches, which depends on viscosity, density, mixer horsepower and desired speed. Single or double mixing impellers can be used on tote mixers; and in some cases a third impeller is added to provide ideal mixing.
Choose from air or electric operated tote agitators for poly or stainless steel totes, sizes typically are 275 gallon & 330 gallon, for poly and 250 gallon to 550 gallon for stainless steel totes, but either can go as large as 750 gallon containers.
White Mountain Process can assist you with any of these tote mixer options and custom requests. Options may include:
- Coated shaft/impeller assemblies costed in PTFE/Teflon, PVDF/Kynar, PP/Polypropylene, PE/Polyethylene. We also offer exotic alloy (hast c, alloy 20, titanium, AL6XN). 6″ screw cap
- Tote Cap with vapor tight seal
- Poly Bridge Mount in aluminum, stainless steel polished, or non metallic poly materials
- Custom size bracket/bridge mount, if standard size does not fit
- Other custom mounting options depend on the tote dimensions
White Mountain Process can also equip you with quality Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC) totes for your mixing project. IBC totes are economical containers used to transport or handle bulk liquids, dry or viscous products. These types of totes can be used for safe and effective mixing, storage and transportation, from everything from chemicals to biopharmaceuticals. IBC totes are large (common sizes range from 275 gallons to 330 gallon capacities), cost-effective, and preferred for many types of mixing. Most IBC totes are made of polyethylene and surrounded by a metal cage for stabilization (often referred to as a “Schutz style” tote). They typically feature a 2” outlet and a 6” screw top fitting at the top. When used for mixing or impelling, it’s critical that mixer impellers fit through the top screw cap opening. Schutz totes are popular for chemical storage and shipping. Portable tote mixers work very well for Schutz-style totes, since our 5.75” impellers or folding impellers fit easily through the Schutz tote’s standard 6” screw cap opening.
Poly & Stainless Steel Totes are available in a variety of sizes. We source only the best, and can help you determine what style of container is best for your application. We can help you by providing:
- Plastic totes with a metal cage (Schutz style) with a tote mixer
- Plastic totes with metal, plastic or wood pallets
- Totes volume – typically 235 gallon, 275 gallon or 330 gallon
- Stainless steel totes with quick disconnect agitators, volumes are typically 350 gallon & 550 gallon
- Tote liners, as well as disposable film liners
- Tote and mixer packages
- IBC totes which feature custom designs, such as adding an additional opening on top or sight glass indicator commonly used on the IBC Stainless Steel totes
Specifying an IBC Tote Mixer
We are happy to assist you with choosing the appropriate IBC tote mixer type and size for your application. We would need to know what is being mixed, the viscosity, density/sg, solids % and the desired results. Our specialists can help you determine construction, type, size and style of mixer based on your application. From mixer to tote, White Mountain Process can provide you with a complete, delivered, turn-key mixing system. Price range desired is helpful, typical tote mixers range from $3000-$8000+.
We would like to have the opportunity to be your preferred supplier for IBC Tote mixers.
Contact us at 800-737-9619 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Vape juice, or e-liquid, is the most important constituent of an electronic vaporizer, alternatively known as a vape, vape pen or e-cigarette. During use, the e-liquid is vaporized by a battery-powered atomizer to deliver the desired flavor, sensation and throat hit.
There are a multitude of flavors for e-cigarettes on the market. A vast range of e-liquids can be produced through mixing and blending of concentrates to satisfy any taste.
The Composition of Vape Juice
Vape juice, or e-liquid, consists of five main ingredients:
- Propylene glycol. This is a clear, odorless liquid used in the creation of e-liquids. Typically thin and runny in consistency, propylene glycol is the most popular of the “carriers” – the substance responsible for holding nicotine, flavors, and botanicals in suspension, thus creating clouds of smoke-like vapor. It doesn’t compromise the flavor of the vape juice in any way but produces a stronger throat hit than vegetable glycerin. However, it dries out the throat and mouth with consistent use.
- Vegetable glycerin. This more viscous diluent has a slightly sweet taste that can mask other flavors in the e-liquid. It helps to produce a smoother smoking experience for users who don’t enjoy a strong throat hit.
- Nicotine. The level of nicotine in vape juice can be adjusted to suit the tolerance level of an individual user. Higher levels of nicotine will produce a stronger throat hit.
- Flavor concentrate. These are complex artificial compounds that are formulated to produce a large array of flavors.
- Distilled water. Distilled water is used to thin vegetable glycerin for users who prefer a high ratio of this diluent in their e-liquid.
The amount of each of these constituents of vape juice can be adjusted to suit individual tastes through mixing and blending.
The Manual Process for Mixing & Blending E-Liquids
Gloves, containers, syringes and drip-tip bottles are needed for manual preparation of vape juice concentrates. There is a recommended procedure for mixing e-liquids:
- Determine the desired nicotine strength.
Desired nicotine strength in the final vape juice mix will depend on a user’s personal preference. In most cases, nicotine levels are in the range of 0 to 24 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of e-liquid.
The following formula determines the volume of diluted nicotine preparation to use:
(Amount of nicotine needed in mg)/(Strength of diluted nicotine in mg/ml) = Volume of diluted nicotine to use in ml
- Extract the right amount of nicotine preparation.
Use a clean syringe to extract the right volume of diluted nicotine. Care should be taken to remove any air bubbles in the syringe which will affect the measurement. Air can be removed by inverting the syringe and tapping it to drive the bubbles to the top.
Depress the plunger to remove the air from the syringe. Once you have the correct measurement, transfer the nicotine from the syringe into a drip-tip bottle.
- Add the desired flavor concentrates.
Transfer the flavor concentrates to the bottle. There is no restriction on the combination of flavors that can be used in e-liquids. However, the recommended ratio throughout the industry of flavor concentrate to volume of e-liquid is between 20 and 30 percent. Over-flavoring can lead to the development of unpleasant tastes in the vape juice.
Separate, clean syringes should be used when adding more than one flavor. It is advisable to experiment on a small quantity of flavor combinations first. Although different flavors may produce the desired taste profile individually, they may not work as well in combination.
- Measure and add the diluent.
The diluent is the final ingredient to be added to the mixture. This is usually a blend of Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG). It is important to balance the amounts of PG and VG used to achieve the right taste profile.
Syringes must be used for accurate measurement of diluents. Once the diluent base is mixed, it can be transferred to the bottle to make up the balance of the e-liquid volume required.
- Seal and shake the bottle.
The final step in the procedure is to place the drip tip on the bottle and screw on the cap. Shake the bottle vigorously to ensure that all the ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout the mixture.
There is always the temptation to use the vape juice immediately. However, there are many advocates for leaving the mixture to rest for a while. This is referred to as steeping, during which the ingredients are given time to react and flavors can develop.
Equipment for Mechanical Mixing & Blending of E-Liquids
Manual mixing and blending of vape juices is perfect for individuals who want to experiment with different flavor combinations or prefer certain flavors that are not commercially available. But for the companies who are in business to produce e-liquids, manual mixing is not the answer.
Depending on the size of the commercial operation, there are two preferred mixing options available from a leading manufacturer of custom built mixers and blending systems:
Large scale blending
- Portable mixer stand
- Top entry agitator
- Sanitary 316Lss shaft and mixing impeller
- Mixer speed controller (pre-wired or air operated)
- Quick disconnect mixer shaft for ease of removal
- Mixing tank in a variety of materials including FDA HDPE, USP VI PP, 304ss and 316ss
Small scale blending
The system shown in Figure 2 is a complete blending system for e-liquids which facilitates the automatic dosing and blending of e-liquid ingredients. This automated system is perfect for use in the vape juice industry and can be incorporated into packaging lines for e-juice bottle filling.
Equipment for large and small scale blending obviates the need to blend vape juice ingredients by hand. As high concentrations of nicotine poses a health risk if absorbed by the skin, blending ingredients by hand increases the probability of absorption. Aside from the proposed risks, e-liquid and vape juice can have very high viscosity due to the stickiness some recipes produce. A custom blending system, large or small, can be a great alternative for an individual who wishes to eliminate risk and improve their overall mixing and blending process.
Mixing is the prime activity in processing industries for coalescence of different types of materials. Mixing process dates back from hundreds of centuries, which started from small scale purpose to a large-scale purpose. It is estimated that processing companies suffer huge economic losses due to lack of knowledge about mixing technology (losses accounting to $1-10 billion per annum) as per Handbook of industrial mixing . Thus, it is important to analyze the importance of mixing for the given processes. There are variety of industries where mixing/agitation is required, such as chemical, pharmaceutical, paper & pulp, waste water treatment, food, mineral ore extraction, etc. This particle will focus more on mixing of Cosmetic creams, Syrup preparations & Slurries. It is hoped that this article will give a better idea of details about the mixing of the above processes.
Mixing is a process that involves intermingling products of different chemistries to obtain a definite material. As mentioned by Nienow & Edwards the mixing operation involves both physical and chemical changes, thus it is the most important operation in pharmaceutical, chemical, food industries, etc. Mixing is required for blending, solid-suspension, slurries, heattransfer, dissolving, gas dispersion, emulsification, flocculation, leaching, saponification, fermentation, etc. But the key area of our interest is emulsification, blending and slurry mixing.
- Emulsification is a process in which a colloidal dispersion of two or more liquids/solids takes place.
- Blending is a process in which mixing of one or more liquids and or solid are done to form a uniform mass.
- Slurry mixing is a process in which there is a mixture of liquid & insoluble solids.
All the above processes are completed by a machine called as “Agitator”. It is a machine which allows the mixing of one or more materials in a given environment. Agitator is of various types like Top entry, side entry, bottom entry and potable type. The agitator consists of individual parts/machines like motor, gears, couplings, seal, shaft and set of impellers. Amongst the above, most widely used is Top-Entry, it accounts for the use of majority of applications.
On the other hand, the important physical properties accounting is specific gravity, viscosity, density and many other factors. Other parameters involve speed of the shaft, power required, diameter of impellers/shaft, baffle requirement etc. A detailed discussion on each of these parameters is explained later in this article. The important consideration for the applications mentioned above is the flow, which is axial, so that mixing occurs throughout the vessel and leaving no dead-zones. Also, baffles are provided so that no vortex is created in the circular tank. A detailed elucidation is given in this article on topics like cosmetic creams, syrup preparations and slurry mixing which will give a brief knowledge to users.
Cosmetic creams and other similar products are used for various purposes like moisturizing, cleaning and beautification of body. The raw materials include acids, alkalis, antioxidants, emollients, sunscreen, vitamins, colors, wax, butter, clay, etc. These are mixed uniformly by the process of emulsification. Since the materials used are immiscible it is necessary to keep this material in constant motion (for Eg. In the case of mixture of oil and water). Aggregates and single drops will settle at different rates as per Stoke’s Law, thus, it’s very important to study the rate of flocculation for such processes. The viscosity of such creams is around 250,000 centipoise or more, thus it is necessary to keep such a highly viscous liquid in continuous motion for mixing it thoroughly and uniformly. High shearing is required to mix this type of material. Impellers with high shearing capacity include stator-rotor, saw-tooth cutter, helical ribbon & anchor. Preferable Material of construction include stainless steel grades such as SS304, SS304L, SS316, SS316L, SS904L and equivalent. Since the mixture in the tank contains acids and other reacting materials, the agitator shaft and impellers may be coated with linings of polypropylene, rubber lining, etc. The process may be run in batch or continuous as required. To prevent the dust particles and other contaminants to enter the mixture a seal is provided at the entrance of shaft near the opening of the vessel. The mixing process can achieve maximum efficiency when the agitator is placed vertically i.e. top-entry. The power requirements are larger for such process as it requires heavy mixing due to high density and viscosity of the materials. These applications require high velocity for shearing of the material with impellers like statorrotor & saw-tooth cutter (speed ranging around 750-3000 RPM) and for thorough mixing slow speed impellers like helical ribbon & anchor type are used (speed ranging around 5-25 RPM).
2. Syrup preparation
The term syrup refers to a thick, viscous liquid containing almost 85% of sugar and 15% of water or other liquids. They are generally used in pharmaceutical and food industry. The viscosity of the syrup depends on the content of sugar. The more the sugar the more viscous it will be. It is important to know the preparation of syrups for various uses, as said by Sharma , it depends on physical and chemical characteristics of the materials used. Various methods for the preparations include the following:
- Agitation without heat: In such type, the materials used are volatile and is restricted with seals to avoid it from contaminants. Cough syrups are the most commonly prepared product for this type. (Eg. Codeine syrup, ephedrine sulphate syrup, etc.)
- Agitation with heat: This is the most widely used method in industry as it is less time consuming, because the heat allows the materials to be less viscous and thus by allowing quick agitation.
The additional methods involve percolation, addition of medicated liquid used in pharmaceutical industries, preservatives, etc. The mixing of sugar particles is of prime importance depending on its end usage, thus agitation is the only way through which this goal can be achieved. The impellers used for this processes are axial flow turbine & hydrofoil. The viscosity of these syrups are around 2000-3000 centipoise. The suitable speed range for this application is around 100-750 RPM.
A slurry is a thin mixture of liquid with finely divided particles like clay, contaminants, minerals, etc. Slurry mixing is used in various major industries like chromotography, high solidity inks and pigments, mineral extraction, botanical plant extractions, paper and pulp etc.
In water-treatment plant the industrial waste water is treated by adding chemical reducing agents to make it less harmful and volatile, thus by giving refined water back to the surrounding. The slurry in the water is mixed thoroughly with reducing agents like alum, PAC, etc. and then flocculated, so that all the fine particles are conglomerated and settled at the bottom, which is then removed.
Similarly, in mineral ore extraction, the raw material from the mines are heated and melted in the chamber and then fed into the tanks. With a respective speed the particles/ores are settled down at the bottom of the tank. This is how the ores and other minerals are extracted by the use of mixing through agitators. This a solid-liquid mixing type of process. The speeds used in all of the above process are slow to medium ranging from 1-200 RPM. The operation is performed in batch, continuous and semi-continuous. The viscosity and density of the materials used in this application are comparatively low than the other two processes (viscosities ranging between 5- 100 centipoise & density between 1000 to 1500 kg/m3 ). The power consumption is less for this application also the residence time is small. It has been calculated that, less the residence time less will be the power consumption and less will be the cost of the overall equipment and process. Here, generally high efficiency 3-4 bladed hydrofoil type impellers are used. Also, axial flow turbine, propeller and 2-bladed pitch paddle impellers are used.
Overall from the above applications and their uses in industries, it illustrates that mixing technology plays a key role in pharmaceutical, water-treatment plants, mineral ore extraction, paper-pulp, cosmetic industries, etc. “Agitator” is the device used in mixing of these applications But, more important is to analyze the processes and its parameters required for mixing, so that a required output is achieved. These processes involve complex calculations and other manipulations which a technician cannot perform. Thus, an engineer plays an important role in analyzing these parameters and data who is able to provide an optimized design to avoid economical losses and design failures of these agitators. These factors affect the growth of mixing technology and hence it is always advisable to choose the best solution for your inputs.
A recent General Electric Healthcare Life Sciences study discovered that single-use mixers “exhibit lower environmental impacts” compared to their multi-use counterparts. As pharmaceutical and biotechnology manufacturers jump on the single-use mixer bandwagon, it’s likely that multi-use mixing technology will eventually become a thing of the past – at least in the highly sensitive, carefully sterilized spheres of biopharmaceuticals.
Single-use mixers are the way of the future when it comes to cutting costs, streamlining efficiency, and boosting output in the biopharmaceutical realm. Single-use mixers, which are comprised of pre-sterilized, disposable, usually polymer-based materials, are replacing stainless steel and glass mixers nationwide. Because single-use technology effectively reduces risks of cross contamination, it can significantly cut operational costs and reduce the corporate environmental footprint for the long term. Big savings over traditional mixing tanks are the reduced time and costs associated with CIP, clean in place, cleaning of equipment between batches.
Single-use mixers require users to dispose of all fluids and the disposable single use bag and mixer after each use. So how does this save money and streamline efficiency? The irony is that replacing the fluids every time actually saves cleaning and waste output, because multi-use mixers must be painstakingly cleaned and rinsed with the typical CIP cycle, purified water, washed with any number of cleaning solvents or acids, and then treated with air or pressurized steam if SIP is required. Cleaning products, chemicals, solvents, water and the heat used to produce steam all equate to added costs, extra time and an increased environmental impact.
Single-use mixers consist of an in-bag impeller, which creates a mixing action inside a hermetically sealed bag (the bag is disposable and often gamma radiated). Boasting results that include economic and operational efficiency, single-use mixers are ideal for media prep, buffer prep, product mixing, certain botanical oils and concentrates, drug formulation mixing, pH and conductivity adjustments, and compounding.
With the reduced cleaning demands inherent to the single-use mixer approach, CIP (Clean-In-Place) and SIP (Sterilize-In-Place) technologies – and their associated problems and risks – are also undermined when single-use mixing is implemented. Because CIP and SIP processes demand so many steps, from multiple “flushes” to solvent washes to “air blows,” the time and energy it takes to clean multi-use mixers is not insignificant. Enter the single-use mixer, which erases the need for constant cleanings as well as the concern that raw materials might become contaminated over the course of multiple agitations within the same enclosure.
The data is in, and it’s overwhelming: Single-use mixers are streamlined, simple, and practical. With slashed validation costs and cleaning times, you’ll find that single-use mixers enable increased operational flexibility across the board, because you’ll suddenly find yourself with more time and resources available to devote to other areas. And single-use mixers drastically reduce the risk of cross contamination, because fresh raw materials will always be entering a brand-new, sterile environment.
For sensitive or sterile operations, single-use mixers are the solution. With less wastewater output, less product waste, and a proven track record for reducing the company’s environmental footprint, a single-use mixer is the efficient, logical choice. Already, single-use mixers are appearing across a number of sectors and not only being used in biotech and pharmaceuticals.
“Always use the right tool for the job.” “Take care of your tools and they will take care of you.” These classic words of wisdom certainly apply equally to manufacturing equipment. Mixing + Blending machinery mismatches and breakdowns cost you money due to downtime, scrapped poor quality batches, equipment repairs, and lost production. Optimized agitation equipment and perfected operating procedures bring successful mixtures and profits and a sense of satisfaction from a job well done. Mixers and agitators, are essential elements of complex processing systems, and should provide many years of valuable service if you avoid:
The 7 Deadly Sins of Improper Mixer Operation
The Underpowered Mixer
A wimpy mixer will get sand kicked in its face every day. Invest in a mixer you can be proud of! An undersized mixer typically will not provide enough flow, and enough agitation to successfully provide 100% uniformity in your tank. Other blending disasters from not enough flow and HP could result from solids settling at tank bottom, stratifications in tank, non-uniform heat transfer, ineffective mixing of viscous product, poor dispersion, and a host of other issues. This outcome is quite understandable, but then again, so is the desire to save money. You of course are in business to make money, not simply to try to save it. Spend some time consulting with mixing and blending experts like those at White Mountain Process. Any good agitator vendor should ask the right questions about your application, your tank, and your mixture. Your payoff will be a mixer with the muscle to thoroughly blend your ingredients in the shortest possible time. If the mixer lacks sufficient horsepower, it may not create the required flow in the vessel for proper mixing. SOLUTION– Mixer should be sized properly for the application, with enough HP and enough flow (mixing capability) to provide the proper uniformity in an acceptable time frame.
Improper Shear – “Too Much or too Little”
Shear stress is a force that acts on an object that is directed parallel to the object’s surface. Shear stress is imparted by the mechanical action of the mixer and is determined by factors such as the rpm of the mixer, tip speed, the impeller configuration, the clearance between the impeller and the mixing vessel, as well as the viscosity and rheology (change in viscosity vs. strain rate) of process fluids. Some fluids become less viscous (thinner) with increased shear strain rate and others become more viscous. The viscosity of a few other fluids, such as water, are unaffected by shear strain rate. Shear is a necessary condition in certain mixing applications, particularly in breaking apart particle agglomerations, creating emulsions, dispersions, particle size reduction, milling, and homogenizing. But as with many things, too much of a good thing can sometimes be a bad thing. Over-shearing sensitive particulate, mammalian cells, and shear sensitive solutions can destroy expensive batches of product. Low shear mixers are better suited here, with gear drive slow speed designs implementing low shear mixing impellers. Some process components–such as many minerals–are insensitive to high shear, while others–such as biomolecules–may be degraded under such conditions. Some materials may vary in sensitivity depending on factors such as temperature or pH. Be sure that you understand the shear requirements and sensitivities in your mixing application. It may be necessary to conduct experiments to determine optimal conditions of shear and the length of time the materials are subjected to that shear. SOLUTION – size the mixer to the proper low, medium, or high shear ranges required to achieve process results. Low shear mixers are typically slow speed, and high shear mixers are high speed and employ various impellers or mixing heads to impart large shear forces.
Incompatible Materials of Construction
Mixer shafts and blades are commonly produced from various grades of stainless steel (SS) for high strength and corrosion resistance. But stainless steel can corrode, causing pits that may form cracks, which in turn may lead to mechanical failure of the part. The corrosion resistance of SS is imparted by the addition of chrome at a level of at least 10.5%. Nickel is also often added. The chrome forms an extremely thin barrier layer of chromium oxide on the surface, which protects against corrosion such as common rust. However, the barrier layer may be degraded by chlorine (a component of table salt), fluorine, iodine, and certain fatty acids. Type 316 SS contains 2% molybdenum, making it considerably more resistant to solutions of sulfuric acid, chlorides, bromides, iodides and fatty acids at high temperature than the 304 SS alloys. In the production of certain pharmaceuticals, SS grades containing molybdenum are required in order to reduce metallic contamination. It is important to note that 316 SS, although more corrosion resistant than the 304 alloys, may not be sufficient for some conditions. Various specialty metals and polymers offer a higher level of corrosion resistance than SS alloys. These include: a) Hastelloy® C22 and C276 b) Titanium c) AX6LN d) Polymers such as Teflon® PTFE, Halar® ECTFE, Kynar® PVDF, rubber, PVC, polyethylene (PE), and polypropylene (PP) Highly abrasive process materials may erode the electro-polished finish on metal parts, degrade the barrier layer on SS, and cause pits that are difficult to thoroughly clean. SOLUTION – Mixer Agitator materials of construction should be specified to handle the application, temperatures, abrasiveness, cleanliness, and acceptable materials if mixing pharmaceuticals. Special polishing, passivation, electropolishing, or coatings (Teflon, Kynar, Polypro) should be specified for mixer shaft and impeller assemblies and if any material certs, FDA or USP VI documentation is required that should be noted.
Insufficient Cleanability – Dirty Mixers are Bad News
There is substantial diversity in mixer designs and materials, and a wide range in the ability of these mixers to be cleaned and sterilized. Add to this the variability in cleanliness required by the array of industries and processes in which mixers are used, and it becomes apparent that this factor must not be the subject of guesswork. Insufficient cleanability must be avoided at all costs, whereas it may make little sense to spend money on designs far exceeding the process requirements. Parameters affecting cleanability include corrosion and erosion resistance of the mixer component materials, as well as equipment design parameters including crevices and the ability of parts to be disassembled and removed. For efficiency, some mixing systems are constructed so that they may be cleaned in place (CIP) or sterilized in place (SIP). This means that the unit does not require disassembly for cleaning or sterilization. For CIP/SIP, special spray-cleaning equipment is designed to clean all areas, and all materials are able to withstand the heat of sterilization. Metals of course will withstand sterilization temperatures, whereas certain polymers may not. Kynar® PVDF and polypropylene are two polymers that can stand up to many heat-sterilization processes. Another important consideration in cleanability is the type of connector or seal used at the point where the mixer shaft penetrates the vessel wall. Sanitary connectors such as Tri-clamp® (TC), NovAseptic® (NA),and TerraportTM allow optimum drainage of process materials and are fully cleanable. Sanitary mechanical seals offer similar advantages. For CIP, should the impeller be submerged in fluid? Do you want to CIP the mechanical seal debris well? Is the impeller set screwed to shaft, or welded/polished/electro-polished? SOLUTION – If a mixtank will be CIP and/or SIP proper good design practices should be implemented for the agitator. The mixtank design is crucial for good cleaning, and properly specified spray balls/nozzles to accommodate full coverage and complete cleaning of tank/mixer/accessories.
Unsuitable Documentation Package
“In God we trust. All others bring data.” Your supplier may have told you that you purchased a mixer meeting the requirements of FDA, USP, and other regulatory or standards bodies; your mixer may in all aspects of its design and manufacture meet those requirements. But if you do not have the proper documentation to back up that claim, then your mixer does not in fact meet the requirements. In order to ensure that sanitary mixers are designed and manufactured to stringent quality standards, including materials of composition, relevant oversight bodies have stipulated various specifications and documentation requirements. Among these are: Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
- Certificate of Conformity
- A Certificate of Conformity offers little data, and usually just says the product or material meets the purchaser’s specifications or those of some standard.
- Certificate of Analysis
- A Certificate of Analysis provides data, including the specifications of the product or a confirmation that they fall within a certain range. A Certificate of Analysis also normally provides information about known deviations or contaminants. The FDA normally prefers Certificates of Analysis over Certificates of Conformity.
- Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP)
- The FDA requires that equipment used in pharmaceuticals production be manufactured in facilities meeting cGMP standards, and the purchaser of high-purity mixing equipment may require that the supplier provide a copy of its FDA cGMP manufacturing facility certification.
U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP)
- USP VI
- The USP defines six plastics classes, from I to VI, with VI the strictest. Plastics manufacturers may have their plastic resins certified as USP Class VI. A plastic resin material that has passed Class VI certification is expected to be biocompatible.
- The USP Class VI conforming equipment must be made from materials with clear histories of biocompatibility that meet tight requirements for leachates.
American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM)
- Mill test report (MTR)
This is a test report used for metals that certifies that the metal material meets certain standards set by organizations such as the ASTM, ASME, or ANSI, etc. SOLUTION – Any documentation required for mixer materials of construction, motor/gearbox, mechanical seal, etc., should be specified with your mixer inquiry to assure complete compliance with the final turnover package. Mixing Vessel is Not Suitable A mixer is part of an interdependent system including the vessel or tank into which the mixer is inserted. Parameters of the vessel that affect mixing efficiency and effectiveness include:
- The presence and placement of baffles to direct the process fluid toward the mixer impeller(s)
- The position of the mixer in the vessel: top, bottom, or side mounting. Bottom-mounted mixers offer greater efficiency than top- or side-mounted designs.
- Number, location, and design of the mixer impeller(s)
- The presence and effectiveness of a vortex breaker
- The design and location of the vessel outlet valve
- The presence and design of a recirculation loop
- Single- or multi-shaft mixing
- Open or closed vessel and temperature/pressure rating
- Material of construction, such as SS or poly
- Sanitary connectors for all connected pipes and equipment if necessary
- The ability of the system to be CIP/SIP
SOLUTION – Mixing tank geometry, features, and design are as crucial to mixing performance as the HP and speed of the actual agitator. Careful attention to process vessel design to meet all your needs (mixing, cleaning, instrumentation, self-draining, heat transfer…) will help make the mixer perform as expected.
Mixer Options are Not Dialed-in
There are a number of options in mixers. Be sure to thoroughly evaluate those available or seek expert advice regarding your application. Some of these are:
- Variable speed and its range
- Tachometer to monitor actual mixer shaft speed
- Mechanical seals for sanitary applications
- Special finishes
- Low level mixing
- Multiple or customer impellers
- Split mixer shaft
SOLUTION – Carefully choose the options required with keeping financial impact within your range.
AVOID the 7 Deadly Sins of Improper Mixer Operation
Stay away from high risk and painful experiences. Take the time to get expert assistance, and purchase the correct high-quality mixing system to make your next mixer installation a good one. We at White Mountain Process assume that is your goal, and we know it is ours. A properly selected mixer, sized for your tank and process conditions, when further combined with a flawless installation, delivers a happy day for all of us. Some good reference documents: Mixer buyers guide Mixer data sheet Mixtank concept drawing Contact White Mountain Process for an engineering consultation; we love creating solutions!
Bacteria, contaminants and other microbes and microscopic particles are not picky about where they make an entrance. Even a slight lapse of diligence or attention can therefore throw an entire production run into jeopardy.
That means keeping a close eye on things right from the beginning is required. Providers of sanitary mixing equipment make it possible to ensure that contamination-prone foodstuffs, beverages, pharmaceuticals and other goods will not become corrupted even while they are being processed, an important ability that contributes greatly to the safety of the public at large.
In order to achieve this goal, aseptic mixing equipment makes use of a number of techniques and technologies. Many such pieces of equipment are designed from the ground up to stand up to the temperatures and pressures of an autoclave, so that they can be sterilized thoroughly whenever that might be advantageous.
Even once sterilized, though, an aseptic mixer or other device will still be susceptible to contamination. Production environments that focus on delivering sterile output normally take a number of effective measures to cut down on the presence of foreign life forms and substances, but these will inevitably still allow some problematic intrusions.
Because of this, aseptic equipment of this kind must still be designed to keep out bacteria and other potentially dangerous kinds of contamination. This typically means making use of high-grade seals that form nearly impenetrable barriers wherever a microbe or other particle might make an entrance. For a number of reasons, these seals are often made of silicone, a versatile material in several respects. For one thing, silicone of the right formulations can often stand up to an autoclave just as well as stainless steel and the other materials used to build most mixers might. That saves time and effort when it becomes necessary to sterilize a mixer, allowing for a nearly direct transfer from the production floor.
For another thing, silicone is extremely resilient and conducive to forming tight seals. While it may take several such silicone barriers to fully prohibit the entry of microbes and microscopic particles, this is still quite often a more attractive choice than the alternatives. Thanks to design and construction decisions like these and others, consumers today can generally be sure that the foods and medicines they depend upon will not do them harm.